What do oceanographers do? They filter sea water

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) , an oceanographer studies the ocean.  Some oceanographers study whales, sharks, fish and other large creatures, but we focus our research on microscopic life forms – phytoplankton and viruses. In order to collect enough of those tiny creatures, we need to concentrate large numbers of them in smaller volulme. We do this by filtering. We run a lot of sea water through filters that have very small pores and collect the tiny organisms that remain on the filters for analysis. When I say small pore size, I mean really small. We use a pore size of 1.2uM to collect phytoplankton cells. 1.2uM is 1.2/1,000,000 of a meter (or 0.00005 of an inch)* and 15 times smaller than the width of a thin human hair!  For other samples, such as viruses and non-living particles, we use an even smaller pore size – down to 0.02uM (those are the Anotop filters listed below). We will use thousands of filters to collect different samples while in Espegrend.

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Filters we shipped to the station for the project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks to Sandra Lanman for her help with editing this post.

 

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