Up to date, the ecological state of the surface water is one of the last hurdles in the general process of setting up real time monitoring systems of surface waters. In the case of surface water being used for the preparation of drinking water, the real time monitoring may be of additional importance for control decisions such as intake of raw water to the buffer basins.
The CytoBuoy instruments for bench top, submersible and moored use are especially designed for fast analysis of the abundance, status and composition of phytoplankton including direct signalling of HAB (harmfil algal bloom) species or species with morphology similar to HAB species. Species such as cyanobacteria can be identified, quantified and classified including the various colony formers such as filamentous species - Anabaena sp., Aphanizomenon sp., Microcystis etc. Autonomous systems allow a sufficiently high measuring frequency.
There is a second-order effect to be detected too: sudden events affecting phytoplankton viability and or physiology will be noticed immediately. This may indicate the presence of an agent, toxins or pollution in the ecosystem.
The availability of the CytoSense, -Sub and -Buoy flow cytometer systems opens up new possibilities for studying marine particles in situ, and the establishing of a link between single particle optics and bulk inherent optical properties. Potential applications include detecting thin layers of heterotrophic activity which are believed to exist close to major pycnoclines, monitoring the physiological status of sinking algal blooms, investigating variations in diatom chain length under different physical conditions (e.g. turbulence regimes), and counting phytoplankton cells in waters which bear a heavy burden of other suspended particles. Application of flow cytometry to the determination of single particle optical characteristics may help to advance our understanding of the characteristics of mixed particle suspensions and hence, in an interesting contrast of physical scales, aid in the interpretation of satellite measurements of remote sensing reflectance.
Various methods for ballast water treatment are under development nowadays. Both the development of treatment technology and the operational control of ballast water treatment installations are best served by quantitative, fast, and autonomous techniques to measure the treatment performance and efficiency. One of the 'difficult' control entities are the small suspended particles, consisting of bacteria, phytoplankton and other microorganisms as well as organic debris and inorganic sediment particles.
The primary goal of the treatment of ballast water is to prevent the dispersion of non indigenous marine and freshwater organisms. Using the CytoSense data, the data load is limited as compared to collecting images and allows fast sample processing, but the information is just as useful! The fast and quantitative diagnostic capabilities of the Cytosense can be very useful by generating countings and accurate size spectra for sediment particles, phytoplankton and other groups of particles. This can be used to monitor the efficiency of organism targeted treatments, or even serve as a feed back mechanism to actively control treatment performance. A paper elaborating on this subject can be found here.