The next time you visit Topsail Beach and look into the clear water crashing against the rounded rocks, remember this: that clear water is teeming with several species and countless numbers of plankton. That plankton actually contains everything from microscopic algae called diatoms to fish larvae. A fine net with openings measured in microns was towed behind the Coastal Explorer to collect plankton samples to be examined aboard the vessel. Students of the Fisheries and Marine Institute’s Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management advanced diploma program discovered this during a short eco-tour on the bay last week. Capt. Jan Negrijn of Coastal Connections took an instructor and seven students out on the Coastal Explorer so they could be exposed to the marine environment, learn how important it is to the ecological process as well as to interact with an eco-tourism operator in his environment. Negrijn operates Coastal Connections out of Newman Sound in partnership with Terra Nova National Park and caters to mostly younger students.