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Methods to analyse phytoplankton: a manual for a thematic approach

Analysemethoden voor fytoplankton: handleiding voor een projectmatige benadering

Synopsis

There is an increasing array of methods for analysing phytoplankton analysis for aquatic research and monitoring projects. As these methods are technologically more advanced they become more difficult to comprehend and to acknowledge their specific strongpoints and weaknesses. Since no single method is generally superior to other methods a rational selection based on a general understanding of the technology and characteristics of the methods should be made. The manual should provide a project manager with adequate knowledge on the main methods of analysis for making a selection which suits the objectives and the logistics, as well as the financial restrictions of his/her project. The manual gives an overview of the five most common methods: remote sensing, flow cytometry, high performance liquid chromatography, chlorophyll extraction and light microscopy. A systematic approach is presented for selecting a method based on the phytoplankton characteristics to be analysed within a specific project and providing insight into the financial consequences. Examples from fictitious projects illustrate that a combination of methods will often provide an optimal result.
 

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