Sampling Equipment

  • bucket
  • cups with a screw cap, such as urine cups
  • spoon
  • long knife
  • refractometer (to measure the salinity)
  • waterproof marker
  • sampling site description sheet
  • pencil
  • camera
  • GPS
  • camera
  • scoop (a device that allows to collect species that live on aquatic vegetation)

General Advice

Take a picture of every sample and document the general sampling area. It will make it a lot easier to locate the sample location again in case you want to return to collect more individuals of a particular species. In order to identify the sample on the picture, write the sample number clearly on the lid of the cup. Also, try to take the GPS coordinates of each sample or sample location.

Sand Sample

A sand sample is a sample that collects sand in a small and clearly defined area. For such samples, it is useful to note the thickness of the oxygenated layer. We usually do not find macrostomids in evidently anoxic layers (often indicated by blackened sediment). Also avoid collecting black sediment in your sample, because it makes the samples go bad more quickly.

Pete Samples

A 'Pete Sample' is a long, thin surface sample covering a gradient over different substrates or habitats (the name is in honor of Peter Ladurner, who 'invented' that type of sample). Pete samples are very useful in a 'range finding' process, for example, when you collect in a place for the first time. If you find some worms in such a sample, you can always go back and sample more accurately.


Several Pete samples can be combined into long transects, to start obtaining a better idea about the spatial structure of the species distribution.


To sample in between vegetation, especially in fresh water habitats, a scoop sampling device can be very helpful to collect and concentrate the material. This one was built by Gregor Schulte out of a discarded detergent container found on the beach, a 30 µm mesh and a lid of a urine cup. Basically, you need a sturdy funnel, ideally with a handle, and a fine mesh that holds back the animals, but lets through the water. The sampled material then collects in the bottom of the scoop in a detachable cup. It's really an indispensable collection tool. Note that scoops can also be very successfully used on a flooded meadow. An alternative to a scoop is to collect vegetation, and to shake it forcefully in a bucket of water. Both types of samples then are extracted using the bottle method (see Extraction).

Core Sample

These kinds of acrylic tubes are useful to take core samples in a more standardized way. However, many species tend to be quite superficial (at least species of the genus Macrostomum), and so taking deeper samples may not be so useful.

Core Sample

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith