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On June 21, 2014, the summer solstice, thousands of scientists will join together to participate in Ocean Sampling Day (OSD), an international collaboration to collect water samples from the ocean and rivers around the world. Within the water samples, scientists will also be collecting things so small that, in most cases, they are invisible to the naked eye. Some, in fact, are so tiny that up to a million of them can live in just one millimeter of seawater!

The nearly invisible items of scientific interest are living organisms that make up 98 percent of the biomass in Earth’s ocean and they are responsible for most of the biological activity that takes place within it. They are marine microbes – Bacteria, Archaea, Eukaryota, and viruses – and they are found everywhere, from the ocean surface to deep within rocks beneath the ocean floor.

Learn more about Ocean Sampling Day at Explore the Student Video, the Microbes Photo Gallery, Fact Sheet, Classroom Activities, and much more!