A group of students and Dalhousie University researchers spent the day on Nova Scotia’s Bedford Basin as part of Ocean Sampling Day.

Ocean Sampling Day sees scientists across the globe simultaneously collect samples from the world’s oceans.

“It felt like I was a real scientist out on the ocean,” says high school student Chaya Seale.

Seale, 17, has aspirations of a career in oceanography.

“You really get to see what you've learned in the classroom kinda come to life,” says Seale.

The Dalhousie researchers spent the day collecting data samples of marine microscopic life, which is invisible to the naked eye.

“If you want to look at how an ecosystem is changing, we first have to look at what's there,” says Ian Luddington, a Dalhousie lab technician.

The samples will help scientists learn more about serious threats to the planet, such as nutrient cycles, climate change, and acidity changes in the oceans.

“Microbes are really the first biological things to adapt to changing conditions, so basically by looking at the microbes, it might give us an idea of kinda the longer term changes that are happening,” says Jennifer Tolman, Dalhousie lab manager. “The idea is to basically get a synchronized snapshot of the global oceans.”

Luddington says the key component for a successful project is having the right technology .

“So some of the sensitive things that are going to be dying even before we get them back to the lab, we're going to be able to capture images of them here, so hopefully see some things that we haven't seen before,” says Luddington.

That's thanks to a real-time camera, one of the many pieces of equipment researchers are using, along with instruments that measure and collect water at various levels. All of which help us to better understand the world of underwater micro-organisms.

“We are the only site in Canada for Ocean Sampling Day, which we're pretty excited about,” says Tolman.

School groups and citizen scientists were also invited to collect samples from other bodies of water. Those samples, along with the ones collected by the researchers, will be sequenced in Germany and become part of a data collection that will benefit scientific research for many years to come.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Suzette Belliveau