The Public Lab Babylegs Aquatic Trawl kit (link text) has proven itself to be an invaluable tool for community scientists to survey for microplastics in their local waterways. With data collected from these sampling exercises, communities are able to present findings to inspire change and advocacy within their region.
Plankton refers to aquatic organisms that drift or float in fresh or saltwater at some point in their lifecycle. Plankton sampling is performed for a variety of reasons.
1)Biodiversity Study- Sampling objective is to obtain an idea of what plankton species are present within the area and different layers of the water column.
2) Environmental Impact Study- Sampling objective is to assess whether the is a noticeable/increasing population of harmful or invasive species encroaching on an ecosystem.
Since plankton are free-floating or drifting organisms, the most efficient way to sample for them is by dragging nets or trawl. This is the same method that is utilized by the Babylegs kit to sample for microplastics within the water column.
My current question is can the Babylegs kit be modified or used to also sample for plankton?
*This is a current project with the Community Challenge members, but feedback or ideas from the Public Lab community is welcome. _