Diverse tows, and some unusual finds

The NOAA ship Pisces reached the sea buoy at the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal at 0630 this morning for a sunny but cold transition from the comparatively balmy Gulf of Maine to the waters off the Southern New England coast, now engulfed by a cold front that has crossed the country to meet us. We heard snow is in the forecast for some of this area on Friday!

We have been blessed by mild, calm conditions for much of our time in the Gulf of Maine, and consequently have been able to sample at every single planned station both there and on Georges Bank, a goal we are not often able to achieve at this time of year. We have now completed 74 bongo net plankton tows, 22 CTD rosette water casts, 14 Shallow-Water Mid-water Trawls, and 2 Isaacs-Kidd Midwater Trawls on the first half of this trip.

Cruise track for Pisces

Cruise track (red line represents completed portion) for the Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine sampling conducted by the NOAA vessel Pisces in the Gulf of Maine during the PC1405 Survey. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA

retuireiving a trawl net aboard ship

Shallow Water Mid-Water Trawl being retrieved after a tow. Photo by Harvey Walsh, NEFSC/NOAA

The catches from the Shallow-Water Mid-water Trawls have been pretty small for the most part, but diverse. Last night’s first tow yielded dogfish, butterfish, herring, red and silver hake and even a paper nautilus, which is a rarity in northern waters! The paper nautilus is doing quite well, and has even taken a turn in one of the respirometer chambers. Other oddities we have picked up from our tows include the pelagic larva of a witch flounder, a viperfish, a white barracudina, and a glacier lanternfish.

bristlemouth deepwater fish

A viperfish. Photo by Dan Vendettuoli, NEFSC/NOAA.

paper nautilus

Paper Nautilus. Photo by Dan Vendettuoli, NEFSC/NOAA.

witch folounder larva

Witch flounder pelagic larva. Photo by Rich Bell, NEFSC/NOAA

white barracudinba  and glacier lanternfish

White barracudina (top) and glacier lanternfish. Photo by Harvey Walsh, NEFSC/NOAA

As I am writing this we are approaching a station south of Block Island. We are planning to sample at 58 more stations from Southern New England down through the Mid-Atlantic Bight, and will try to get in as many as two mid-water trawls per day over the remaining seven working days we have left. Hopefully our good weather luck will continue! I will continue posting these updates with photos on the website nefsc.wordpress.com.

Jerry Prezioso
Chief Scientist
PC1405 NE Pelagic-Ecosystem Monitoring (EcoMon)Survey

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