Phytoplankton analyses are among BSA’s core competencies, having extensive experience performing phytoplankton projects throughout North America.


Algal species assemblages are excellent indicators of water body health. One initial sign of water quality degradation is a shift in algal abundance and species composition. Algae quickly respond to anthropogenic changes in water quality. Phytoplankton analyses provide government and commercial entities the necessary information to make informed decisions about management and restoration of aquatic systems.


BSA provides exceptional phytoplankton analysis at research quality, cost-effective standards for government and commercial clients. Each project we undertake is conducted in accordance with prescribed client standards for quality of services. With a staff of formally trained and qualified phycologists, BSA has extensive practical experience identifying, enumerating, and calculating biovolume estimates for phytoplankton samples throughout the entire United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, as well as other sites in North America including Canada and Mexico, from freshwater, marine and brackish ecosystems. BSA performed the phytoplankton analyses for the 2012 and the 2017 USEPA National Lakes Assessments.


BSA provides accurate identification, enumeration, and biovolume estimations. Our extensive experience has provided the opportunity for our taxonomists to become familiar with a vast number of genera and species and identification and enumeration techniques such as Ütermohl chambers, wet mounts, semi-permanent, and permanent slides. In addition, BSA also offers sampling method and preservation guidance, as well as study design of the phytoplankton analysis for our clients.


Undesirable species, nuisance, and invasive species (exotics), may have significant negative economic, social and ecological impacts. BSA provides identification, enumeration, and biovolume measurements of invasive species such as the invasive diatom Didymosphenia geminata and nuisance and noxious algae such as Aphanizomenon flos-aquae and Microcystis aeruginosa. Data obtained from these analyses are used to effectively monitor and manage exotic and nuisance species, which is necessary to maintain satisfactory water quality conditions and preserve native populations.


Algae also show potential in several biotechnology fields, including bioremediation, carbon sequestration, and biofuel production. BSA can aid clients in their efforts to expand algal uses by providing accurate identifications of experimental algal communities.


  • Client’s choice of Utermöhl, filtration, Palmer - Maloney chambers, or wet mount counting techniques

  • Permanent Slides - Including HPMA, TSM, and Naphrax mounting methods

  • Monitoring of problematic taste and odor producing algae

  • Epifluorescence microscopy

  • Cyanotoxin analysis

  • Larval fish gut algal analysis

  • Biomass from chlorophyll a 
    analyses / ash-free dry weight

  • Biovolume analyses

  • Chlorophyll a

  • Statistical analysis

  • Water quality and biodiversity indices calculations

  • Picoplankton analyses