For the first time oceanographers have a tool, known as a flow cytometer and sorter, which is useful for simultaneous measurement of multiple parameters of individual cells and particles at rapid rates. We are now able to exploit the fluorescent capability of pigments and stains as signals to quantify and separate subpopulations of cells and particles in the 1.0 to 150 μm size range. Analysis rates exceed 1000 cells per second and high sensitivity is attained using laser excitation.
The addition of this new technology to the ocean sciences will enable researchers to address problems which were previously intractable. The first unit, funded by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation, will be at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, in the laboratory of Clarice M. Yentsch and David A. Phinney. In anticipation of this award, a workshop course on flow cytometry (FCM) and sorting techniques was held from October 24 through November 1, 1982, at the Bermuda Biological Station.