When Victor Hensen deployed the first true plankton net in 1887, he and his colleagues were attempting to answer three fundamental questions: What planktonic organisms are present in the ocean? How many of each type are present? How does the plankton’s composition change over time? Although answering these questions has remained a central goal of oceanographers, the sophisticated tools available to enumerate planktonic organisms today offer capabilities that Hensen probably could never have imagined. This paper presents the state of the art in the application of image analysis and machine learning applied to digital plankton images, as well as, perspectives.
This publication is written by members of the SCOR WG 130 Automatic Visual Plankton Identification.