What a pleasure to read the article “Resolving variability of phytoplankton species composition and blooms in coastal ecosystems” of Riina Klais, James E. Cloern and Paul J. Harrison in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, where they point out the importance of microscopical analysis of phytoplankton in the following way: “Despite of the preliminary difficulties in using the existing phytoplankton time series data for cross system comparisons, most studies that have been global to date have used either model outputs or satellite observations, and even the latter do not come close to the level of information that the microscopic analysis of a phytoplankton sample by experienced taxonomist can provide.”
After one has heard some voices saying that phytoplankton analysis could be replaced with other analysis. Well that just is not true. You lose a magnitude of information if you don’t know what the species are that make the basis of all production in water – the phytoplankton community.
There are still many obstacles to overcome before we can enjoy the benefits of a global, access-to-all database, but in the mean time I’ll do my best in following the changes in taxonomy and documenting my methods in an adequate way, willingly serving the greater good.