SAHFOS adds new technology to plankton recorder fleet

13 Jun 2016 | 134

As part of Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science’s (SAHFOS) provision of rapid plankton identification capabilities and development of an integrated monitoring platform, the Foundation has integrated new multi-spectral fluorometers on board the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) for the initial determination of phytoplankton groups, supplied by Swale Technologies.

The CPR Survey samples the surface waters of the oceans with extensive spatial coverage at approximately monthly intervals. On a number of survey routes, additional physical, chemical and biological observations of water masses are made to complement plankton data. These observations help provide environmental context for the plankton samples and act as important datasets to monitor changes in the health of the world’s oceans.

SAHFOS Marine Instrumentation and Data Scientist, Dr George Graham thinks the multi-spectral fluorometers are the perfect addition to the CPR:

“The CPR Survey offers an attractive platform from which in-situ environmental measurements can be made that complement other ocean observation networks and provide validation data for remotely sensed earth observation programmes. The optical signals measured by the fluorometers have the potential to indicate promptly phytoplankton abundance and provide the capability of rapidly identifying Harmful Algal Blooms and samples of interest prior to arrival in the lab. To be the first to have these capabilities is of fantastic benefit to SAHFOS and the stakeholders we serve.”

The JFE MFL05W-USB multi-frequency fluorometers were supplied by Swale Technologies and will allow the simultaneous detection of several phytoplankton forms – (diatoms, dinoflagellates, green algae, cryptophyta and cyanobacteria) through excitation by LEDs emitting 9 separate wavelengths of light. The instruments also include depth and temperature sensors and include a mechanical wiper to ensure the optical sensor window remains clean. 

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