FlowCam - Flow Imaging Microscopy Blog

FlowCam Aboard Arctic Ocean Vessel to Assist in Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Analysis during Northwest Passage

One Ocean Expeditions' vessel Akademik loffe will be setting sail on August 23rd for 22 days with a team of scientists, students and a film crew to study the Arctic Ocean. First ever live-broadcasts are planned for select museums, classrooms and citizen scientists worldwide.  

Akademik loffe research vessel uses FlowCamThe Akademik loffe will set sail late August 2018 to conduct climate change studies in the Canadian Arctic. A FlowCam will be aboard and used for plankton monitoring. Credit: One Ocean Expeditions. 

Aboard the Akademik Ioffe, the team will collect water, ice, and air samples to advance the understanding of and document the effect climate change is having on the environment and biodiversity in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

The expedition's chief scientist, Dr. Brice Loose of the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, is coordinating and leading the research into the exchange of greenhouse gases between the water and atmosphere, and changes in distribution and abundance of two vulnerable levels of the Arctic food web – plankton and seabirds.  

Scientific research areas include:

  • The physics of Arctic ocean circulation: transpolar water drift through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA)
  • Chemistry of the melting Arctic and marginal seas: Water column chemistry affecting greenhouse gas fluxes
  • Ecosystem surveys of Arctic habitats in transition: Distribution and abundance of zooplankton and phytoplankton
  • Ecosystem surveys of Arctic habitats in transition: Distribution and abundance of seabirds

As the waters of the Arctic warm and the sea ice cover decreases, the Arctic surface ocean ecosystem is anticipated to undergo considerable changes. Habitats are changing and moving, perhaps disappearing, and species distribution and abundance also may be changing rapidly.

To observe phytoplankton and zooplankton, the Northwest Passage Project will periodically conduct plankton net tows in the upper water column (100m and less). The contents of the nets will be catalogued. The organisms collected in these net tows will be counted with a laboratory bench-top FlowCam.

The FlowCam counts and images micrometer size particles using an imaging microscope. This provides the ability to identify and quantify 'particles' from some sampled volume. These particles can be sediment, phytoplankton, or even zooplankton. This imaging system will generate a library of images for each run and store them for processing later.

Read the whole story here at Science Magazine.

Topics: Marine Research, News and Events, Aquatic Research