Fjord Phyto

As Antarctic glaciers melt, ocean water changes. Scientists want to know how these changes are affecting the tiny plant-like creatures known as phytoplankton, which serve as the base of the Antarctic food chain. 

If you are lucky enough to visit Antarctica as a tourist or guide, Fjord Phyto wants you to gather water samples - and the phytoplankton they contain. Scientists use these samples to study how these organisms respond to seasonal variations and to climate disruption.

Go to Project Website


Boaters and passengers on cruise ships


Earth Science





What you’ll do

  • Make water quality measurements and collect samples for analysis of phytoplankton biodiversity.
  • Examine your phytoplankton sample under a microscope.
  • Learn about the Antarctic ecosystem and food web.


  • Time to get started: The sampling is a short activity during a boat ride (~1 hour).
  • Equipment: None. The project supplies guides with all necessary equipment.
  • Knowledge: None. Guided experience for participants; training available for guides.

Get started!

  1. Visit the project website.
  2. Watch the video on the “About” page.
  3. What role is right for you?: visit the Getting Started page for options.

Learn More

Explore the new Fjord Phyto StoryMap (available in English and Spanish!) to see where FjordPhyto is in action and see some of the phytoplankton that have been caught in project net tows. 

Visit the project blog and Publications & Media web pages to read more about the happenings and accomplishments of FjordPhyto.

Socialize with the team!

Visit YouTube to see images of phytoplankton, researchers in action, and the beautiful landscape of Antarctica.

A grey-blue circle surrounds the words "Fjord Phyto polar citizen science." These words curve, as if they are sitting on top of ocean waves. Above the text, filling the top third of the circle, there is an ice blue shape with the white cut-out of a tall mountain. The blue shape wraps under the mountain and outlines two people in a blue boat. Around the text we see two cartoon phytoplankton. The one on the left is a short section of a double-helix. The one on the right is a short cylinder with spines jutting out from each end.
A black rubber boat with an outboard motor is driven by a polar guide. We can see five red-jacketed tourists, each with a hat, sitting on the sides of the boat. One red-jacketed tourist is holding one end of a rope. The other end of the rope descends over the side of the boat into crystal clear  water where we can see the plankton net being towed through the Antarctic water to catch a sample.
These tourists, led by their polar guide, are collecting a plankton sample in a towed net.
Image shows several clear, skinny cylinders with spikes radiating from either end. Each cylinder contains one or more areas of irregular, brown-gold material. As is typical of images made through a microscope, only a narrow plane in the image is in focus, with objects nearer or farther from the plane appearing out of focus.
A greatly magnified image of diatoms of the genus Corethron, which are commonly found in Antarctic waters. Diatoms’ translucent cell walls are made primarily of silica, which is also the main ingredient of most manufactured glass. 

Get to know the people of Fjord Phyto!

Portrait photo of a man with curly dark hair standing in front of greenery.

Tobias Chavero


Portrait photo of a smiling man

Lorenzo Kohler


Photo of a man in an orange winter jacket and a white hard hat holding a rod in his left hand.

B. Jack Pan


Photo of a man in an orange winter jacket and a stocking cap with an ocean in the background

Rick Reynolds


Photo of a smiling woman in a neon green and black jack with an ice berg and the ocean in the background.

Martina Mascioni


Portrait photo of a woman with grey hair and the ocean and an iceberg in the background

Maria Vernet


Photo of a woman with braided hair and a blue knit hat smiling with an icy ocean in the background

Allison Cusick


Portrait photo of a smiling man with the blue sky behind him.

Gastón Almandoz


Photo of a man in a winter jacket on a boat on the icy ocean.

Christian Johnson