Plankton-filled water from a plankton tow. A drop of water from a plankton tow.
NOAA put on a plankton identification conference where organizations and volunteers can gain a better understanding of how to tell apart different species of plankton.
Citizen Science volunteers: Dick, Stephanie and Louise look for plankton
Can you imagine looking at a tiny piece of plankton through a microscope and trying to figure out what species it is? Our volunteers at PTMSC are excellent and spend many hours throughout the year monitoring our local waters and the plankton that is present. Our SoundToxins program allows volunteers to go out weekly and collect water samples and count how many of each species is seen in the water. Specifically our volunteers are looking for the 'bad plankton.' In high numbers some plankton can make swimming or eating shellfish dangerous to human health. Monitoring plankton and looking for patterns in plankton species is an important part in better understanding the ecology of our local waters.