Citizen Science: Plankton Power and Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring

Plankton, magnified.
Phytoplankton provide food for zooplankton and many other species.


Plankton are the foundation of ocean food webs and support a variety of life that sustains humans. For that reason, many organizations and research endeavors in Sitka explore the importance (and sometimes potential danger) of phytoplankton. The Sitka Sound Science Center’s hatchery carefully monitors phytoplankton so they can release their salmon fry into the most food possible. The Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research (SEATOR) program monitors for harmful algal species whose toxins can accumulate in shellfish and, at high densities, can cause a variety of poisonings if consumed by people. This watchful eye on our waterways provides crucial insight for subsistence harvesters and beach-goers alike.

As part of the Summer Field Science School, participants will collect phytoplankton samples from a variety of beaches and docks in town. We will also learn how to identify harmful algal species under a microscope and discuss how phytoplankton can drive oceanic food webs and systems.

Last updated: May 8, 2018

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103 Monastery St.
Sitka, AK 99835


(907) 747-0110

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