Who Doesn’t Love a FlowCytoBot?

Today is October 20, one week and a day from when we set sail from Norfolk, VA, the Gordon Gunter has completed sampling at 61 stations across the mid-Atlantic Bight and Southern New England portions of this survey.

During this past weekend we had an excursion into the western Gulf of Maine up as far north as Jeffreys Ledge adding 12 samples to our total while we waited for a weather system to move off of Georges Bank.   Now, with improving weather we are heading east onto Georges and should arrive there early on Wednesday morning for the final phase of this cruise.

Plankton net coming onboard

Texas A & M student Joseph Losoya and crewman Dante Starks prepare to retrieve bongo net array aboard Gordon Gunter. Photo by Jerry Prezioso NOAA/NMFS

Our plankton samples have ranged from being heavily laden with phytoplankton at coastal stations off of New Jersey and Long Island to being more dominated by copepods and amphipods further north at the Gulf of Maine stations.  One sample taken at the Great South Channel was composed almost completely of chaetognaths or arrow-worms.

Scientist at computer tracking bongo net deployment

University of Maine researcher Maura Thomas talks to winch operator controlling a bongo net plankton tow while monitoring bottom depth, net depth, temperature, and salinities from her bank of monitors. Photo by Jerry Prezioso NOAA/NMFS

Scientist at computer screen sitting next to images equipment

Maura Thomas examines pictures from the Imaging FlowCytoBot Unit in a Gordon Gunter lab. Photo by Jerry Prezioso NOAA /NMFS

Photographs from our Imaging FlowCytoBot (IFCB) have proved useful in helping us to determine that the phytoplankton from off the coast of Barnegat Bay New Jersey consisted of several species of diatoms.

Black and white images of tiny cylinder-shaped plankton

Images of diatoms taken by the Imaging FlowCytoBot Unit off the coast of Barnegat, New Jersey. Image provided by Maura Thomas, University of Maine

Our most recent forecast indicates that Wednesday and Thursday will have the most favorable conditions on Georges Bank.  We are hoping to get as much of Georges Bank sampled before another weather system develops on Friday.

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