Examining the Catch

Crew hooks up CTD probe to bongo nets. While underwater, the probe sends information to a computer which allows researchers to track the data in real time.

The front that passed over the coast last night got to us early this morning, but fortunately the winds never blew hard, and the seas stayed reasonably calm.  As the day wore on, the sun even came out to warm us up. We were busy doing stations all day.  The night watch got us down off the northeast tip of Long Island, and we have been working our offshore track down the edge of the shelf-break.  The Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth probe has been working all day, sending data back to the computer in the dry lab.

The plankton collections have been fairly large, and some tows have caught a small number of ctenophores (gelatinous filter feeders).  In the sieve, they look like clear grapes.  If they become very abundant they can quickly clog your net.  We are more interested in the smaller plankton, most of which is too small to distinguish with the naked eye.

Close view of a seive with plankton and ctenophores.

However, there are some exceptions, like the large Amphipods that crawl around in the sieve as soon as you wash them in from the net.  We also collected some “larger” larval fish.  Some of our tows today had yellowtail flounder larvae, and their broad bodies make them easy to pick out of the sample.  The silvery colored hake larvae are also easy targets.

Flounder and hake larvae

The night watch comes on soon.  They’ll keep us on our southward track, and hopefully continue with the good catches.

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