SAHFOS researchers have been exploring the feasibility of integrating new instrumentation for the rapid determination of zooplankton abundance. The FlowCam Macro is currently being trialled alongside traditional light microscopy techniques as part of the large EU funded project, AtlantOs. This project seeks to develop a sustainable, efficient and fit -for-purpose Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System (IAOOS).
The FlowCam Macro is manufactured by Fluid Imaging Technologies of Scarborough, Maine, and is able to automatically detect individual particles in a sample, take a high-resolution, full-colour, digital image of each one, and record more than 30 different types of measurements per particle, saving the data for later analysis.
Marine plankton are especially sensitive to changes in temperature, light, acidity and nutrient availability, among other environmental variables, and respond quickly to a variety of stressors. By observing the response of plankton, scientists can study the impact of climate change on the base of the marine food chain and extrapolate its implications for the globe at large.
Read the full article as it appeared in the May 2017 issue of Sea Technology here.