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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 links below.

Word doc version  download   and a PDF version download

Once the data has been downloaded you can then transfer it to an Excel Spreadsheet download spreadsheet

Information to enter

  1. Record your position. The GOES IT team will match this sample location with a satellite image your GPS position as close to the time you collected the sample. This will allow us to calibrate with satellite data for phytoplankton during daylight hours. (Zooplankton migrate at night so satellite imagery isn’t of value).
  2. If possible, and weather dependent, 2 samples to be taken a day at 12 noon and midnight in your time zone.
  3. The samples will be 500ml or half litre of seawater, the GOES filter is calibrated to give you this volume.
  4. Use one of the GOES Ocean  filters, make sure you only use 1 x paper, or it will take a long time to pass.  Time to filter a sample 1 to 4 hours. For samples taken at night you may leave it until daylight to check the results, this will avoid night blindness when sailing at night
  1. The paper disc sandwiched between the acrylic plates makes the sample easy to handle and pop under the microscope. The acrylic plate has 5 x 5mm holes, they are the only parts of the filter paper examined.
  2. We don’t expect the numbers to be huge (10 – 30 particles), so it shouldn’t take too long to count everything on the paper. If you are in coastal water, with a high concentration of particles in suspension, the Ocean paper may be too fine and the water may not pass, in which case use the 20um coastal paper.

The microscope recommended will allow you to see ‘particles’ down to 20 um, that is 0.02mm.

  1. Then it’s the exciting bit: take a record of the following 5 groups of particles.
  2. Take 5 x pictures, one for each of the 5mm filter holes.  You can do this and count the samples latter, and then keep the photos on the spreadsheet

Now for the really cool stuff – it is time to get counting:-

  1. The planktonic animals (zooplankton) 
  2. The plants (phytoplankton)
  3. Microplastic fibres are usually easy to identify and often blue.
  4. The plastic particles can be more difficult and often appear in different shades of grey. 
  5. Numbers of unidentified particles.

The results can be recorded on paper, and a word doc as well as PDF filter are provided for you to print off.  If you don't have a printer, we can provide you with the record data sheets.  You could also record the data on a spreadsheet, or transfer the data to a spreadsheet one it has been recorded on paper.

For each of the 5 x groups of particles, it would be good to differentiate the number of particles in each of the 3 x size bands.

  • 20 to 200um
  • 200um to 1000um
  • larger than 1000um

Each of the 5mm holes on the clear filter plate is 5mm, this is the same at 5000 um (microns).  You can therefore use the 5000um holes as a guide to particle size.  The image below is a graphic representation of one of the 5mm holes that will fill the field on view with your microscope.  The image sizes are shown on the drawing.


On arrival in a port, harbour or marina

When you arrive into port and can access the internet, you can send us a copy of the excel spreadsheet along with the photographs.



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