These are the two major challenges in aquatic research focused on plankton. In collaboration with aquatic scientists worldwide we have developed flow cytometry that analyses particles in situ in the widest range of sizes, shapes, optical properties, mechanical properties and concentrations. This adventure began in 1986 and continues today with steadily growing network of aquatic specialists.
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Haraguchi et al. (2017) showed a good correlation of micro- and nanophytoplankton counts between traditional microscopy and the CytoSense. The flow cytometer enabled moreover analysis of picophytoplankton cells (< 5 um) which pose a challenge for microscopic assay. The authors demonstrated also that individual cell volumes is precisely estimated by the CytoSense, which in turn allows for fast estimates of the plankton particle biomass spectrum across the entire size range.
Analysis of phytoplankton particle scans measured with the CytoSense revealed that micropollutants present in common pharmaceuticals and personal care products reduce phenotypic diversity and increase cell densities and biomass of phytoplankton. Results published in Pomati et al. (2017)
Succession of 8 phytoplankton groups, including Synechococcus spp., Phaeocysits globosa, Coccolitophores and Cryptophytes, was studied over winter-spring-summer period with a CytoSense installed on a ship board. Based on the acquired flow cytometric data Bonato et al. 2016 found that nutrients and daily light intensity play the most important role in shaping the seasonal transitions.
The CytoSense on the river Meuse runs since 2013. The river provides drinking water and the hourly flow cytometric analysis poses part of the early warning system for water quality. Click here to see the results real-time. The project is led by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, in close collaboration with CytoBuoy and Thomas Rutten Projects.
Phytoplankton particle scans acquired with a CytoSense allowed Pomati et al. (2013) to derive characteristics related to size and morphology of phytoplankters. The researchers observed that these are the traits which are under the strongest selection from grazing. In the study by Berkvist et al. (2012), the scans of Skeletonema marinoi acquired with a CytoSense, showed that this diatom regulates the length of its chain in the presence of grazing copepods.