30 August 2018
We are on our last full day at sea for the summer EcoMon. We’ve sailed from Fire Island, New York to just north of Chesapeake Bay since my last update. We completed all CTD and bongo stations in the Southern New England region and have finished over half the Mid-Atlantic Bight region. That’s 19 CTDs and 65 bongos so far on the cruise. The plankton community has changed as we moved south. We are seeing black sea bass, windowpane, and goby larvae in some of the plankton samples.
Martha Loizeaux, our teacher-at-sea, from the Ocean Studies Charter School in Tavernier, Florida, released a satellite drifter buoy from NOAA’s Global Drifter Program on the shelf-break of southeastern Georges Bank. She decorated the drifter with the names of the school’s classrooms; sea stars, dolphins, rays, and sharks. She and her students will be tracking the drifter and discussing its movements as part of her curriculum on currents.
We have continued to have decent weather for radiometry work. Skies have been clear, but as you all on shore realize the humidity has made things a little hazy at times. The observers have had fewer sightings than on Georges Bank, but have seen some fin whales, dolphins, a brown booby (that used the ship as a perch for almost a day), and flying fish that were accompanied by some large mats of sargassum. They also reported seeing large slicks of yellow “pollen” that are mostly likely Trichodesmium, a filamentous cyanobacteria that is sometime called sea sawdust.
The plan for today is to work our way offshore towards the shelf-break conducting bongo tows and radiometry casts. At some point we will need to head back towards Chesapeake Bay to dock in Norfolk Friday morning. Friday will be spent packing gear for shipment back to Narragansett so we hopefully can make it home for the Labor Day weekend.
GG18-04 Ecosystem Monitoring Survey