Changes as we work to the south

30 August 2018

Good morning.

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.



Black sea bass larvae. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Harvey Walsh


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.

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Brown booby on the bow of the Gordon Gunter. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Harvey Walsh

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.



Cruise track of the summer EcoMon (yellow line) that started sampling in Block Island Sound (green circle) on August 22 and is currently off Chesapeake Bay (x).  The red dots show where the ship has stopped to conduct CTD and bongo tows.  The magenta dots show the location of the drifter buoy from 25-30 August 2018. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Harvey Walsh

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.

Harvey Walsh
Chief Scientist
GG18-04 Ecosystem Monitoring Survey

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