Tuesday, 25 September 2012

GSC 14 Oxford, September 17-19, 2012 Session on Genomic Observatories - 1st action: Ocean Sampling Day

Ocean Sampling Day (OSD) is a first example of the way that research projects (Micro B3) could leverage a network of Genomic Observatories. What are the anticipated benefits and challenges faced by sites (represented on the panel) preparing for the coordinated day of marine genomic sampling on June 21, 2014? 

The following topics were discussed:
  • What is a Genomic Observatory and what might a GOs Network look like in the future?
  • Should GOs be selected according to objective criteria?
  • How would a GOs research coordination network help sites and advance science?
  • Could a network create emergent properties, ultimately a global GO?
  • Could it contribute to a Global Biocode? (inventories of species and genetic variation across GOs Network)
  • Could it organize a regular Earth Sampling Day (ESD) across aquatic and terrestrial sites?
  • How do we engage further participants? 

Participants presenting their experiences with the Pilot OSD on June 20, 2012. In total 21 stations all over the world have taken samples and contextual (meta)data to test protocols and logistics. The Earth Microbiome Project has offered to do a first round of 16S ribosomal RNA tag sequencing.

Participants and Sampling Sites:
Pierre Galand (Banyuls), Georgios Kotoulas (Crete), Burak Ali Cicek (Cyprus), Gunnar Gerdts (Helgoland), Adriana Zingone (Naples), Nathalie Simon (Roscoff), Frank Oliver Glöckner (MPI Bremen, Micro B3), Julia Schnetzer (MPI Bremen, Micro B3), Melody Clark (Rothera), Viggó Þór Marteinsson (Iceland), Tim Smyth (Western Channel Observatory), Linda Amaral Zettler (MBL, Woods Hole), Ian Salters (Banyuls), Neil Davies (Moorea).

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Moorea Ocean Sampling Day (20 June, 2012)

The island Moorea (French Polynesia) is the home to OSD participant Moorea Ecostation, which combines the two research stations on the island: UC Berkeley’s Gump Station and CNRS-EPHE CRIOBE. The Moorea Ecostation leads the Moorea Genomic Observatory, with OSD as one of its first actions (after the inaugural Transit of Venus sampling).

Like Rothera (Antarctica) we were also sampling at the winter solstice. However we did not quite have the same weather conditions as they had!  The 20th of June was a sunny day, the ocean was calm, a pod of dolphins were enjoying themselves and seagulls were greeting from far when we started our OSD adventure. It was supposed to be a routine and quiet event after our maiden filtering voyage on the 5th of June with Dawn Field (Oxford) and John Deck (Berkeley).

Neil Davies loads up on the GUMP Station’s dock
(Photo: Veronique Berteaux-Lecellier)

The GUMP team, Neil Davies and Frank Murphy, started the engine of the boat around 9:30. They were supported on board by Veronique Berteaux-Lecellier (CRIOBE). Their target was one of the NSF-funded Moorea Coral Reef LTER transects, which has been intensively studied since 2004. This MCR_LTER transect is situated 10mins from the Gump dock on the outer slope of the barrier reef in the middle of the island's north shore - between Cook’s and Opunohu Bays, which are separated by Mount Rotui. Neil sampled 4 times 1l surface water in acid cleaned plastic bottles per station which were immediately stored on ice. Veronique measured the physical parameters, took samples for inorganic nutrient analysis and returned with the bottles to the CRIOBE lab for further processing.

Veronique Berteaux-Lecellier prepares samples under the watchful eyes of Frank Murphy and Mt Rotui (Photo: N. Davies)

The CRIOBE team, Pascal Ung and Melanie Vairaa, took the boat Alu5 to head out to sample at Tiahura, CRIOBE’s long-term monitoring station situated on the outer slope at the western end of the north shore, only 20min away from the CRIOBE. This site has an over forty-year-old observation record history and in 1999 a live probe was installed at 20m depth (http://biomex.univ-perp.fr/CRIOBEData/). 

Long-term monitoring station Tiahura – CRIOBE (Photo: Veronique Berteaux-Lecellier)

Melanie Varaa took samples for the analysis of inorganic nutrients, in addition to the surface water collection and physical parameter registration.

Patricia Wecker filtered all samples from Moorea by using Sterivex 0.22ym filters (Millipore) at the CRIOBE. Filters were sealed, instantly frozen in liquid nitrogen, stored at -80°C and are ready to be send off. Nutrients will be analyzed at the CRIOBE station.

We look forward to the summer solstice in December 2012 - Moorea Ecostation 


  • GUMP Station - Neil Davies and Frank Murphy (Skipper)
  • CRIOBE - Patricia Wecker, Veronique Berteaux-Lecellier, Pascal Ung (Skipper), Melanie Varaa (field assistant)