Darwin200 day 6: plankton under the microscope

We’ve been riding out gale Francis in the shelter of the Firth of Clyde and filled the morning with a microscope session comparing plankton net samples (53 um) from the estuary of the Mersey and Canning Dock in Liverpool with samples from here.

Although the little digital camera doesn’t do it justice (below), with our light microscopes, we’ve had a great time finding diatoms, dinoflagellates and radiolarians, as well as copepods, mollusks and crustacean larvae.

In summary, the turbid waters of the Mersey estuary were dominated by sediments and other non-living particles, with few microalgae. Canning Dock water featured a range of both phytoplankton (algae) and zooplankton (small animals and larvae of larger animals), while the sample from the Firth of Clyde showed the highest density and diversity of life, with the lowest number of microplastics.

Slightly better weather and slower wind speeds allow us to be off to the west now.

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