Hydrobiological Bulletin

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 13–19 | Cite as

Fixation artifacts of phytoplankton in zooplankton grazing experiments

  • W. C. M. Klein Breteler
Measurements in the Ambient Medium


The influence of various fixatives on size distribution and cell concentration was investigated using two types of electronic particle counters. Both in autotrophic and heterotrophic flagellates drastic losses of cells and changes of size were found in all preservatives used. Also preserved natural seston samples were not representative of the original fresh sample, and they continued changing and varying in the course of time. In diatoms also changes in size were noticed due to the fixative, however, doubt arises whether they were real or only measured differently by the particle counter. Even filtered sea water could not be preserved without obvious changes in particle distribution. Apart from diatoms, commonly used fixatives must be regarded worthless to preserve most phytoplankton and protozooplankton species in grazing experiments with zooplankton.


fixation phytoplankton algae diatoms (dino-)flagellates particle counter 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. BAKKER, C., T.C. PRINS and M.L.M. TACKX, 1985. Interpretation of particle spectra of electronic counters by microscopical methods. Hydrobiol. Bull. 19: 49–59.Google Scholar
  2. KLEIN BRETELER, W.C.M., 1980. Continuous breeding of marine pelagic copepods in the presence of heterotrophic dinoflagellates. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 2: 229–233.Google Scholar
  3. SOROKIN, Y.I., 1981. Microheterotrophic organisms in marine ecosystems. In: Analysis of marine ecosystems (A.R. Longhurst, ed.), Academic Press, London, p. 293–342.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Netherlands Hydrobiological Society 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. C. M. Klein Breteler
    • 1
  1. 1.Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchDen Burg, Texel

Personalised recommendations