FlowCam - Flow Imaging Microscopy Blog

Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting Brings FlowCam Users Together to Share Research

In May 2022 our FlowCam Aquatic Team attended the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting (JASM) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This historic meeting brought together scientists from nine different societies to form the largest gathering of its kind in history. It was a welcome change after two years of virtual meetings and limited in-person collaboration. 

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Topics: Marine Research, Freshwater Research, News and Events, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), User Spotlight, Aquaculture, Aquatic Research

Water Quality Monitoring Workshop to be Offered at AWWA ACE Conference

After a two-year break, the American Water Works Association's ACE Conference will be hosted in-person in San Antonio, Texas, from June 12th - 15th. The conference brings together water sector professionals from around the country to learn about new technologies and techniques in water quality monitoring, mitigation strategies, and overcoming engineering challenges. 

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Topics: News and Events, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater)

FlowCam Customer Methodologies to be Presented at the 2nd Annual Virtual Harmful Algal Bloom Research Symposium

In early January, the Algal Bloom Action Team, a collaboration of water professionals, researchers, and educators from twelve states in the North Central Region of the United States is hosting its 2nd annual Virtual Harmful Algal Bloom Research Symposium. Team members include the national network of Water Resources Research Institutes (WRRI), the North Central Region Water Network, and university extensions within each state in the North Central Region. The free-to-attend symposium will bring together researchers from across the US to present and discuss the latest developments in HAB research and outreach. Presentations will cover four different topics:

  • HAB Monitoring and Ecology
  • Cyanotoxin Treatment and Detection
  • Forecasting and Modeling HABs
  • Emerging Technology for Detecting and Monitoring HABs
Virtual Harmful Algal Bloom Research Symposium 2022
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Topics: Freshwater Research, News and Events, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), User Spotlight, Aquatic Research

FlowCam Cyano is Part of a Proactive Water Quality Monitoring Effort

This past summer in June, The Gaffney Board of Public Works (GBPW), in South Carolina, issued a water quality advisement and posted signs around Lake Welchel in Cherokee County. An algal bloom on a portion of the lake exceeded the state’s water quality standards for Microcystis, a type of toxic cyanobacteria.

Microcystis FlowCam Cyano 10X - croppedLyngbya (002)

Pictured above, Microcystis (left) and Lyngbya (right) as imaged by FlowCam.

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Topics: Invasive Species, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater)

Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians Integrate FlowCam into Environmental Stewardship Programs

The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians (CTCLUSI) recently received long-awaited funding to purchase a FlowCam Cyano instrument, after first learning about FlowCam at an east coast workshop a few years ago. CTCLUSI makes up three tribes (4 bands) who all reside in close proximity to one another along the Coos River Tributaries in Oregon. According to the CTCLUSI website:

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

Community Groups Take HAB Monitoring Into Their Own Hands, Recognize Need for Formal Strategic Guidelines

Harmful algal blooms can have a detrimental effect on the environment and on human and animal health. As a result of climate change, water utilities are experiencing these events with increasing frequency. Historically, many water monitoring agencies have not had a plan in place to proactively monitor for cyanobacteria, but rather found themselves reacting to the effects of a bloom after the fact.

Last month, the US EPA released a report that addresses concerns within the agency about the lack of a cohesive, agency-wide plan to monitor freshwater bodies for harmful algal blooms (HABs):

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

FlowCam at the Water Professionals Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee

In August, our FlowCam team attended our first in-person drinking water conference since the onset of the pandemic: the Kentucky/Tennessee Water Professionals Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee. We met drinking water and wastewater professionals from around the region, ranging from small utilities to state agencies.

Pictured right: Savannah Judge presenting on the water quality monitoring program developed by the City of Wichita Falls in Texas 

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Topics: News and Events, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater)

New FlowCam Technical Notes: Using Preservatives with Phytoplankton Samples

Aquatic scientists often need to store natural samples for a period of time before processing them using FlowCam. There are multiple preservatives available for this purpose. Glutaraldehyde is a
popular choice of preservative because it will preserve pigment autofluorescence, and therefore allows the use of FlowCam's "Trigger Mode" to automatically distinguish cyanobacteria from other algae, and reduce images of detritus and other non fluorescing particles. Another preservative often used is Lugol's solution, which does not preserve fluorescence, but is less toxic and requires less stringent storage conditions.

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Topics: Algae Technology, Marine Research, Freshwater Research, Harmful Algal Blooms, FlowCam Technology, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), Aquatic Research

Greater Cincinnati Water Works Uses FlowCam Cyano to Monitor Source Water

Applications Scientist, Kay Johnson has spent this week in Cincinnati training new FlowCam users at the Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) on their new FlowCam Cyano. GCWW is located on the Ohio River across the water from Kentucky. They will be using the FlowCam Cyano to count and categorize cyanobacteria and other phytoplankton populations both before and after treatment.

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

Successfully Detecting Algal Blooms with Flow Imaging Microscopy

"After receiving hundreds of complaints, the City of Wichita Falls, Texas, developed a plan for monitoring harmful algal blooms to detect and mitigate taste and odor (T&O) compounds and cyanotoxins."

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