Ocean Sampling Day

Rationale and objectives

Workpackage 2 coordinates a massive sampling activity of marine sites. This campaign is called the Ocean Sampling Day (OSD), and will be placed on the summer solstice (June 21st) in the year 2014. The OSD involves all Micro B3 partners with study sites and is open to all interested labs across Europe and beyond. 

OSD will provide the largest dataset on microbial diversity and function in marine research taken on a single day. The results will mark a baseline for the marine environment, accessible for researchers, the industry, the public, and policy makers.

Recent progress

Focusing on mobilizing the marine research community for global sampling of the world’s oceans on OSD, the WP 2 team has been very successful. More than 60 international sites have already participated in the pilot OSD in June 2013 and the project is still growing rapidly. Micro B3 OSD is beyond expectations in their progress. It is now establishing a comprehensive registry of European marine sampling sites and identifying and aligning data sources for data safeguarding and acquisition in conjunction with other work packages. Furthermore, the team contributed to WP 4 to establish standards for sampling and metadata, drafted a data policy (D2.3), and secured archiving and sequencing capacities.

It has achieved this largely due to the engagement of participating scientific institutes and marine organizations together with their in-kind contributions of samples and expertise. Current OSD participants include sites from Europe, Western Asia, North Africa, North and Central America, Australia, South Pacific and Antarctica. In addition an OSD‐Med community was formed with a total of 19 sites located at the Mediterranean Sea from three different continents as shown in the map below.

Particular highlights include the partnership with the Smithsonian’s Global Genome Initiative to archive up to 10,000 OSD samples and the partnership with Argonne National Labs to sequence OSD Pilot Event samples for bacterial 16S  ribosomal RNA community profiles, both as in-kind contributions.

Data & Sample Flow WP2-OSD


This sample and data flow for the OSD is showing the involved partners from sampling to integration of data and publication, including sequencing and archiving of data and genetic materials. The WP 2 team is now finalizing details of this workflow integrating feedback from the pilot events, contributions of partners, and development of the Micro B3 Information System developed in WP 5.

A summer school on Crete, Greece directly before the OSD will dedicate a week exclusively to training for standardized sampling. An annotation training course afterwards will provide guidance, based on the methods developed in WP 5 to analyse (meta)genomics in conjunction with environmental parameters according to best practice.

Micro B3 is exploring prospects for continuing regular Ocean Sampling Days beyond 2014 in the context of an international Genomic Observatories Initiative. More information about participating in OSD work and a OSD Blog can be found on www.oceansamplingday.org and www.oceansamplingday.blogspot.co.uk.

Finally, the WP 2 team is broadening its scope due to intense engagement in outreach and citizen science based on the OSD (www.my-osd.org). For example, contacts with the Summer Sailstice initiative are ongoing on options how sailors worldwide can join the OSD 2014.

Lead of WP 2: Mesude Bicak, University of Oxford