CytoSub Deployed at the OBSEA Cabled Observatory

25 Apr 2024

Following the earlier news, this April researcher colleagues from SARTI-UPC together with Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC) and engineers from CytoBuoy deployed the CytoSub at the OBSEA cabled observatory. The instrument offers solutions for analysis and classification of microorganisms & particles in water and complex media and will provide a more holistic view on the dynamics of the microworld by combining speed, information and size range. Watch the deployment video here.


CytoSubs are imaging flow cytometers which analyse microorganisms and particles in water, such as Phytoplankton. They collect in depth information on microbe communities and their diversity, viability, germination and physiology. The subs can also detect changes and notice trends in biological variables like the abundance and growth of phytoplankton or zooplankton, or harmful algal blooms.  

The instruments can run autonomously for multiple months on a set measuring schedule. The output of the measurements are single particle footprints and images. Unique for the CytoSubs is the wide particle range that can be measured. For ANERIS, the produced images will be used for the data pipeline developed by Vlaams Institute for the Sea (VLIZ) in their AIES-PHY, Automatic Information Extraction System for PHYtoplankton images.

The integration of the CytoSub to the OBSEA network was carried out after thorough testing in a pressure tank at the UPC under the supervision of CytoBuoy engineers. On the April 9th and 10th, coinciding with the UN Ocean Decade, an on-site training was conducted at UPC to train the researchers in the use, maintenance, and exploitation of data provided by the CytoSub. Subsequently, on April 11th, the instrument was successfully deployed at a depth of 18 meters connected to the OBSEA observatory, which provides power and real-time data. The CytoSub has been continuously measuring particles present in the area with a 3-hour cycle.