Phytoplankton Analysis

Phytoplankton counting and Biovolume measurements

We use inverted microscopy to analyse the composition, concentration and bio-volumes of phytoplankton in lake waters. Gina Henderson has 15 years experience in the identification of freshwater phytoplankton and is expert in the required methods for enumeration and biovolume calculations outlined in the CEN guidance (2004*) and in the “Guidance on the quantitative analysis of phytoplankton in Freshwater Samples” (Brierley et. al., 2007*). Henderson Ecology can meet all phytoplankton analysis data requirements as stipulated by the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Analyses are carried out using sedimentation chambers with an inverted microscope following the Utermöhl technique (1958*) . Bio-volumes are calculated based on numerous measurements of individuals of each taxa. To ensure taxonomic accuracy Henderson Ecology regularly takes part in European Phytoplankton proficiency tests (see below). Gina has been involved in large multi-site seasonal samples and smaller spot sample projects for numerous environmental agencies and government bodies and some of her recent projects are listed below. Please contact us if you would like to discuss any elements of phytoplankton analysis or sample collection.

  • 2018, NIEA Water Management Unit Laboratory Analysis Project. Seasonal phytoplankton analysis.

  • 2007 to date, Enumeration and Biovolume Estimate of Lake Phytoplankton Samples for WFD (EA- ca.225 samples per yr.).

  • 2014-2016, Hoveton Wetland Restoration Project (Natural England).

  • 2013-2016, National Resources Wales, lake phytoplankton sample analysis for WFD, Ecological Services framework.

  • 2008-2010, NIEA Water Management Unit Laboratory Analysis Project. Seasonal phytoplankton analysis.

  • 2008, Lake Baikal monitoring program, CONTINENT.

  • 2003-2004, Pilot lake monitoring network project to support the EU Water Framework Directive (EA and CCW).

Algal bloom analysis

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) can form quickly due to changes in a water body such as nutrient input, water temperature and water column stratification. These blooms can be unsightly but more importantly if cyanobacteria/ blue green algae are present in large numbers the waters can become toxic to fish, mammals, birds and humans.

At Henderson Ecology we provide algal bloom assessment, ranging from simple scanning of blue green presence and abundance, to total species composition with algal concentrations (cells per ml) and biovolumes (µm3 per ml) enumerated. Our lab can provide rapid sample analysis, typically within 24 hrs of receipt if required so that a bloom can be identified and management strategies implemented.

For more information on algal bloom analysis or a quote please contact us.

Quality Assurance

At Henderson Ecology Quality Assurance is paramount and we regularly participate in UK and European proficiency tests and taxonomic workshops. The proficiency tests evaluate identification competence, accuracy of cell concentration analysis and assess the accurate enumeration of biovolume metrics. Examples of tests taken and workshops attended are listed below:

* CEN (2004). Water quality– Guidance standard for the routine analysis of phytoplankton abundance and composition using inverted microscopy (Utermöhl technique) CEN TC 230/WG 2/TG 3/N83.

Brierley, B., Carvalho, L., Davies, S., & Krokowski, J. (2007). Guidance on the Quantitative Analysis of Phytoplankton in Freshwater Samples. Water Framework Directive, United Kingdom Technical Advisory Group (WFD UKTAG)

Utermöhl, H. (1958). Zur Vervollkommnung der quantitativen Phytoplankton- Methodik. Mitteilungen der Internationale Vereinigung für Theoretische und Angewandte Limnologie 9: 1-38.

© 2018 Henderson Ecology