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Images: Cytobot Gives Early Red Tide Warning

Rob Olson and Heidi Sosik, biologists at Woods Hole Oceaonographic Institution, developed a device called the Imaging FlowCytobot, an automated underwater microscope that reveals plant and animal life in the ocean. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Researchers lower the FlowCytobot, a foreruner of the Imaging FlowCytobot, onto the WHOI research vessel Mytilus. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

In the fall of 2007, Sosik and Olson collaborated with biological oceanographer Lisa Campbell at Texas A&M University to deploy the Imaging FlowCytobot in the Gulf of Mexico to look for seasonal blooms of the toxic algae Karenia brevis. In mid-February, Campbell began to notice rising levels of an unexpected toxic algae, Dinophysis acuminata. (Courtesy of Lisa Campbell, Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University )

The Imaging FlowCytobot captured this image of the toxic alga Dinophysis cf. ovum during the bloom in March 2008. (Heidi Sosik and Rob Olson, WHOI, and Lisa Campbell, Texas A&M)

Data from the Imaging FlowCytobot shows the increase in abundance of Dinophysis cf. ovum in March 2008. (Heidi Sosik and Rob Olson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The Imaging FlowCytobot was deployed off Port Aransas, nearCorpus Christi, Texas.