Harmful Algal Blooms

Real-time, continuous Phytoplankton imaging sensors

Imaging FlowCytobots (IFCB)-based HAB alerts

Locations of TOAST, where Imaging FlowCytobot (IFCB) has been deployed since 2007 and Surfside, where a second IFCB is has been deployed since May 2017.  Buoys B and D (red circles) are two of the buoys in the TABS network that collect water current and meteorological data and report in near real-time.

The phytoplankton images are captured using the IFCB, an imaging-in-flow instrument that combines video and flow cytometric technology to capture high resolution (1 µm) images for plankton identification and to measure chlorophyll fluorescence associated with each image.  Organisms ranging from ~10 to >100 µm can be identified often to genus and, in some cases, to species. 


The Phytoplankton Time Series at Port Aransas is part of the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (MANEER) program. 

Daily Phytoplankton Photo  Time-series plot  Study site and instrument

TOAST deployment was destroyed due to a drilling ship colliding with and sinking the UTMSI pier following Hurricane Harvey landfall in nearby Rockport, TX.  The pier will be rebuilt (no date of completion is available) and the IFCB will be re-deployed as soon as possible.


The Phytoplankton Time Series at the Surfside Beach, south of Galveston Bay near Freeport, TX

Daily Phytoplankton Photos Time-series plot Access Data

We would like to thank the US Coast Guard Station Freeport for their support of this project in allowing the IFCB to be deployed at their station.

Envisioning a Plankton Imaging Network to Address Gulf of Mexico Coastal Management Needs