INTERVIEW – Morgane Didry is in charge of flow cytometry in the BioSWOT-Med cruise. Here she explains how it works and what information it can provide about different assemblages of phytoplankton.
THE INSTRUMENTS OF OCEANOGRAPHY – Morgane Didry is a technician at University Aix-Marseille working at the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography on the PRECYM cytometry platform. In BioSWOT-Med she is in charge of flow cytometry.
What are your research interests besides BioSWOT-Med?
I study marine microbiology and more precisely the distribution of different assemblages of phytoplankton, bacteria and viruses. I can be asked to work on local projects of researchers (as it is the case with this campaign), but also for external providers and thus analyze very different samples coming from all over the world.
In the BioSWOT-Med cruise you will be responsible for flow cytometry. What is a flow cytometer and how does it work?
Flow cytometry allows to count and analyze suspended particles individually and at very high throughput. These particles are carried by a sheath liquid which aligns them, separates them and leads them to a light source (laser). Different parameters are then measured, allowing us to classify the cells according to their optical properties of light scattering and fluorescence, which then gives us information on their size, their structure and their physiological state.
Will you take part in the day/night shifts?
Yes, we will take turns with Gérald Grégori for the cytometry. During the three days on station, we will take water samples from Niskin bottles and fix the samples.
Then we will take advantage of the three days of mapping and repositioning of the boat to analyze at least part of the samples (phytoplankton analyses). The rest (bacteria, viruses and heterotrophic nanoflagellates) will be analyzed in the lab upon our return.