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Oceanographers like to conduct as many experiments as possible at sea, while the sea water is still "fresh." They examine the living plankton under microscopes to whether individual cells can be identified by shape. They look for natural "autofluorescence" of chlorophyll in phyoplankton or treat samples for later testing. All of this is important for determining each species' composition.

The flow cytometer (lower left) counts and measures microbes in the smallest size range (2 - 10 microns). The FlowCAM (below) images, counts and measures cells in the size range from 10 - 200 microns.Water is collected at many depths, filtered at various sizes and run through a fluorometer. The "Pig" (lower right) is where ALL the filtered water drains and needs to be emptied (A LOT) so it won't overflow.

Together these data give us important clues about the base of the marine web: how total photosynthesis is divided amongst various size ranges of cells.

Summer Cruise Log: Science
Scientists Sunfish? Sharks?
Scenery Sunsets