Plankton identification

Considered an International Centre of Excellence for planktonic taxa identification, we offer a range of services including all aspects of plankton identification and enumeration. From polar waters to the tropics, and from surface waters to the deep ocean, we analyse microbes to up to jellyfish, using traditional light microscopy and molecular techniques. 

Plankton skills tuition

Rich in knowledge and experience we are able to offer training in all aspects of plankton identification, enumeration, sampling and other related subjects: we regularly run training events, from bespoke one-to-one tuition up to international workshops.


Our laboratory is exceptionally well equipped with a variety of microscopes, a dedicated formaldehyde extraction system and an extensive taxonomic library. A range of bench fee options are available for students, research scientists and other interested parties. 

Quality and Excellence

Since 2015 we have hosted the Zooplankton component of the NE Atlantic Marine Biological Analytical Quality Control Scheme, through writing and organising the ringtest, this undertakes quality control for the analysis of zooplankton samples through a series of ring tests of pre-determined species and written quizzes.(NMBAQC) 
David Johns is currently Chair of the committee with Claire Taylor acting as Technical Secretary.

As an International Centre of Excellence, our skills are routinely assessed by participating in  the aforementioned exercise. 

Molecular services

Dr Rowena Stern, our molecular ecology research fellow, is a leading expert in retrieving DNA from notoriously difficult formalin-preserved specimens. Dr Stern also offers skills in bioinformatics analysis of next generation sequencing metagenetic datasets, from marine environmental samples.