Flow cytometry techniques that are coupled with high frequency imaging
Flow cytometry can be used to distinguish phytoplankton based on their size and pigments, and is especially useful for plankton smaller than 10μm. Recent advances in imaging flow cytometry now offer the ability for rapid measurement of a larger size spectrum of phytoplankton. Optical imagingmethods such as FlowCam, Imaging FlowCytobot, and ZooScan can rapidly photograph plankton organisms, automatically sorting them into coarsely resolved taxonomic groups. Although imaging techniques quickly produce a large quantity of data, taxonomic and computational expertise is required to train the system to recognize and sort data. Only some taxa can automatically be identified to species level with imaging techniques, but the rapid analysis of plankton samples to a coarse taxonomic level can complement traditional taxonomic and genetic data, particularly over large sampling scales.