During the Northern Hemisphere Summer Solstice on 21 June 2014, Lwandle participated in the international Ocean Sampling Day (OSD) initiative. Ocean Sampling Day is a global campaign, headed by the European research group ‘Micro B3’, which promotes the simultaneous sampling of microbes in the world’s oceans to provide a global set of samples that are all related in time, space and respective environments.
Lwandle aims to promote involvement in these important global initiatives, as well as offer exciting opportunities to the South African youth who may be interested in Marine Sciences. Six lucky Grade 11 and 12 learners from a local educational support programme, KiDS Foundation, were selected to assist in the sampling and participate in the OSD activities.
The sampling team, managed and coached by two Lwandle Marine Scientists, collected six 10 L surface water samples at each of the sites around Robben Island and Three Anchor Bay. Despite a few bouts of sea sickness, the learners thoroughly enjoyed the sampling process, and were even awarded with whale sightings.
The samples were transported to the Department of Environmental Affairs, who kindly offered one of their laboratories for the filtering process. Samples are filtered to obtain phytoplankton, which is ultimately used in DNA analysis. Learners were taught proper laboratory protocol and scientific methods for DNA sampling. Once the samples were filtered, they were frozen to be sent to Germany for analysis.
It is hoped that with the accumulation of these samples, valuable insights into fundamental principles of microbial diversity and function could be obtained, which could ultimately contribute to the global blue economy through the identification of novel, ocean-derived biotechnologies.
All in all the Ocean Sampling Day was a great success and both Lwandle staff and the KiDs Foundation learners were thrilled to be involved in the exciting initiative.
Old Warehouse, Black River Park, Fir Road, Observatory, Cape Town
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