The Public Lab Babylegs Aquatic Trawl kit (link text) has proven itself to be an invaluable tool for community scientists to survey for microplastics in their local waterways. With data collected from these sampling exercises, communities are able to present findings to inspire change and advocacy within their region.
Plankton refers to aquatic organisms that drift or float in fresh or saltwater at some point in their lifecycle. Plankton sampling is performed for a variety of reasons.
1)Biodiversity Study- Sampling objective is to obtain an idea of what plankton species are present within the area and different layers of the water column.
2) Environmental Impact Study- Sampling objective is to assess whether the is a noticeable/increasing population of harmful or invasive species encroaching on an ecosystem.
Since plankton are free-floating or drifting organisms, the most efficient way to sample for them is by dragging nets or trawl. This is the same method that is utilized by the Babylegs kit to sample for microplastics within the water column.
My current question is can the Babylegs kit be modified or used to also sample for plankton?
*This is a current project with the Community Challenge members, but feedback or ideas from the Public Lab community is welcome. _
What kind of net is used to sample for plankton? Is it more finely woven than the nylon "babylegs" tights or different in any way? If so, can we switch out the net fabric?
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this is a low cost science ed option marketed on Fisher Scientific: https://www.fishersci.com/shop/products/fieldmaster-plankton-net-6/p-2796601 Fieldmaster™ Plankton Net SCI_ED Made from durable Nitex™ nylon for greater mesh size accuracy.
$78.40 - $128.30
Another from La Motte: LaMotte™ Plankton Net SDPSCI_ED Manufacturer: LaMotte™ 1063
You can pay more to add certainty to your mesh size opening, from 35 to 335 microns. I imagine that baby nylons may include this range, but just on a highly irregular basis.
Of course, all mesh will clog with algae, so *shrug We should review some larval methods papers.
Plankton Nets Rating: 80% of100 1 Review Add Your Review SKU PKN1 to PKN9 Designed for biological, limnological and oceanographic studies, these nets are also used for a variety of aquaculture applications, including plankton and larval collecting.
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