At the 2nd Interdisciplinary Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms (IFHAB) Workshop in Toronto, Ontario (April 16-18, 2018) Sales Representative Frances Buerkens presented a session on how the FlowCam was used by scientists from the California Department of Water Resources to estimate cell abundance of colonial Microcystis.
Harmful algae blooms are increasing in frequency and intensity. Public safety and conservation agencies demand a replicable and scalable method to rapidly detect and enumerate cells comprising cyanobacterial colonies and filaments. The FlowCam is a proven technology that identifies taxa to the genus level and provides an estimate of the abundance of individual cells. It combines digital imaging, flow cytometry, and microscopy to calculate the dimensions, biovolume and abundance of cells.
The FlowCam Cyano leverages recent technological developments – a 633 nm laser - to trigger on the presence of phycocyanin and chlorophyll, thus detecting cyanobacteria and other algae in a water sample. The abundance of cells within colonies and filaments are counted using a simple Excel based formula, enabling monitoring agencies and researchers to rapidly enumerate cells in large sample volumes. The FlowCam system facilitates an accurate measurement of cell abundance for large folded colonies because the colonies flatten within the unique flow cell chamber.
Here we present an overview of the technology along with HAB field data from freshwater systems that affect drinking water and recreational lakes across North America.