FlowCam® - Flow Imaging Microscopy Blog

What is that Algal Bloom in Casco Bay?

Yesterday Heather Anne Wright and I were invited to join the Friends of Casco Bay on a mission to track down and capture samples of the algae bloom taking place in Casco Bay.  Mike Doan skippered the Baykeeper, while Will Everitt and Ivy Fignoca accompanied the group this afternoon on a ride out to Chebeague Island.

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Topics: Marine Research, Invasive Species, Harmful Algal Blooms, Aquatic Research

Monitoring for HABs and Invasive Species with the FlowCam at Big Bear Municipal Water District.

Big Bear Municipal Water District (BBMWD) is a small water utility located in Big Bear California. The MWD is responsible for the overall management of Big Bear Lake, one of Southern California’s premier recreational lakes. BBMWD’s recent purchase of a FlowCam allows them to quickly monitor for harmful algal blooms (HABs) and invasive quagga and zebra mussels.

Maintaining healthy algae populations and preventing HABs are a priority for BBMWD. Foul odors, toxin releases, and wildlife deaths drive visitors away, as well as restrict the use of the lake.  

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Topics: Freshwater Research, Invasive Species, Harmful Algal Blooms, Aquatic Research

FlowCam as a Systematic Ballast Water Analyzer

All ocean vessels require ballast water to help maintain stability and maneuverability during transit. Ballast water is taken on or discharged by tankers, cargo ships, and cruise ships when changes in cargo load, weight distribution of the vessel, or the sea conditions require it. As ballast water is taken up in one location and discharged in another, marine organisms living in the ballast water are often discharged into unrelated, foreign waters. These non-indigenous species may become invasive and cause environmental, ecological, economical and even human health damage.  

Transport System for Potentially Invasive Species: New Regulations

National and international regulations have been adopted to mitigate and prevent further ecosystem invasions by organisms released with ballast water. Starting in September 2017, new regulations will take effect to limit the introduction of foreign organisms via ballast water discharge. Technical guidelines have been established to limit concentration and size of viable organisms.  Achievement of said guidelines and adherence to standards will require the use of approved Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS).  

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Topics: Marine Research, Invasive Species, Aquatic Research

Dynamic imaging particle analysis for invasive species detection

According to a recent bulletin from The Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife News, quagga and zebra mussels that have taken over many of the waterways in central and eastern areas of the United States and Canada, especially in the Great Lakes, aren’t the only aquatic invasive species that have biologists worried. Invasive plankton or copepods have been taking over Northwest waters for over two decades.

Stephen Bollens of Washington State University's School of the Environment, says the good news about zebra and quagga mussels is that out of 300 samples from boats in the Northwest processed in 2014 and 2015 using a FlowCam, there had been no detections of the invasive species.

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Topics: Invasive Species, Aquatic Research

Chapter in New Biology Text Book Highlights FlowCam for Veliger Detection (Invasive Quagga and Zebra Mussels)

Our own Harry Nelson and Ben Spaulding are authors in the 2015 Life Sciences text book, Biology and Management of Invasive Quagga and Zebra Mussels in the Western United States. They helped write Chapter 11 (the FlowCam chapter), "Automated Method for Dreissenid Veliger Detection, Identification, and Enumeration".

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Topics: Invasive Species, News and Events

Dynamic Imaging Helps Identify Green Crab Larvae on Maine's Coast

You may have read this recent Portland Press Herald article about Maine’s green crab problem. If you did, you learned how the invasive species is a real threat to Maine’s clamming industry. If you didn’t read the article you need to know that the green crabs prey on clams and are causing a serious problem, but the good news is that there’s a team of experts working to find a way to keep the crabs from destroying the clams and other shellfish and marine life along Maine’s coast. Although they have been reported in Maine for more than a century, scientists speculate the green crabs have been able to multiply and spread due to Maine’s warmer ocean temperatures over the past few years. 

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Topics: Marine Research, Invasive Species, Aquatic Research