A lot has happened since last Thursday (November 10). We were overtaken by a low pressure system while in the southern New England area and spent 24 hours anchored south of Martha’s Vineyard, from Friday morning until Saturday morning.
We followed a high pressure system out onto Georges Bank after completing sampling operations south of Nantucket Shoals. We are currently working our way eastward along the southern flank of Georges Bank before the next low comes upon us Monday night.
Plankton catches have been exceedingly light with very little biomass, and almost no fish larvae at all with the exception of one herring larva each in a couple of the stations on the southwest corner of Georges. That changed, however, at a station on the southern flank of Georges Bank, further east and in 75 meters (about 245 feet) of water, where we obtained eight very young (they were only about 10-12 mm long) herring larvae in one of the two nets on the bongo frame. We marked this parcel of water with three drifter buoys provided to us by Jim Manning, as a potential area to sample for the next cruise.
The idea here is that the buoys will drift along with the larvae and indicate where the currents will take them on Georges Bank. The buoys, which appear rather low-tech, are made from wooden two by fours, with four plastic vanes, some weight near the bottom and a GPS unit mounted on the top, supported by small floats. Given to us partially assembled to save space, they were quickly put together by the crew and scientists and deployed where the herring were found. The next cruise will be able to follow their locations by consulting a website to which the buoys upload their positions.
We have not made any rosette casts since leaving the Martha’s Vineyard anchorage due to the large seas remaining from the last low, but we’re hopeful that conditions will improve sufficiently by tomorrow morning to resume this operation. Our respite from high winds and seas may be short-lived, so we are hoping to complete most of our Georges Bank sampling before the next low is upon us!
DE 11-09 EcoMon Survey