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Sensors 2013, 13(6), 7872-7883; doi:10.3390/s130607872

In situ Measurements of Phytoplankton Fluorescence Using Low Cost Electronics

School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA
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Received: 2 May 2013 / Revised: 14 June 2013 / Accepted: 17 June 2013 / Published: 19 June 2013
(This article belongs to the Section Chemical Sensors)
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Abstract

Chlorophyll a fluorometry has long been used as a method to study phytoplankton in the ocean. In situ fluorometry is used frequently in oceanography to provide depth-resolved estimates of phytoplankton biomass. However, the high price of commercially manufactured in situ fluorometers has made them unavailable to some individuals and institutions. Presented here is an investigation into building an in situ fluorometer using low cost electronics. The goal was to construct an easily reproducible in situ fluorometer from simple and widely available electronic components. The simplicity and modest cost of the sensor makes it valuable to students and professionals alike. Open source sharing of architecture and software will allow students to reconstruct and customize the sensor on a small budget. Research applications that require numerous in situ fluorometers or expendable fluorometers can also benefit from this study. The sensor costs US$150.00 and can be constructed with little to no previous experience. The sensor uses a blue LED to excite chlorophyll a and measures fluorescence using a silicon photodiode. The sensor is controlled by an Arduino microcontroller that also serves as a data logger.
Keywords: fluorometer; fluorescence; phytoplankton; chlorophyll; Arduino; inexpensive; sensors; oceanography; technology; education fluorometer; fluorescence; phytoplankton; chlorophyll; Arduino; inexpensive; sensors; oceanography; technology; education
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Leeuw, T.; Boss, E.S.; Wright, D.L. In situ Measurements of Phytoplankton Fluorescence Using Low Cost Electronics. Sensors 2013, 13, 7872-7883.

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