Retrieving the AMARs, Launching the Buoys

On May 29th, the Henry Bigelow reached the easternmost part of the survey area on the northeastern tip of Georges Bank. We are now continuing our coverage of Georges Bank and will venture into the Gulf of Maine next.

Survey Technician Geoff Shook lowers a transducer over the side to communicate with the submerged Autonomous Multi-channel Acoustic Recorder (AMAR) mooring. Photo by Jerry Prezioso NEFSC / NOAA.

Survey Technician Geoff Shook lowers a transducer over the side to communicate with the submerged Autonomous Multi-channel Acoustic Recorder (AMAR) mooring. Photo by Jerry Prezioso NEFSC / NOAA.

While working our way east along the southern flank of Georges Bank yesterday we made a stop at Lydonia Canyon to retrieve an Autonomous Multi-channel Acoustic Recorder (AMAR) mooring that had been deployed last summer to record whale sounds. With calm seas and sunny skies (but a fog bank on the horizon to add some drama) the retrieval went very smoothly. The ship pinged the recorder and received signals back indicating its distance from the ship. After maneuvering the ship closer to the mooring, a release signal was sent, and the recorder popped to the surface ten minutes later.

AMAR unit on the surface after being released from its mooring on the seafloor. The yellow container has part of the unit inside while the red floats are supporting another component beneath them. Photo by Jerry Prezioso NEFSC / NOAA.

AMAR unit on the surface after being released from its mooring on the seafloor. The yellow container has part of the unit inside while the red floats are supporting another component beneath them. Photo by Jerry Prezioso NEFSC / NOAA.

After being spotted by our sharp-eyed WHOI scientist Emily Peacock, the command and crew worked together to reposition the vessel and scoop the recorder unit and two glass buoyancy floats from the water. The entire process took no more than two hours.

Retrieval of the AMAR unit on the port side of the Henry Bigelow, Photo by Jerry Prezioso NEFSC / NOAA

Retrieval of the AMAR unit on the port side of the Henry Bigelow, Photo by Jerry Prezioso NEFSC / NOAA

This morning our NOAA Teacher-at-Sea, DJ Kast, launched two artistically decorated drifter buoys as part of the NOAA Global Drifter Buoy Program. Equipped with a thermistor, an ARGOS satellite tracking system, and a transmitter, the buoy will send out its location and water temperature for over a year (about 410 days) before its batteries die out. A cylindrical drogue attached to a surface float that the teacher and students decorated will cause the buoy to be moved about by surface currents, not wind gusts on the float.

NOAA Teacher-at-Sea DJ Kast deploying the St. Joseph School buoy while we are on the northeast peak of Georges Bank. Photo by Jerry Prezioso NEFSC / NOAA.

NOAA Teacher-at-Sea DJ Kast deploying the St. Joseph School buoy while we are on the northeast peak of Georges Bank. Photo by Jerry Prezioso NEFSC / NOAA.

Students from a variety of public schools associated with a University of Southern California program and one parochial school, St. Josephs in Fairhaven, MA, will be looking online to follow the progress of “their” buoys across the ocean!

t. Joseph Elementary School students decorating "their" NOAA buoy prior to the cruise. Photo by Harvey Walsh NEFSC / NOAA.

St. Joseph Elementary School students decorating “their” NOAA buoy prior to the cruise. Photo by Harvey Walsh NEFSC / NOAA.

While on the southern flank of Georges the catches were full of phytoplankton, but now on the northeast peak this has dropped off. The present catches are mostly calanoid copepods and some gelatinous zooplankton, mainly Pleurobranchia ctenophores and an assortment of salps. We are still seeing an occasional Phronima amphipod in its salp shelter too!

Our weather continues to be excellent which has been a real boon to our progress. We are currently heading for the shoal portion of Georges Bank before turning north to sample in the Gulf of Maine, which we will sample to the best of our ability in the time remaining.

Jerry Prezioso, chief scientist

HB1502 Ecosystem Monitoring Survey

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