Friday, May 27:
By noontime today we completed 61 stations and are now heading towards the eastern portion of the southern New England area, prior to heading onto Georges Bank, weather permitting. With a favorable forecast for the next few days it seems possible that we will be able to survey much of Georges Bank before returning to port in Davisville, Rhode Island, leaving the next leg of the cruise to concentrate mostly on the Gulf of Maine, the largest of the continental shelf areas that we cover.
GU1608 cruise progress as of Friday, May 27. Image provided by Paula Fratantoni, NEFSC/NOAA Fisheries
Recent plankton catches have been normal for this location and time of year, consisting of mostly copepods, some chaetognaths (arrow worms), and a fair number of hyperiid amphipods in some of the samples. The hyperiids are very distinctive, with large compound eyes that cover their entire head, and a very tenacious habit of clinging to the plankton net meshes, making them difficult to wash out!
Hyperiid amphipod from one of our recent plankton tows. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA Fisheries
Our Imaging FlowCytoBot, provided by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and tended by URI student Lauren Kittell-Porter, has been taking photos of the smaller organisms that would slip through the meshes of our plankton nets. She has recorded an extensive number of images of dinoflagellates over the last several days.
Lauren Kittell-Porter monitoring images coming from the cylindrical Imaging FlowCytoBot unit on her right. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA Fisheries
These tiny organisms, although considered phyto or plant plankton due to their ability to photosynthesize with their onboard chloroplasts, are also motile due to the two flagella they are constantly whipping around, allowing them to move through the water, although still at the mercy of currents. The images captured by the Imaging FlowCytoBot are very clear and detailed, and are taken from water pumped to the instrument from a couple of meters below the surface, at an intake near the bow of the vessel.
Images of dinoflagellates recorded by the Imaging FlowCytoBot. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA Fisheries
To celebrate the upcoming holiday weekend, we had our second round of safety drills today. Everyone has learned their duty stations for fire, abandon ship and man overboard situations. Now, with drills completed, we can relax and just concentrate on our normal 12-hour days out here!
The scientists and crew don their flotation gear for Friday’s Memorial Day Weekend safety drill. Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA Fisheries
Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!
GU1608 Ecosystem Monitoring Survey