Single Turnover Active Fluorometry (STAF) for measuring phytoplankton primary productivity (PhytoPP)

LabSTAF Is the next generation of STAF-based primary productivity instrumentation. The system incorporates unparalleled sensitivity with a wide dynamic range, allowing for measurements in all environments: from reservoirs and lakes to open ocean.

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What is LabSTAF?

  • Monitoring phytoplankton primary productivity using the latest in STAF technology
  • Unparalleled sensitivity allowing measurements in extreme oligotrophic waters
  • Wide dynamic range providing reliable measurements from open ocean, coastal waters and lakes
  • Fully automated acquisition allows for continuous measurements without manual intervention
  • Compact and robust portable unit – ideal for deployment on research vessels and outdoor locations
  • Automated sample exchange and system cleaning for extended autonomous operation

Why LabSTAF?

  • Advanced corrections as standard:
    • Seven waveband excitation for spectral correction of photosynthetic measurements and assessment of community structure
    • Dual fluorescence waveband measurement to compensate for the reabsorption of chlorophyll fluorescence through the package effect
    • Baseline subtraction to exclude fluorescence signal from non-photosynthetic sources


  • Automated archiving so primary data are always secured
  • Real time data processing and presentation with a wide range viewing options
  • Flexible experimental design from manual control to complex fully automated acquisition set through the dedicated software, RunSTAF, running on the supplied Surface Go
  • Data extraction functions incorporated within RunSTAF provide easy access to extended primary data sets in csv format

Features & Applications

Technical Features

  • Integration of the absorption method for quantifying photosynthesis (Oxborough et al. 2012)
  • Seven measurement wavebands to allow for routine spectral correction based on variable fluorescence (Fv)
  • Dual narrow waveband fluorescence measurement, cantered at 685 nm and 730 nm, for automated package effect correction (Boatman et al. 2019)
  • Dual Single Turnover pulse method for the measurement of relaxation phase kinetics
  • Full spectrum blue-enhanced actinic illumination providing up to 2500 µmol photons m-2 s-1
  • Circulating water jacket for the sample chamber, which avoids intersection with optical paths
  • Potential replacement for 14C based photosynthetron measurements
  • Three acquisition modes: automated FLC, manual control and dark flow


  • Measurement of PSII photochemical flux per unit volume (JVPII) to provide an upper limit to PhytoPP at high spatiotemporal scales.
  • Quantitative assessment for the fundamental systems driving the global carbon cycle
  • Analysis of the biochemistry and ecology of aquatic systems
  • Verification of satellite data
  • Facilitates measurement at scales from mesoscale eddies to oceanic fronts
  • Climate change research and modelling
  • Monitoring of algal bloom development and community structure
  • Ecological monitoring to manage water catchments
  • Identify and mitigate sources affecting water quality in catchments


Power supply 140 – 400 mA at 24 V (3.4 – 9.7 W)
Dimensions (mm) 235 (H) x 320 (W) x 420 (D)
Mass (approx.) 8.1 kg
Sample Chamber 20 mL sample volume with fused silica vertical cylinder, BK7 base
Excitation wavebands (wavelength) 452, 472, 505, 417, 534, 594, 622 nm
Actinic light source Collimated output from 10 – 2400 μmol photons m² s¹ at 12 bit resolution
Detection limit Can resolve Fwith an amplitude equivalent to 0.001 mg m-3 of chlorophyll a
IP rating IP65
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