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Rob Olson and Heidi Sosik working with the FlowCytobot.

Underwater Microscope

WHOI biologists Rob Olson and Heidi Sosik examine plankton-filled water samples on a prototype version of the Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCB) in Olson's Woods Hole laboratory. The Cytobot, which is automated and submersible, counts microscopic plants in the water and photographs them. The images and data are relayed by cable to a shore-based laboratory, where specially developed software classifies the plankton into taxonomic groups. The instrument was recently used to detect a bloom of harmful marine algae (Dinophysis acuminata) in the Gulf of Mexico and prevent human consumption of tainted shellfish. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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