Explore and get inspired by the selected projects in which the CytoSense flow cytometers are/were applied.

 Ongoing projects

Research area: lake phytoplankton community monitoring 

CytoSense is installed on a monitoring platform on Lake Geneva along with other state-of-the-art instrumentation. Using the flow cytometer the researchers are able to quantify phytoplankton dynamics at a high temporal resolution (high-frequency monitoring). Together with the result of physico-chemical and geochemical observations the CytoSense data will provide an important insight into the dynamics of the lake ecosystem and its response to environmental changes. This boost in understanding of the processes in the lake will help improving the current hydrodynamic and ecological lake models. 

Time frame: January 2017 - December 2026

Partners: EPFL Limnology Center, Eawag, University of Geneva

MOS NRS Biogeochemical Time Series Data

Research area: coastal ocean observation network

The picoplankton data is collected with the CytoSense/Sub flow cytometer for the IMOS project. 


One of the IMOS facilities is the National Reference Stations (NRS) located initially at 9 strategic sites around the Australian coastline The NRS are located in tropical, subtropical and temperate water masses.

At each NRS, moored temperature, salinity and fluorescence sensors collect data every 15 minutes at two depths and once a month in situ samples are collected for the analysis of variables such as nutrients, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pigment composition and concentration, total suspended matter concentration, microbial composition and concentration, phytoplankton and zooplankton microscopic identification and picoplankton counts by flow cytometry. IMOS is making all of the data freely and openly available through the IMOS Ocean Portal.

Time frame: ongoing since 2009

Meuse river water quality monitoring

Research area: automated in situ online phytoplankton monitoring system

Hourly analysis of phytoplankton dynamics is performed in a fully automated way with the CytoSense flow cytometer. The results are available online at www.phytoplanktonlive.com . Within this project we had a great opportunity to test new features of our system which enable the prolonged autonomous operation (the Autonomy Module) and which increase the probability of imaging of rare particles (the Smart Grid Imaging). 

Time frame: April 2013 - ongoing

Partners: Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Thomas Rutten Projects, CytoBuoy

The Belgian LifeWatch project 

Research area: marine phytoplankton monitoring 

As a part of the LifeWatch project, the CytoSub flow cytometer delivers results on the phytoplankton species composition and abundance in the Belgian part of the North Sea. The instrument is installed on board of the research vessel Simon Stevin. The CytoSub draws sample directly from the continuous water flow system.  Control of the instrument and of the measurements is also handled remotely. The resulting high-throughput flow cytometric data are processed with the EasyClus. 

The infrastructure within the Lifewatch Observatory is part of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructure. LifeWatch enables collecting long term data series of almost all biological components of the marine ecosystem to stimulate biodiversity and ecosystem research. Phytoplankton in the Belgian part of the North Sea samples on a near-continuous basis can yield valuable information on the ecological status of these waters. The use of a flow cytometer can improve this understanding and increase the efficiency of analyses and reporting. 

 Time frame: 2015 - ongoing

Partners: Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ; owns the CytoSub) and several universities, research centers and federal institution in Belgium

video presentation

Publications (abstracts): de Blok et al. (2016), de Blok et al. (2015), Tyberghein et al. (2015)


Research area: marine phytoplankton monitoring

In situ flow cytometric measurements will be performed in Gulf of Trieste by means of the CytoSub. Upon the installation on the MAMBO buoy, the CytoSub will be operated remotely. The flow cytometer will enable studying of phytoplankton dynamics in relation to environmental variability at different time scales. The researchers will develop moreover diagnostic procedures and indicators for the prediction or alert of 'harmful' events for humans, especially in the coastal strip.

The BIOSIST project aims to fill important knowledge gaps on the response of marine communities to anthropogenic and climatic forcing and to define new and more appropriate conceptual models on the biotic interactions necessary for a more accurate ecological modeling. The project will therefore contribute to improving knowledge on the role of biodiversity in the functioning of ecosystems also through the study of the main biological mechanisms of marine organisms. Attention will be focused on different classes of marine organisms (from microscopic to macroscopic) with an "end-to-end" approach that integrates, for the first time, advanced analysis approaches of the biological component with the information obtained from traditional environmental observing systems.

Time frame: July 2013 - June 2019

Institute: Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale


Research area: coastal ocean observation network

8 CytoSense flow cytometers are applied within JERICO next. The instruments provide information on the phytoplankton community dynamics at fine spatial and temporal scales (sub-mesoscale, microscale). Researchers need the resulting high frequency data to understand the influence of sporadic events on the phytoplankton dynamics. By following the changes in abundance, biomass and physiological response (e.g. changes in size or fluorescence per cell) of phytoplankters and by correlating this biological data with physical parameters (e.g. temperature, nutrients), they are able to describe in situ important processes such as photoadaptation, adaptation to nutrients variation and even adaptation to pollution caused by humans. Ultimately, this complex phytoplankton monitoring at high frequency is an indispensable step to separate global change from local or sporadic changes. 

Time frame: January 2015 -ongoing

Partners: 33 expert partners from 15 countries

Finished projects

CHROME (Continuous High Resolution Observation of the MEditerranean Sea)

Research area: high-frequency marine environment monitoring from a ship of opportunity

The CytoSense flow cytometer was coupled with a FerryBox and both systems were installed on the opportunity ship C/F Carthage. The flow cytometric analysis was controlled remotely, with measurements scheduled every 30 min during sea crossing, generating 30-35 samples per transect. The resulting meso scale and weekly analyses are under valorisation. The data allow the researchers to understand phytoplankton community dynamics in the context of meteorological events and - in longer-term - of seasonal variability. The comprehensive measurements provide precious insight into the physico-bio-geo-chemical relationships in Mediterranean sea.

Time frame: October 2016 - January 2017

Partners: 7 partners from France, Tunisia and Italy

DHEMISA (Dynamics of heterotrophic microorganisms determined by in situ automated flow cytometry)

Research area: aquatic heterotrophs monitoring

The automated analysis of aquatic heterotrophic microorganisms was realized in the CytoSense combined with the Autonomous Staining Module. This novel approach is a breakthrough in aquatic microbiology since it enables to investigate at a high frequency activity, dynamics and interactions of autotrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms. It is an important step towards the understanding of the base of aquatic food web structure. 

Time frame: January 2015 - December 2016

Publication: Silovic et al. (2017)

DYMAPHY (Development of a DYnamic observation system for the assessment of MArine water quality, based on PHYtoplankton analysis)

Research area: marine phytoplankton monitoring

In this project researchers analysed phytoplankton using the CytoSense flow cytometers during ship cruises on the North Sea and the English Channel. The data acquired with high frequency helped improving the assessment of the marine water quality in this area.

Time frame: 2010 - December 2013

Partners: 6 partners from France, U.K. and the Netherlands


Publications: Bonato et al. (2015), (2016)

NSBWO (North Sea Ballast Water Opportunity)

This project aimed at reaching regional cohesion, innovation and develop future strategies in ballast water policies and ballast water management. CytoBuoy B.V. contributed its long experience with flow cytometry and phytoplankton to minimize possible harm to the local ecosystem, human health and the economies when exotic species are transported via ballast water.

Time frame: January 2009 - June 2014

Partners: over 40 partners from the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, U.K., Belgium and Norway

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