Marine Mammal Sighting Updates and Phytoplankton Photos

June 16 2011

Monday we were in and out of fog surveying lines adjacent to Munson and Powell Canyons on the southern flank of Georges Bank.  Sightings of note were: Fin whales, beaked whales, Risso’s dolphins, lots of common dolphins, and ocean sunfish. Sighting conditions were marginal most of the day (dark sky and water, and 1 m swells).  Because the weather forecast called for fog and wind in the area for most of this week, we moved back to the western end of the survey blocks.

At 1100 on Tuesday morning, June 14, we surveyed line 17 at Hendrickson Canyon and part of 18 around Berkley Canyon.  On the morning of the 15th we continued surveying line 18, but stopped at 1130 due to sea state.  We are remaining in near position in blue tropical (22.2 deg C) waters.

This morning was one of the most active days we had.  We had multiple sightings of fin whales, pilot whales, and bottlenose and Risso’s dolphins at the beginning of the survey line (~200 m).  When we entered warmer and blue slope water, we encountered lively groups of Atlantic spotted dolphins, including a mixed group of spotted and striped dolphins.  The dolphins put on a terrific aerial display. The passive acoustics team collected lots of data from the dolphin groups.

We had a great sunset followed by a fantastic moon rise on Wednesday evening!

Beautiful moonrise, as seen from the ship. Photo credit: NOAA/NEFSC Sasha McFarland

Betsy Broughton is aboard and has been running a video plankton recorder
at night, capturing images like these:

Jellyfish

Phytoplankton

Salpa democratica

Gordon Waring
Chief Scientist

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