High-speed autonomous imaging system for the analysis of algae and other phytoplankton using acoustic technologies

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: School of Ocean and Earth Science


This PhD brings together advanced ultrasonic technologies [1] with expertise in remote monitoring of the marine environment to develop a novel system for the autonomous monitoring of phytoplankton. The interplay between engineering and ocean science requires enthusiasm to work across a range of disciplines.
Monitoring populations of phytoplankton is crucial for understanding, protecting and managing the health of marine and freshwater environments, and identifying risks to human health from bio-toxin-producing species. Existing technologies typically require sampling, often from remote or hazardous environments, lengthy sample preparation and laborious analysis methods to identify and quantify species, and there is high demand for new commercial systems that address these issues. There is particular need for this type of technology in coastal waters where blooms of toxic algal species cause mass mortalities amongst marine life and threaten public health. The PhD will develop a novel ultrasonic technology to focus thousands of phytoplankton cells into the imaging plane of a camera system. Coupled with a computer vision system, this will open the possibility of an imaging cytometer that can be deployed in a wide range of environments using state of the art marine autonomous systems including unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs).


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/N012070/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2023
2252436 Studentship NE/N012070/1 26/09/2018 30/08/2022 Anthony Lindley