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A plankton net is a device for concentrating small marine
organisms for closer examination. The small organisms collected
in a plankton tow will be plants and animals that go unnoticed
by most people. A microscope is needed to identify many of these
organisms, but you see can see some of the larger zooplankton
with your naked eye, and even better with a magnifying glass.

A net with very fine mesh is used in the plankton net because
many of these tiny organisms would pass through an ordinary dip
net. The plankton net is essentially a cloth funnel that allows
water to pass through, but retains the living organisms. The
collected organisms will be found in the small glass or plastic
bottle found at the bottom of the net.

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[Summary provided by the Rhode Island Sea Grant]