Flow Imaging Microscopy Blog

Paleolimnologists Use FlowCam for Microfossil Research

Paleolimnologists study the diatoms, foraminifera, and other microfossils within sediment cores to reconstruct paleoenvironments and understand how they have changed over time. 

Diatoms are among the most common types of phytoplankton, and originated more than 200 million years ago.  They are commonly monitored when studying water quality, both past and present, because of their sensitivity to a variety of ecological conditions. 

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Topics: Marine Research, Freshwater Research, Aquatic Research

Combination Marine Sciences and Law Degree Offered by UNE and Maine Law

The University of New England and the University of Maine School of Law announced that they are offering a combined fast-track Marine Sciences Law Degree to be completed in only 6 years. 

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Topics: Aquatic Research, News and Events, Marine Research

Congress Asks for Robust Funding in 2020 to Support Harmful Algae Research

In December 2018, U.S. Congress submitted a letter signed by 61 Congressional Members to the Office of Management and Budget to lobby for increased funding to support harmful algal bloom (HAB) research in 2020.

HAB events are widespread and their effects are diverse. Coordinated studies released in 2017 by the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that 39% of all lakes nationwide contained toxic algae, and cyanobacteria-produced toxins were present in 78% of those lakes at some point during the year. Additionally, 40% more HAB events were reported in 2018 than in 2017. 

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Topics: Aquatic Research, Harmful Algal Blooms, Marine Research, Freshwater Research

Most Popular Flow Imaging Microscopy Blog Posts of 2018

We use our Flow Imaging Microscopy blog as a platform to serve up the latest in relevant news, highlight novel uses of the FlowCam, and announce FlowCam technology developments. This year we blogged about 54 different topics. Below is a recap of the Top 10 Most Read Blog Posts of 2018. 

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Topics: News and Events, Aquatic Research, Biopharmaceutical Research, FlowCam Technology, Marine Research, Protein Therapeutics, Harmful Algal Blooms

Fooled copepods ingest dimethyl sulfide-infused microplastics

December 2018 — Can microplastics be mistaken for algae? A recent study by the University of Plymouth and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory demonstrated that nylon microfibers can acquire dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a compound produced by algae, when environmentally exposed to the compound. The study also showed that Calanus helgolandicus, a chemosensing copepod that uses DMS to locate algae, their normal food source, more readily ingested microplastic fibers infused with DMS (Fig. 1).  The FlowCam was used to enumerate the microplastic fibers and evaluate microplastic fiber uptake during the experiment. 

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Topics: Aquatic Research, User Spotlight, Marine Research

Are Blue Mussels the New Microplastic Fiber Sink? A study by Bigelow Lab

December 2018 — Microplastics are an ubiquitous concern for the world's oceans. Increasing demand for consumer plastics has resulted in an estimated 4.8 to 15.11 million metric tons of plastics entering the oceans every year1,2. These macroplastics degrade into microplastics, or plastic fragments <5 mm in diameter, which can range in morphology from rigid pieces to amorphous fibers. 

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Topics: Aquatic Research, Marine Research, User Spotlight

New Method for Meiobenthos Analysis Using FlowCam

Researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, and Am-Lab Inc. developed a methodology to use the FlowCam® for analysis of sediment-inhabiting meiobenthos.  

Meiobenthos are small, benthic invertebrates often used as indicators of anthropogenic influence and other natural disturbances. They play a primary role in sediment nutrient cycling and stability in benthic ecosystems. 

Meiobenthos imaged by the FlowCam. Organic matter was stained with Rose Bengal to easily differentiate meiobenthos from inorganic particulates, such as sediment. Imaged organisms are labeled as follows: a) Nematoda; b) Copepoda; c) Nauplius larvae; d) Kinorhyncha; e) Foraminifera. Credit: Kitahashi et al. (2018). 

Optical microscopy, which is labor-intensive and time-consuming, is often the primary technology utilized for analysis of meiobenthos. In this study, Kitahashi et al. developed a method to use the FlowCam and VisualSpreadsheet® for analysis of these small, benthic invertebrates.

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Topics: Freshwater Research, Marine Research, User Spotlight, Aquatic Research

Climate Change and the Gulf of Maine as Discussed by President of Bigelow Lab

November 6, 2018, Brunswick, Maine—

At the close of Election Day, Dr. Deborah Bronk presented on the effects of climate change on the Gulf of Maine at Frontier Cafe and Restaurant in Brunswick, Maine.

Dr. Bronk, a PhD from the University of Maryland, most recently held tenure as a Professor at the College of William and Mary where she conducted research on how phytoplankton and other aquatic microbes process nitrogen. In February 2018, she became the President and CEO of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. 

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Topics: Aquatic Research, Marine Research, News and Events, Harmful Algal Blooms

New Method for Cell Counting Microcystis Colonies Using Image Processing Method

October 2018 — Environmental Engineering Research published a paper presenting a new method for cell counting Microcystis colonies using the FlowCam.  Researchers from Korea Water Resources Corporation, University of Central Florida, and Kyungbook National University developed a three-dimensional image processing method using an algorithm to count colonial Microcystis cells.    

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Topics: Aquatic Research, User Spotlight, Harmful Algal Blooms, Freshwater Research, FlowCam Technology

Study by University of Alberta finds the FlowCam is a reliable and faster alternative to manual microscopy for cyanobacterial bloom monitoring

Scientists at the University of Alberta, Alberta Health, and University of Calgary compared the efficacy of using the FlowCam to traditional light microscopy for rapid cyanobacteria quantification and high resolution taxonomic data. Traditional light microscopy, while it provides the highest level of detail and is the ideal method for taxonomic identification, is time-consuming. The rate of quantifying and reporting cyanobacterial abundance must match the rate of cyanobacterial production in order to assess the present risk to human and ecological health. 

Anabaena, a common culprit of cyanobacterial blooms, as imaged by the FlowCam at 10X. 

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Topics: Harmful Algal Blooms, Aquatic Research, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), Freshwater Research, User Spotlight