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

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

FlowCam and VisualSpreadsheet 5.0 Workshop at ASLO Puerto Rico 2019

We will soon be releasing VisualSpreadsheet (ViSP) 5.0, a significant advancement of the FlowCam software.  With ViSP 5.0 you will be able to organize your FlowCam files in a database format, allowing you to analyze multiple runs simultaneously as well as compare and contrast data sets.  This will be especially useful for time-series analyses, longitudinal studies, trend analysis, etc.

    

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Topics: Marine Research, Freshwater Research, News and Events

A Blueprint to Monitor Toxin-Producing Cyanobacteria With the FlowCam

Ensure Safe Drinking Water

Climate conditions are conducive to both harmful algae blooms (HABs) as well as taste and odor events in drinking water with increasing frequency and intensity. As a result, EPA regulations are moving toward requiring cyanobacteria monitoring. Proactive drinking water agencies are seeking a streamlined approach to monitor cyanobacteria and nuisance algae. Unfortunately, there is no single method that answers all the fundamental questions needed to make treatment decisions and ensure a safe water supply:

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Topics: Freshwater Research, News and Events, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater)

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

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

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

Hands-on FlowCam Workshop in Germany October 1st 2018

We are excited to announce that we will be co-hosting a FlowCam workshop with our European partners Anasysta.  This exclusive introductory workshop on the FlowCam Cyano and the FlowCam 8000 series will be hosted at the University of Konstanz and is scheduled for October 1st, 2018 from 9am - 4pm.

The FlowCam Cyano utilizes a red laser to differentiate cyanobacteria from other algae and detritus in aquatic samples. After capturing digital images of the algae, the FlowCam’s software, VisualSpreadsheet, can be used to further characterize the specific types of all algae found in the sample.

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Topics: Freshwater Research, News and Events, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater)

Workshop for Cyanobacteria, Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Analysis in Evian France

IAGLR and the European Large Lakes Symposium (ELLS) are co-sponsoring an international conference entitled “Big Lakes, Small World” during the week of September 23-28, 2018 at Lake Geneva in Evian, France. The meeting will be the first IAGLR meeting held outside North America, and in conjunction with the 5th European Large Lakes Symposium.

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Topics: Freshwater Research, Harmful Algal Blooms, Aquatic Research

Semi-automated method for detecting and counting cells of cyanobacterial colonies and filaments


Microcystis & AnabaenaAt 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.


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Topics: Freshwater Research, News and Events, Harmful Algal Blooms