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CDCP a collaborative data collection project

CDCP project

How to collect a sample

How to prepare the sample and use the microscope

Plankton and plastic identification

Record the results and send to GOES


There are around 5,000 yachts crossing oceans every year, from Arctic regions to the equator, if some of these yachts were to start collecting data, then it would be in invaluable for the measurement of oceanic pollution and productivity. The data will be fed into a data base, and when there are sufficient results AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be used to analyse the data, which will all be displayed on However, we don’t just want to collect data, the information will be used to inform and educate, and help identify and initiate innovation of technology that can start to have a real impact on fighting climate change and protect our oceans.

Citizen science is often not considered seriously, that is why we have taken the time to test the procedures and to make sure that it is possible to collect and analyse the sample to produce relevant data onboard a typical ocean-going yacht.   We know how difficult it is to do a plankton trawl from the back of a yacht, especially at night, we have therefore made it a quick easy task, to obtain precise measurements with just the minimum of tools.  Thanks to Dr. Jesus Ramon Barriuso Diez from San Sebastian, for designing and manufacturing the filter for GOES


Collect data on micro-plastic, zooplankton and phytoplankton concentration in oceanic water where the depth exceeds 1000m. Secchi disc reading may also be taken at the same time as well as other observations, from observations of surface plastic to whale sightings.

Sample collection.

  1. A 250ml water sample is collected at 12:00hrs and 24:00hrs from the ocean surface, once every few days. Time day/night and GPS position are recorded
  2. The sample is added to a gravity filter, the water reservoir contains 250ml, so it is just filled up till it over-flows. The water then slowly passes through the filter with a filter paper ratted at 1 um. The filter is then just left for around 10 to 30 minutes for the water to pass through the unit.
  3. Remove the filter paper with tweezers, and place under a USB microscope at about 20 times magnification, count the number of plastic fibres and particles that can be easily identified. Count all zooplankton and count all the visible algae phytoplankton
  4. The information is recorded and sent to GOES by email, or it is up-loaded directly to the database.
  5. The information will be displayed on the website, and with skippers permission, the position of the yachts will be tracked by AIS and displayed on

If you would like to join the team  send us an email


 ‘Fishermen crucial for marine data collection’.

 H. Magazine, ‘How Fishers Became Data Scientists to Strengthen Their Marine Protected Area’, Hakai Magazine.


The GOES team from Edinburgh can send you out a pack of all the equipment that you require, or you can purchase from Amazon some of the items.  We also include below instructions for making the filter.

  • Plankton filter
  • Microscope
  • Filter paper, 50mm diam 0.45um
  • Tweezers
  • Petri dish 55mm to 60mm or small plate
Plankton filter

The instructions for making the filter click here


A simple USB type microscope of similar is fine for this application,  they may be purchased on-line from Amazon at the following link;

Link to Amazon store


Filter paper

50mm diameter, 0.45um pore size

Link to Amazon Store


Any good quality, stainless steel tweezers will be okay

Link to Amazon store

Petri Plate

Use a Petri plate, it also allows you to cover the sample and keep. PLease note that if you wish to keep the sample, it will need to be dried. Wet plankton samples rapidly deteriorate and have a really bad smell.  The petri plate is made from glass, and is reusable.

glass plates Link to Amazon store

Plastic petri plates may be used for storage of samples

Microscope ruler for calibration

We are going to be measuring size groups of plankton, so you need to be able to calibrate the microscope.

calibration ruler


yacht COPEPOD  to base for the Goes Foundation, as well as Roslin Innovation Centre, Edinburgh University

yacht COPEPOD to base for the Goes Foundation, as well as Roslin Innovation Centre, Edinburgh University

Plankton filter from Dr. Jesus Ramon Barriuso Diez from San Sebastian

Plankton filter from Dr. Jesus Ramon Barriuso Diez from San Sebastian

1 um 50mm diam filter paper

1 um 50mm diam filter paper

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