Bongos, Batman and rosettes

Since our last update on Thursday (August 9) the Henry Bigelow has made considerable progress along its cruise track.  Early Saturday morning we reached the southernmost point of this survey and now are looping back to the north, picking up our inshore stations from the Middle Atlantic Bight Region.  We hit our first real weather on Friday night when winds and seas reduced our progress to 5 knots and less for awhile, but the crew and scientists were able to keep working, albeit at a slower pace, deploying both bongo nets and rosettes.  The only equipment we did not use was a hand-deployed submersible radiometer and CTD unit, dubbed “Batman” by the crew owing to its black color and futuristic shape.  Now, on Saturday afternoon, the weather is much improved and we are soon to be engaged in an “everything” station, where all our gear; bongo nets, “Batman” and the rosette, will be deployed sequentially in that order before sunset.


"Batman" , a submersible radiometer

The submersible radiometer, dubbed “Batman” by the crew due to its black finish and futuristic shape, is hand deployed by NASA scientist Scott Freeman. He is measuring light penetration from the surface and light reflecting upwards from the seafloor with this device. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

Batman data

NASA scientist Dirk Aurin is receiving the data from the submersible radiometer in real time while the laptop computer in front of him is comparing the light measured from beneath the sea surface to that measured by a device mounted on the ship’s superstructure. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

To date we have completed 44 stations.  Of these 20 have involved rosette operations, the remainder were plankton tows.  Three of the plankton stations involved comparative tows between bongo samplers of different sizes and a six-foot wide Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawl.  Betsy Broughton has observed a number of fish larvae from the Sciaenidae family which includes Atlantic Croaker and Spot.  These were seen in plankton tows taken as we were heading south, well offshore from the coasts of New Jersey and Delaware.   I’ve noticed a number of ribbed medusae of about 8 to 12 cm in diameter in offshore stations further south, off the coast of Virginia.

ribbed medusa

A large ribbed medusa, several centimeters in diameter, one of many captured by our plankton nets off the coast of Virginia. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

With the improving weather we should be able to complete sampling operations in the Mid-Atlantic Bight sometime on Monday, leaving us adequate time to sample the northern portions of this survey on Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine.  The Bigelow has been able to make 11-12 knots in calm seas, and all the scientific equipment (there is a lot of it on this trip!) is functioning well.  The crew, command and scientists have gotten into a routine now, integrating sometimes unscheduled stops for sunrise, noon and sunset rosettes for our NASA and ODU colleagues into the pre-determined station pattern.  With roughly about one hundred and twenty stations left, we are making a good start on this survey!

Jerry Prezioso
Chief Scientist
EcoMon/CliVEC Survey HB 12-05

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