When the nets are brought back on board the research vessel, a scientist uses a hose to rinse the net, flushing the plankton to the very bottom, or cod end of the net. The contents from one side of the bongo tow are then rinsed into a glass jar, and a 5% buffered formalin solution is added to preserve the sample. The plankton from the other side of the bongo tow is preserved in 95% ethanol, which is a better preservative for genetic analyses and for ageing studies. All the samples are then brought back to laboratory for sorting and identification.
II. CUFES - In addition to net tows, plankton is collected while the research vessel is moving using a Continuous Underway Fish Egg Sampler, or CUFES. Water is pumped aboard the vessel from 3 m depth at 640 liters/min. The water is sent through a concentrator where it passes through a net, and the plankton is diverted to a collector. While CUFES is running, a data logger is recording the date, time, and position for each sample as well as other environmental data from the ship's sensors (e.g. wind speed, direction, SST).