Wrapping Up on the Delaware II

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.

Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawl being hauled back aboard the Del II. Photo credit: NOAA/NEFSC Jerry Prezioso.

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.

ODU research Cory Staryk removing the last sample from his incubator. Photo credit: NOAA/NEFSC Jerry Prezioso.

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.

Juvenile haddock caught with the midwater trawl. Photo credit: NOAA/NEFSC Jerry Prezioso.

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.

Tim White on flying bridge of Del. II. Photo credit: NOAA/NEFSC Jerry Prezioso.

Marie Caroline Martin on the flying bridge of Del. II. Photo credit: NOAA/NEFSC Jerry Prezioso.

Occasionally fish enter into their observations, as one incident where they recorded a basking shark and greater shearwaters feeding on zooplankton in close proximity.

A basking shark and greater shearwater feeding on zooplankton. Photo credit: NOAA/Marie Caroline Martin

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.

Researchers make the most of close quarters in the computer/gym area of the Delaware II. Photo credit: NOAA/NEFSC Jerry Prezioso.

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!

Chief steward John Rockwell (on right) and second steward James White preparing a tasty meal in the Delaware galley. Photo credit: NOAA/NEFSC Jerry Prezioso.

Jerry Prezioso

Chief Scientist

DE 1105 EcoMon/NASA/ODU Cruise

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