SeaFlow is a novel underway flow cytometer created at UW by Jarred Swalwell that is designed to measure continuously phytoplankton abundance and composition, making it possible to analyze the equivalent of one sample every three minutes. In this way SeaFlow collects more samples in a day than most scientists gather on an entire cruise. Marine biologists now have the ability to explore phytoplankton dynamics at a spatial scale from a few hundreds meters to thousands of kilometers.
The instrument collects information about the size and pigment content of an individual cell and counts several thousands cells every second in real-time. The instrument utilizes light scattering and autofluorescence properties of individual cells to discriminate and quantify different phytoplankton populations that span 0.5-15 micrometer in size. The instrument is semi-autonomous and can be controlled remotely via Satellite connection.
SeaFlow data are analyzed by our R software and concentrations of different phytoplankton populations can be visualized in Google Earth. Data are processed at the Armbrust Lab by Francois Ribalet. Data are publicly accessible in SQLshare.