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by Wyatt Fournier
Plankton are organisms that live in the water column and are unable to swim against a current.  I mentioned in my previous post that phytoplankton, which are the photosynthesizing primary producers (plants) in the ocean, are collected by Scott with a water sampler.  Our grad student from UAF, Sterling, is in charge of the Bongo net sampling that collects zooplankton and ichthyoplankton.   


Zooplankton are the small invertebrates that are the main consumers of phytoplankton and also the main prey item for larval and juvenile fish.  Ichthyoplankton are the eggs and larval life stages of fish and since they cannot yet swim against the current, they are easily caught in the Bongo net.  Sterling then has the task of finding and picking out the larval fish from the slew of plankton and preserving them for analysis.  The difficulty of this task is directly dependant on the sea height and weather.

To see what the oceanography equipment sampling on the Northwest, visit the Gulf of Alaska Project on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/GulfOfAlaskaProject

http://www.nprb.org/assets/images/uploads/blog/Blog+7.20.13.JPG