Lab analyses


Phytoplankton is the name for the microscopic plants (algae) suspended in the water. They provide food for water fleas and copepods, which in turn are eaten by fish. Phytoplankton is therefore at the beginning of the food chain. Phytoplankton is also the largest producer of oxygen on earth.

Humans have a significant influence on the water in our environment. Water authorities monitor the ecological development of our surface water with the annual monitoring of phytoplankton. In the event of changes, they can intervene to maintain or improve the ecological quality.

Environmental indicators

Changes in plankton are indicative of changes in the environment. The trend in recent years is that aquatic systems (seas, rivers, lakes, ditches and streams) are becoming increasingly nutrient-rich. This is noticable through the increase in fast-growing and bloom-forming algae, but a decrease in algae that thrive in clear, nutrient-poor water, such as desmids.

Importance of monitoring

Waardenburg Ecology has been involved in the monitoring of phytoplankton in Dutch surface waters for many years. In our laboratory we determine which types of planktonic algae are present in the water sample and in what quantities. We use this information to assess the ecological quality of the water and estimate which factors determine phytoplankton development: turbidity, eutrophication, salinization or grazing.