Site: Northeast U.S. Shelf

Co-author Alexi Shalapyonok secures FlowCytobot (FCB) underwater at the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO) tower. FCB, an automated submersible flow cytometer, operates unattended at MVCO for 6 months or longer, measuring thousands of individual microscopic plankton every hour.
Credit: Sean Whelan

Phytoplankton bloom dynamics at Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO) are sensitive to temperature variability on both seasonal and decadal scales. Multi-year sampling has shown that the genetic background of phytoplankton is diverse and changes rapidly in coastal shelf waters. Ongoing NES LTER observations emphasize the complementary nature of multiple approaches (sequencing, imaging, and flow cytometry) to better document and understand changes in plankton diversity and how it impacts the ecosystem.