Make your own plankton net!

Monday, November 16, 2015 by Kim Little

Plankton are some of my favorite critters in the ocean. I can spend hours looking at samples of live plankton. Most plankton are tiny microscopic plants and animals that live in water, both fresh and marine. That’s right even that tiny stream behind your school has plankton!

While at GMRI you were able to start exploring the world of marine plankton, but now you can start observing plankton closer to home. A professional plankton net, like the one that we use to collect our samples can be expensive, but recently we found an activity by NOAA where you can make a plankton net out of household items.

Over the holiday a couple of us tried the activity ourselves. The net only took us about 15 min to make with all of the supplies in front of us.


We wanted to make sure it worked so we took it out to the pier, dropped it in the water, and started dragging it to catch some plankton (helpful tip: make sure the bottle is full of water before you start dragging otherwise you won’t catch anything).


Back in the lab we didn’t end up detaching the bottle, like the NOAA instructions suggest, but instead simply slid the nylons back over the mouth of the bottle so that we could pour it into a container.

Check out this short video of what we caught!

Video Player Here:

Now its your turn. Grab a magnifying glass and take a look at your sample. Post any cool photos or finds below.

Have fun and happy observing! 

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