Comparison of zooplankton data collected by a continuous semi-automatic sampler (CALPS) and a traditional vertical ring net

Sophie G. Pitois, Paul Bouch, Veronique Creach, Jeroen van der Kooij

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We compared and evaluated the performance of a Continuous Automatic Litter and Plankton Sampler (CALPS) against the traditional ring net vertical haul. CALPS is a custom-made semi-automatic sampler, which collects water using a pump system at a single depth along a predetermined transect as the ship sails. CALPS underestimated species abundance compared to the ring net by a factor 1.61, but both datasets illustrated a similar species composition, community size structure and good agreement in the spatial distribution of abundance. Our analysis suggests that avoidance of the CALPS is likely to be the main factor responsible for the observed difference in sampling efficiency, but other factors, such as depth, area sampled and zooplankton patchiness, are also likely to play their part. We conclude that whilst the CALPS is not suitable for investigations that require accurate measures of abundance, it is an ideal tool to identify and quantify changes in plankton communities and diversity. A particular advantage over more traditional vertical sampling methods is that it can be integrated within existing multidisciplinary surveys at little extra cost, thus making the CALPS particularly valuable as part of integrated monitoring programmes to underpin policy areas such as the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-943
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Issue number4
Early online date23 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • sampling efficiency
  • community structure
  • integrated monitoring
  • automated sampling

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