Effects of Lugol's fixation on the size structure of natural nano-microplankton samples, analyzed by means of an automatic counting method

Lucía Zarauz*, Xabier Irigoien

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Accurate abundance and biomass measurements are essential steps for determining the role of nano-microplankton in the microbial food web. Owing to practical constraints, traditional microscope analysis of nano-microplankton requires preservation; but preservatives alter plankton samples and bias the measurements. The majority of studies on the effects of preservation have been based on cell cultures. However, new automatic counting systems offer the possibility to investigate the effect of fixatives on large numbers of natural samples. In the present study, cell counts of live and 1% Lugol's preserved samples were compared at 115 stations located in the Bay of Biscay. Additionally, the effect of different Lugol's concentration (1 and 5%) was studied. Analyses were performed with the FlowCAM (see Sieracki et al. in An imaging-in-flow system for automated analysis of marine microplankton. Mar. Ecol. Progress Ser., 168, 285-296, 1998), using plankton samples directly collected from the field. The results show that the analysis of natural samples preserved with a single fixative biases the abundance and biomass estimates of different size ranges of the nano- and microplankton, not only in the large sizes. This is due to changes in cell abundance, especially in the nanoplankton size range, and to the formation of aggregates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1297-1303
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by several projects funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Research, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Basque Country Government and the European Commission (BIOMAN, EIPZI). L.Z.’s work was supported by a Doctoral Fellowship of the Education, Universities and Research Department of the Basque Country Government.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of Lugol's fixation on the size structure of natural nano-microplankton samples, analyzed by means of an automatic counting method'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this