Maine Lakes Society and Lakes Alive!
Activity 2: Plankton Tow, Introduction to Food Webs and Phytoplankton
Plankton isn’t just a character from ‘Spongebob’; it’s actually a real life aquatic organism called a cyclops and it's just one of many microscopic floating animals called zooplankton that live right here in our lakes. To catch them, we use a fine mesh sieve called a plankton net and drop it off the bow of the Melinda Ann at a specific depth. Zooplankton (microscopic floating animals) is caught in the mesh while phytoplankton (microscopic floating plants) does not, because they are typically smaller and pass straight through it. The contents of the sieve are brought aboard and identified using Melinda Ann's Ken-a-Vision microscope projector.
Video and presentation of a plankton tow in Lake Superior
Standard method for a vertical plankton tow
Photos of common lake zooplankton
Pictorial guide to freshwater algae
Great Lakes Water Life Photo Gallery: Algae
Pictorial Guide to Common Phytoplankton of Lake Champlain and the Lower Great Lakes
Maine Lakes Society
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