Recent advances in both microscopic and photographic imaging techniques have led to a much greater understanding of floc behavior and floc structure. While the emphasis in the three different environments (saltwater, freshwater, and engineered systems) differs, new techniques in each discipline present an opportunity to advance our understanding of flocs. Very significant advances have been made in the study of floc properties in engineered systems, whereas the emphasis in natural systems has been on determining bulk properties that control the transport of sediment. Methods for dissecting flocs microscopically and understanding microbial systems and processes at a molecular level are relatively new to the marine and freshwater studies and offer an exciting new area of study provided floc sampling methods can advance at the same time.

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