A Valentine’s Day Gift: Fair weather and calm seas

Mother Nature’s gift to us on this Valentine’s Day is much milder, calmer weather than we’ve had for the past two days.  The winds and seas have come down so much that we’ve been able to move to our offshore stations and even deploy the rosette sampler to collect water for the DIC/Total Alkalinity and nutrient measurements out on the shelf slope in deep water.

A screen capture of our cruise track on the navigational software showing the Delaware II off of Delaware Bay at 4 am on Valentine's Day. (Photo by Cristina Bascunan, NEFSC/NOAA)

bongo nets deployed at night

Large and "baby" bongos being deployed simultaneously from the Delaware II. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

Our plankton catches are starting to show large variations as we move south and sample at different distances from the shelf edge.  Our last three samples varied from almost no plankton at the shelf edge near Tom’s Canyon 120 miles off the coast of New Jersey to large numbers of pteropods at a station 40 miles south of that one, to amphipods and algae at another station at the same latitude but further in on the shelf.  Interestingly, at the last station, amphipods were captured in our large 61 cm diameter 335 micron mesh nets, while a mass of dark green algae was caught by the fine mesh (165 micron) 20 cm diameter “baby” bongos that are piggy-backed above the large bongo sampler.  Our bird observers recorded the presence of hundreds of dovekies yesterday, and a few puffins, which are not often found this far south.

sample jars

Plankton samples collected simultaneously during the same tow by the baby bongos, and large bongos. The fine mesh net of the smaller bongo captures algae (left jar) which go right through the coarser mesh of the large bongo (right jar). Each net provides a sample of different sized organisms from the same area. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

bird observers

Bird observers Holly Goyert and Chris Vogel bundle up and take turns recording their sightings on a waterproof laptop on the flying bridge of the Delaware II. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

Now, just before sunrise the Delaware II is continuing on its southward track along the outer part of the shelf.  The calm mild weather is enabling us to make up for the time lost on Sunday and Monday and has also lifted the spirits of all on board, as they spend another Valentine’s day on an Ecosystem Monitoring cruise which always keeps us out here on this day.

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Jerry Prezioso
Chief Scientist
DE12-02 Winter EcoMon Survey

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