Neuston Net Research Collective


DISCOVERY Yacht Cracker Girl
Stuart, Florida
March 2024

Purpose of Research

In November 2022, The International SeaKeepers Society launched the Neuston Net Research Collective to assist marine researchers with widespread sample collection. Vessels are equipped with neuston or plankton nets to collect Sargassum samples for Dr. Mike Parsons of Florida Gulf Coast University or document neustonic organisms such as Blue Button Jellyfish and Portuguese Man-o-War for Dr. Rebecca Helm of Georgetown University. These vessels allow for more robust data sets that our researchers will benefit from to further their marine studies and aid in the conservation of our oceans.

Program Overview

DISCOVERY Vessel Cracker Girl travels the Caribbean collecting Sargassum samples for Dr. Mike Parsons using a SeaKeepers plankton net. Dr. Parsons will analyze these samples to understand if they may be transporting a harmful single-celled algae called Gambierdiscus to coastal areas. Gambierdiscus is a genus of marine dinoflagellates that produce ciguatoxins, a type of toxin that causes the foodborne illness known as ciguatera. Understanding how Gambierdiscus may travel with Sargassum will help scientists take active steps toward preserving the health of local communities and ecosystems.

Duration of Project

Ongoing since March 2024


Stuart, Florida

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