This material was originally published in the Purdue Cytometry CD-ROM Series

Flow Cytometry and Microbiology


Plankton analysis by flow cytometry.

Michael E. Sieracki and Terry L. Cucci
J.J. MacIsaac Facility for Individual Particle Analysis
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
McKown Point, West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575 USA


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Data Examples
Below are examples of standard plots from flow cytometric analyses of cultures and different plankton communities. All analyses were done with a Becton-Dickinson FacScan flow cytometer. Two bivariate plots are shown for each sample type: one of forward vs. side scatter, and the other of forward scatter vs. chlorophyll fluorescence. Forward light scatter is primarily related to cell size. Side scatter (measured at 90 degrees) is a due to a variety of factors including refractive index, granularity and cell shape. Chlorophyll fluorescence is present only in photosynthesizing cells (i.e. plant or phytoplankton cells), or in cells that have ingested phytoplankton.

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