Ups and Downs

This Labor Day morning finds us 35 nautical miles from the coast of Maine, still surrounded by some fog, but not as thick as it was closer to the coast.

We’ve completed two Isaacs Kidd midwater trawls since the last update.  One was in the vicinity of Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy, and the second near Matinicus Rock off the coast of Maine.  Both were carried out with extreme difficulty, due to the large amount of fixed gear in these areas and the heavy fog which greatly reduced the visibility during each tow.  Nevertheless the command and crew worked with us to get these tows done.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get the results we had hoped for, which was to obtain quantities of fish that puffins in the area might be feeding on.  In the Grand Manan site we didn’t get any fish at all, despite making a twenty-minute tow.  At Matinicus Rock we caught three fish: two myctophids (lantern fish) each forty-seven mm long and one herring or sand lance larva that was twenty-seven mm long.  These fish were frozen for analysis ashore.

trawl net retrieval

Isaacs Kidd Midwater Trawl being retrieved onto the Okeanos Explorer. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/ NOAA

trawl catch

Catch from Isaacs Kidd Midwater Trawl tow near Matinicus Rock. Note the two shiny lantern fish in the sieve. There was also a third larval fish in the sieve, but it  is not visible in this photo. The objects that appear like clear glass marbles are comb jellies. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA

We fared better in terms of acoustically mapping the Schoodic Ridge area.  After several passes back and forth across this region, our mapping specialist, Mashkoor Malik, got the multibeam software to reveal a bottom topography even more complex than the Jordan Basin area, with canyons and large rises on the sea floor.

image o Schoodic Ridge seafloor

Video image of the Schoodic Ridge sea floor topography as revealed by the multi-beam acoustic sensors aboard the Okeanos Explorer. Image provided by Mashkoor Malik, OER/NOAA

I have given short shrift to discussions of marine birds and mammals sighted by our observers Nick Metheny and Glen Davis, on this cruise, so I am closing this update with a synopsis they’ve provided of their observations.  The next NEFSC Field Science website ( https://nefsc.wordpress.com/ ) update will include one of their photos, plus an image of Schoodic Ridge bottom topography.

Jerry Prezioso
Chief Scientist
EX1305 EcoMon Survey

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