Explore Plankton Near You

Friday, November 13, 2015 by Kim Little

During LabVenture! students get the chance to start exploring the world of plankton. Every morning our staff go out and collect a sample of plankton from our pier for students to observe during the visit. 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 nylons, a wire hanger, and a plastic bottle (with some duct tape and string to hold it together). Plankton live in both fresh and marine water. This activity is a perfect first step if you and your students want to start exploring the plankton near you!

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

In order to make sure it worked, 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 slid the nylons back over the mouth of the bottle so that we could pour it into a better container.

Here is a short video of what we caught!

Video Player Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDdNMM81Y8A

If you decide to do this activity with your class, we would love to hear from you! Post any cool photos, suggestions, or modifications below.


Have fun! 


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