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Puget Plankton Chronicles

November 3 2014

Looking for creative ways to collect plankton for investigation with my iPhone Microscope and sharing with other citizen scientists and their families to help build awareness that every drop of Puget Sound is ALIVE! I hope to attach a small plankton net to my OpenROV "Curiosity" and collect plankton from sites that are somewhat less accessible (without a dock or pier readily available)

November 3 2014


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Name: Laura James
Account ID: 140651106

Preparation Stage

The collection containers have arrived and now I'll start making the net for my OpenROV 2.7... This is gonna be AWESOME!

Do you have any design drawings? This is a super hot topic at HQ right now, rock on!

Visibility has been pretty good lately, i think we've made it to our 'winter vis' month. This means that the plankton pickings are a bit sparse but that's why we have our little robot buddy! Testing is going well, i'm getting the tether pretty sorted out. I'm starting to sketch out ideas for the plankton net, i'm thinking of something pretty light weight that i can string out underneath the robot. I'd like to catch enough of the bioluminescent plankton that I can fill up a mason jar and show people our amazing green fire bioluminescence.

Have you been thinking about getting a microscope so you could fuel your curiosity and get a closer look at the world around you? Look no further! If you have a smart phone, a local hardware store, and a little tiny bit of skills with tools, then make one of these!!

Just talked with a microbiologist from UC Davis. More ideas soon!

This is great laura, is this the model you built in your featured video?

I'm looking forward to following the beta testing of the foldscope as well. it was initially developed as an inexpensive tool to look for malaria in blood samples. it will be great for looking at phytoplankton. I can't wait till they are available!

Hi Erika, yes, this is the model I built... The foldscope looks amazing!! There are a bunch of really cool smartphone microscopes coming down the pike via kickstarter et al, but I wanted something that was readily available and that kids/teachers/parents/curious folks could build with just a few tools, which, in addition to the satisfaction of creating, would give them some hands on 'maker' experience :) I also wanted something that was pretty robust for tabling with and that no one would feel bad if it got busted...

How has this been working out for you laura? Another explorer is looking at iPhone microscopes, after using this one, do you recommend @squishnak build one?

Expedition Background

Puget Sound is alive. Every drop. The pollution that runs into Puget Sound is flowing into the base of the food chain.

If you like sea critters, forage fish, salmon, orcas, sea birds, etc... then you like plankton!

Plankton captures the energy from the sun and makes it bio-available to every thing up the food web.


Speaking of low-cost tools, have you seen Foldscope??

Whoa! Those bio close ups are amazing! I love the video, looking forward to seeing more!

If they can't see it, they don't understand. Show it to them!