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.
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.
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.
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.