On Friday morning, June 17, the Delaware II completed its ecosystem monitoring operations and started the second phase of this cruise with a series of comparative tows done between a bongo net plankton sampler and an Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawl. Three areas were to be investigated for the abundance of juvenile fish using these nets: the western Gulf of Maine, southern New England, and Georges Bank.
During this part of the cruise, satellite ground-truthing operations by our NASA scientists are continuing, as is some of the work by our Old Dominion University researchers. They have completed the primary productivity portion of their research and have drained and moved their deck-mounted incubators to give us sufficient deck space to fish our trawl net.
After making a series of test tows to determine the amount of wire, or scope, to use to fish the midwater trawl at a given depth, sampling was started with the Gulf of Maine area. Small fish larvae were found, but no juvenile fish. This changed however, when the Delaware II transited the Cape Cod Canal early in the morning on June 19 and sampled the waters of southern New England. Juvenile fish, some of them easily recognizable as young haddock, were found along two transect lines running north-south, offshore from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
With time running short for making a 100 nautical mile run out to Georges Bank and back, it was decided to forgo that area and continue sampling southern New England waters further to the east to determine the extent of juvenile fish distribution here.
Other observations have been ongoing during the course of this cruise. Unseen by those of us on deck, two observers, Marie Caroline Martin and Tim White, are tabulating the presence and distribution of marine mammals and birds along our track line from the flying bridge of the vessel.
Conditions for many of our twenty-one days out here have been favorable for making these observations, although Georges Bank and the Bay of Fundy, were fog enshrouded, as they often are at this time of year.
We are scheduled to return to Woods Hole on Wednesday morning, June 22. That will mark the end of what has been a longer than usual cruise.
Fresh fruits and vegetables may be running a little low, but our excellent chefs keep turning out wonderful meals, and everyone continues to get along very well despite our close quarters. Good food and camaraderie have not run out even after twenty plus days aboard the Delaware II!
DE 1105 EcoMon/NASA/ODU Cruise