Salps Galore

We’ve covered a lot of ground since Monday night, thanks partly to excellent weather and to the crew and command familiarizing themselves with our operations.

We’ve made it to the northeast peak of Georges Bank, and are now, on Wednesday night, looping back onto its shoal area.  We should be done with Georges Bank by tomorrow afternoon and be working strictly in the Gulf of Maine for the next few days.  That portion of the cruise will involve our mapping initiative on the Schoodic Ridge, and in the Jordan and Wilkinson Basins.  We are also planning midwater trawls southeast of Grand Manan Island and off of Matinicus Rock to sample the fish that puffins are feeding on and feeding to their young.

During the past couple of days we’ve been sampling along the southern flank of Georges Bank.  Catches here were dominated by masses of salps, making it difficult to see anything else within the samples.  The salps dropped off in volume as we approached the northeast peak of Georges and were replaced by Calanus copepods on our last station which was in the Gulf of Maine.  Our next stations will be along the northern flank and shoal area of Georges Bank and it will be interesting to see how much, if at all, the species composition changes from the southern portion.

net typing class

Students Liwei Zhu, Jenna Martyn-Fisher and Patrick Bedsole learning to tie off the cod-ends of bongo plankton nets. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA

jar of salps

Jenna Martyn-Fisher holding a jar chock-full of salps from a plankton tow along the southern edge of Georges Bank. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA

sive with salps

Liwei Zhu holding a sieve containing a plankton sample not dominated by salps. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA

eel larva

Eel larva 11 mm long, (about 4 1/2 inches) captured in bongo net. Photo by Jenna Martyn-Fisher

Our student volunteers have been a great help with the sample collection process.  Their help is especially appreciated where samples are closely spaced, as sometimes happens with the stratified random sampling design.  So far we have sampled at 37 stations, and there are a lot of questions from them on what we’ve been catching!  This is an excellent way for students to get some hands-on experience in field work and I’m glad we’ve been able to offer this opportunity to so many of them through the Ecomon cruises.

Jerry Prezioso
Chief Scientist
EX 1305 August EcoMon Survey

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