A bright sunny, but windy Sunday morning finds the Delaware II slowly working its way southeast off the southern coast of Long Island. We completed the northern portion of this survey, and came through the Cape Cod Canal on Saturday night at 6 PM. We won our race against the weather and were able to continue working at offshore stations in the southern Gulf of Maine, including making rosette casts for water samples to measure dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity. Now that the front is over us, we’re in rough but more sheltered inshore waters and can continue working, although only transiting between stations at 8 knots.
Our plankton catches in the southern New England area have continued to be small, but we are starting to observe a few fish larvae that could be either herring or sand lance at stations just south of Block Island and Long Island. We also caught large numbers of shelled pteropods (planktonic snails) at one station in this region, and a couple of sea butterflies (Clione limacina), a shell-less variety, at another. Back in the Gulf of Maine region our bird observers spotted a huge flock of northern fulmars, (two hundred or more) feeding at what appeared to be a current-shear region just east of Georges Basin. These are some of the observations made since the last update.
We’ve been fortunate on this trip to have had calm, mild weather while at the northern part of the cruise track, so there has been rapid progress with little or no icing of the vessel from freezing spray. Today, with temperatures below freezing and strong winds, we are accumulating some ice, so that will be something to watch out for in the coming days. Hopefully this will be less of an issue as we proceed south. Our plan for the future is to continue working our way south along the inshore stations and move offshore as soon as the weather lets up. With about nine full days of time remaining on our schedule I think we stand a good chance of finishing this survey, which is a difficult thing to do at this time of the year. The long-term forecast looks promising. I’ll know better by our next update!
DE12-02 Winter Ecosystem Monitoring Survey