About Phyto'pedia

The materials included in Phyto'pedia were compiled as a learning aide for the students of the Earth and Ocean Sciences 442: Climate Measurement and Analysis course. These materials include:

  • detailed guides of the most common species observed in the phytoplankton of the Strait of Georgia
  • a taxonomic key for the diatom and dinoflagellate species described
  • an at-a-glance photo-identification guide
  • a collection of high-resolution seasonal community images
  • a thorough glossary of the terms used in this guide

Students using these materials should refer to the introduction (pages 1 to 19) of A Taxonomic Guide To Some Common Marine Phytoplankton by Dr. Rita A. Horner (Biopress Ltd.) for general information on types of phytoplankton.

Phyto'pedia was compiled at The Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of British Columbia from April 2011 to April 2012 with the direction of Dr. Tara Ivanochko, coordination by Dr. David Cassis, and the collaboration of the graduate students Jade Shiller, Benjamin Moore-Maley, and Jongmun Kim, as well as the undergraduate students Sam Huang, Aden Sheikh, and Gladys Oka.

Funding was provided by the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund of the University of British Columbia.

The phytoplankton samples used in this project were collected twice a week at Jericho Beach pier N 49° 16.603' W 123° 12.111' in Vancouver using a 20 μm mesh size phytoplankton net. The material was photographed either live or fixed with Lugol's saturated iodine solution.

Most of the images presented in these materials were obtained using a Nikon™ 80i microscope fitted with a DS-Ri1 digital camera by the aforementioned team. Differential interference contrast (DIC) was the illumination commonly used during the observation and imaging of the specimens, although phase contrast and bright field were also used.

We hope the materials presented in the Phyto'pedia will result in a valuable and enjoyable learning experience for all its users.


David Cassis
Project coordinator
April, 2012


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