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Appreciate the little things! Sampling Phytoplankton

NOAA Aquaculture Phytoplankton Monitoring Network

The phytoplankton monitoring network uses citizen science to monitor marine phytoplankton and harmful algal blooms (HABs). Trained volunteers collect samples, identify phytoplankton species, and report data to NOAA scientists. The data is used to support harmful algal bloom forecasts and assist state and tribal managers in mitigating the effects of harmful algal blooms.

Recently, NOAA has implemented a new program, the Aquaculture Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (APMN), which provides aquaculture farmers and hatcheries with tools to monitor phytoplankton that are known to negatively affect growth or kill fish and shellfish species. Collecting this data will provide farms and hatcheries with advanced warning of high levels of dangerous phytoplankton to mitigate economic losses.

Our R&D manager, Sam Glover, has been participating in this program since May 2023, making Oyster Seed Holdings an official sampling location. Weekly sampling is conducted by towing a small plankton net that collects phytoplankton present in the water column. Using a microscope and species ID guide, Sam can identify the plankton in her sample. While collecting data for the APMN, she is learning more about the community of phytoplankton that inhabit the water around the hatchery and keeping a close watch for species of concern.

Check out some of her microscope photos below containing local species! (These images were taken after 400x magnification).

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