Sampling Technologies

Imaging Systems


The ZooSCAN system by Hydroptic Inc., makes use of scanner technology with custom lighting and a watertight scanning chamber into which liquid zooplankton samples can be placed. The scanner recovers a high-resolution, digitial image and the sample can be recovered without damage. Identification of zooplankton species is done by automatic comparison of the image (vignette) of each individual animal in the scanned image with a library data set which may be built by the investigator for each individual survey or imported from a previous survey. Zooplankton vingettes are archived with project metadata on the EcoTaxa website and on the lab’s cloud-based, storage server.

Underwater Vision Profiler (UVP-6)

UPV-6. Image credit: Hydroptic, Inc.

The Underwater Vision Profiler (UVP-6) is designed to study large (>100 µm) particles and zooplankton simultaneously and to quantify them in a known volume of water. The UVP-6 system makes use of computerised optical technology with custom lighting to acquire digital images of zooplankton in situ down to depths of 6000m. It acquires only in-focus images in a volume of water delimited by a single red flashing light illuminating a volume of 0.65-L. The UVP6-LP can transmit real time particle abundances to the vector and records vignettes of selected organisms and large aggregates.

Plankton Nets & Traps

Ring Nets

Top view of a 0.5-m2 diameter plankton ring net with a mechanical flowmeter that measures the volume of water filtered (m3).

Different nets are used to collect different sizes of zooplankton. We use a 200-µm mesh net to sample all mesozooplankton and a 1000-µm mesh net to collect gelatinous plankton predators like ctenophores.

  • 0.5m diameter, 200-µm mesh
  • 1.0m diameter, 333-µm mesh
  • 0.5m diameter, 1000-µm mesh

Bongo Net

Bongo nets being towed at the ocean’s surface.

We own a 0.5-m diameter, 200-µm mesh bongo net. This paired net system means we can collect duplicate zooplankton samples. Typically, one sample is preserved in ethanol and the other in formalin to facilitate different types of analyses (e.g., stable isotope; gelatinous ID).


1-m2 MOCNESS (MOC-1)

During research cruises, we often use a Multiple-Open Closing Net Environmental Sampling System (MOCNESS). The system has 4-10 nets that can be triggered to open-and-close at user-specifed water depths. This design allows us to target zooplankton thate may be at a discrete depth where the biophysical conditions are favorable (e.g., the chlorophyll maximum where prey abundance is high).

Time-lapse of MOCNESS (MOC1) deployment and recovery. NSF-sponsored research cruise on the R/V Pelican (LUMCON) during January 2019. Credit: Daniel Hardin
Underwater perspective of a MOCESS fishing. Credit: Daniel Hardin

Schindler-Patalas Plankton Trap

The Schindler-Patalas Plankton Trap is used for freshwater and estuarine environments when sampling with a plankton net is not feasible. It can be deployed off a dock or lake shore. We use it most often for undergraduate student projects.

Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) Profiler

Image Credit: Seabird Scientific

The Seabird Scientific CTD (Model SBE 19plusV2 SeaCat) is a high-resolution, vertical profiling instrument that supports an intergrated sensor suite. These sensors measure: temperature, conductivity, pressure, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), dissolved oxygen, fluorometer, turbidity, and pH at 4 scans/sec (4 Hz). This high-resolution sampling frequency provides accurate measurements of the water column’s physical conditions.