More, smaller bacteria in response to ocean's warming?
High-throughput screening platforms based on epifluorescence microscopy are powerful tools in a variety of scientific fields. Although some applications are based on imaging geometrically defined samples such as microtiter plates, multiwell slides, or spotted gene arrays, others need to cope with inhomogeneously located samples on glass slides. The analysis of microbial communities in aquatic systems by sample filtration on membrane filters followed by multiple fluorescent staining, or the investigation of tissue sections are examples. Therefore, we developed a strategy for flexible and fast definition of sample locations by the acquisition of whole slide overview images and automated sample recognition by image analysis. Our approach was tested on different microscopes and the computer programs are freely available (http://www.technobiology.ch).