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Engage in NOAA’s management of living marine resources through conservation and the promotion of healthy ecosystems.

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Volunteer Opportunites Where You Live

Marine Phytoplankton Sampler

Phytoplankton bloom.The NOAA Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (PMN) utilizes volunteers around the coastal United States to monitor for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).  Since 2001, NOAA PMN has expanded from 3 volunteer groups in Charleston, S.C., to include more than 250 volunteers monitoring over 200 sampling sites in 20 states. 

NOAA PMN staff provide all training and necessary field and lab equipment except a light microscope for volunteers to successfully monitor.  The field sampling involves a phytoplankton net tow and recording field parameters such as salinity.  In the lab, a volunteer completes a standard lab analysis for counting and identifying phytoplankton under a light microscope.  Once all data is collected and recorded, the volunteer submits the data into the NOAA PMN Database accessible through our Website.  Each volunteer completes the sampling at least twice a month for 12 months. 

This research-based monitoring opportunity is open to all volunteer groups and individuals who have an interest in marine science, especially phytoplankton.  Volunteer groups include 6th-12th grade classes, colleges and universities, aquariums, state parks, national estuarine research reserves (NERR), national marine sanctuaries (NMS), museums, non-profit organizations, master naturalists, master gardeners, and independent volunteers.

For more information about the NOAA Phytoplankton Monitoring Network please visit our Website:

States Involved in NOAA PMN volunteering:

Atlantic Region:
Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia,
Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts

Gulf of Mexico Region:
Florida Gulf, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas

Pacific Region:
Washington, Alaska, Hawaii

Caribbean Region:
Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands

See More About NOAA --> NOAA's National Marine Fisheries

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