Spring Ecosystem Monitoring Cruise Underway

Dwarfed by two huge car carrying vessels at the busy port of Davisville, RI, the NOAA FSV Gordon Gunter slipped from her berth on Saturday, 21 May at 1400 hours for the start of the Spring Ecosystem Monitoring Survey.


Huge car-carrying ships shared the docks with the much smaller Gordon Gunter in Davisville, RI. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA Fisheries

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The Gordon Gunter passes under the Newport Bridge as it leaves Narragansett Bay to start the Spring Ecosystem Monitoring Survey. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA Fisheries

As is typical for these surveys, the primary mission will be to gather hydrographic and ichthyo- and zooplankton data from the continental shelf from Cape Hatteras to Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine, but there are secondary objectives for researchers from U. Maine, Princeton, URI and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).  They are traveling with us to gather information about the path of carbon and nitrogen isotopes from phyto- to zooplankton, nutrient levels at various parts of the continental shelf, and to gather imagery of protozoans and phytoplankton along our entire cruise track, using an Imaging FlowCytoBot which is plumbed into our Scientific Seawater System.

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Lauren Kitell-Porter from URI and Zach Topor from U.Maine repair a hose that will be used to wash plankton samples from the bongo nets.  It is their first time on a research cruise. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA Fisheries

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Researchers Jessica Lueders DuMont from Princeton and Bonnie Clarke from Woods Hole tie down sampling supplies before we put to sea. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA Fisheries

With a coastal storm traveling near the coast, we’ve had to alter our original cruise track to a more inshore route to allow us to keep working as we head south towards Cape Hatteras.  As a result, our first plankton tows have been largely the same, consisting mostly of copepods and chaetognaths (arrow worms), while the water column temperature and salinity profiles have shown well-mixed water columns with very little structure or layering.  This may change, however, with improving conditions as the coastal storm moves away from us to the east.  We are now heading further offshore from the southern coast of New Jersey.

Jerry Prezioso
Chief Scientist
GU1608 Ecosystem Monitoring Survey

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