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FlowCytobot being loaded onto Mytilus

A Picture Worth a Thousand Cells

Research associate Alexi Shalapyonok (foreground), and plankton biologists Heidi Sosik and Rob Olson load the FlowCytobot onto the coastal boat Mytilus. Based on the principles of the biologist's flow cytometer, the Cytobot is an automated underwater microscope that detects and counts tiny plants and animals in the ocean. In March 2008, a newer version of the instrument unexpectedly detected the toxic alga Dinophysis acuminata in the Gulf of Mexico. WHOI biologists Olson and Sosik developed the instrument as a basic research tool, but they are now helping to design and buid a version for commercial use. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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