Louisiana State University Zooplankton Lab contributes to almost 30 percent of data in the world using grant-funded equipment and salaries.
“Our lab is taking the lead in analyzing plankton samples collected in the wake of the deep water horizon oil spill,” School of the Coast and Environment Assistant Professor Malinda Sutor said. The lab, which studies plankton that cannot swim aginst a horizontal current, received a British Petroleum peer-reviewed grant through the LSU Research Office.
“Our department is the second in the university for bringing in external funds, even though we are one of the smaller departments on campus,” she added. Sutor applies for grants through the National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to cover two-week fleet survey expenses, zoo scans to process plankton samples and pay for research professors, assistants and student workers in the lab.
“Because all of the research associates here work on soft money, a lot of them become adaptable with their skills,” Sutor said. Researchers in the lab worked with almost four different types of plankton imaging systems. LSU is the leader in implementing zoo scan procedures that give robust plankton information with the least amount of effort.
Dr. Malinda Sutor explains how researchers study plankton at LSU.