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Data entry table

DATA recording table

We recommend that you manually record the data on to a sheet of A4 paper, one sheet covers 1 week of samples taken every day.  You may download the table at the link below.

Word doc version download

Sapling protocol download

How to take a water sample, use the microscope and recording the results


  1. If possible, and weather dependent, 2 samples to be taken one sample 6 to 8 hours after sunrise and a second sample 6 to 8 hours after sunset
  2. The samples will be 500ml or half litre of seawater, the GOES filter is calibrated to give you this volume of water.
  3. Make sure you only use 1 x paper, or it will take a long time to pass. To take the water sample, wash out the plankton filter with seawater three times with a small amount of seawater and them on the fourth immersion, make sure the filter tube is completely full of water.  Remove the plankton filter from the water and hang for a period of at least 4 to 8 hours to allow the water to completely drain through the filter. For samples taken at night you may leave it until daylight to check the results, this will avoid night blindness when sailing at night
  4. The paper disc sandwiched between the acrylic plates (and secured with two pieces of insulating tape) makes the sample easy to handle and pop under the microscope. Do not remove the paper from the acrylic plates to examine under the microscope. The acrylic plate has 5 x 5mm (5000um) holes, they are the only parts of the filter paper examined.
  5. Bring the microscope head down to within 2mm of the acrylic plate, the 5mm hole will now fill the whole field of view. It is important to make sure that you have a sharp image. Turn the polarising lens fully up to eliminate the light reflection. Turn the light intensity fully up. Adjust the focus again and when you are happy that it is as sharp as possible, take a photo. Repeat the procedure for all 5 holes.
  6. On the A4 recording sheet record, the date, time (time of sample collection), and your gps position. The time must be UTC time
  7. You may record the data directly onto the word doc table on your computer.

A video is available on our website at the following link that explains how to take the sample.

There are too many particles in the water sample to count, however the diagram below is for your own information to gauge the size of the particles that you are seeing under the microscope.

Diagrammatic representation of a 5mm hole on the acrylic plate showing the relative dimensions of particles



The photo below is of the acrylic plate that is use to sandwich the 50mm diameter filter paper


An actual photo of a 5mm hole, showing the particles collected. The micro-fibre is very obvious and it measures around 800um, but there are no obvious plants or animals. There are quite a number of particles at about 20 um approximately 10 which you may record in the 20 to 200um bracket, and 1 x particle between 200 and 1000um.





Life on earth depends upon healthy Oceans, we have 10 years to stop toxic chemical pollution, or life on earth may become impossible

Dr. Howard Dryden, CSO

Goes Foundation

Roslin Innovation Centre
The University of Edinburgh
Easter Bush Campus
Midlothian EH25 9RG