Eating, Exercising, Assembling and …

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.

\making baked goods

Rocky's Cafe: Chief Steward John "Rocky" Rockwell, making baked goods for us while the ship waits at anchor. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NOAA)

Working off the baked goods

Bird observer Holly Goyert working off some baked goods on the Delaware II's new rowing machine. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NOAA)

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.

assembling a drifter buoy

The crew and scientists work together on the aft deck to assemble the drifter buoys to track the herring larvae. (Photo by Todd Wilson, NOAA)

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.

Drifter buoy launch

Launching a drifter buoy over the starboard rail of the Delaware II. (Photo by Rick Rozen, NOAA)

The deployed drifter buoy will remain with the water mass where the herring larvae were found for the next cruise to locate in December. (Photo by Cory Staryk, Old Dominion University)

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!

Jerry Prezioso
Chief Scientist
DE 11-09 EcoMon Survey

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