Thursday, 17 July 2014

A Worldwide Scientific Adventure for Biodiversity: The Ocean Sampling Day, a Global Event for Sequencing the Ocean

Indigo V Expeditions takes part in Ocean Sampling Day in Singapore.

On 21 June this year a worldwide sampling campaign for microbial biodiversity within marine surface water will take place in which Indigo V Expeditions and NTU/SCELSE will join. This campaign encompasses more than 150 marine research locations from Iceland to Antarctica and from Moorea (French Polynesia) via the Americas to South Africa.

This worldwide effort is performed for the first time and coordinated jointly by Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany and University of Oxford, UK. It is launched under the umbrella of the European-funded project Micro B3 boosting marine research and innovation opportunities. Though tiny, marine microbes are one hundred times more abundant in the ocean than there are stars in the galaxy. They play critical roles in converting carbon dioxide to organic matter and in regulating nutrient cycling, which serves as the bedrock fro the food web. The data generated from Ocean Sampling Day will provide a valuable worldwide snapshot of ocean health. This baseline data will be a useful resource to establish a data 'baseline' that will grow with subsequent Ocean Sampling Days in the coming years.

To that degree, The Smithsonian Institute will be storing one biological sample from each spot around the world in their archives for future comparison. Indigo V Expeditions is dedicated to ongoing global ocean health monitoring by bridging oceanographers and world cruisers. By equipping cruisers with autonomous sampling equipment, we can collect critical data by utilizing existing cruising routes that can be monitored year after year.

SCELSE's research focuses on the advanced understanding of complex microbial communities in engineered and natural systems, including the marine environment. Involvement in Ocean Sampling Day reflects its commitment to a broader scientific fraternity by participating in community science efforts.

Staffan Kjelleberg, Director of SCELSE, says, "SCELSE is proud to support Indigo V and Ocean Sampling Day 2014, which will establish an invaluable database that will benefit microbial ecologists and marine ecologists alike. Science is only beginning to unravel the diversity and complexity of marine microbial communities and although their importance to a healthy and sustainable world is well understood, we still have much to learn.Large scale initiatives such as Ocean Sampling Day will provide much needed knowledge on marine microbial communities and foster interest in the roles they play in many ecosystems."

Associate Professor & Captain Federico Lauro and Ms. Rachelle Lauro, First Mate and Co-Founder of Indigo V Expeditions will be joined aboard S/Y Indigo V by SCELSE/EOS Research Fellows: Drs. Daniela Drautz, Jamie Hinks, Thomas Seviour and Patrick Martin.

The Micro B3 project, together with Ocean Sampling Day, endeavours to share fairly any benefits arising from the exploration and exploitation of marine genetic resources. The OSD will demonstrate that joint and standardized work as well as clear data-sharing agreements support not only improved ecosystem knowledge but also sustainable use of marine genetic resources e.g. for potential biotechnological applications. Indigo V participants will extract seawater samples containing myriads of microorganisms for sequencing of their genes. This, together with environmentally relevant measurements, will enable us to determine the health status of the coastal waters in the Singapore region.  

More pictures and details can be found at: www.indigovexpeditions.com