Discrete sample


sampling supplies


Equipment needed to gather weekly phytoplankton samples at the Santa Cruz Wharf. Equipment includes a discrete sampler and a plankton net, along with gloves, a thermometer, tape and pens, and a plastic bucket and bottles for holding collected samples.

Unlike the plankton net, a discrete sampler collects water from a specific depth.


The sampler is composed of a gray plastic tube with plunger ends. Before lowering it into the water the sampler is "charged" - the plunger ends are opened and fastened with a pin. The sampler is then lowered into the water with a rope. When the desired depth is reached, the pin is released with either a quick tug on the rope or a lead messenger. The plunger ends close, capturing the sample.

  charging the sampler

retrieving sample   Discrete samples are collected each week from depths of 10ft, 5ft and the surface. In contrast to the depth-integrated sample collected with a plankton net, the discrete sample provides a snapshot of the phytoplankton community at a specific depth.


University of California Santa Cruz
Ocean Sciences Department
Santa Cruz CA 95064