NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Albatross IV
July 31 – August 11, 2006
Mission: Sea Scallop Survey
Geographical Area: Northwest Atlantic
Date: August 2, 2006
Data: (collected mid-morning)
Air temperature = 17 C0 (62.6 F0 )
Water temperature = 15.5 C0 (60 F0)
Weather = sunny, windy
Depth of trawl = 45.4 meters (remember, a meter and a yard are pretty close)
Water salinity = 31.54 ppm
Wind speed = 13.52 knots
Science and Technology Log
Today we are sailing northeast of our sailing position yesterday. We are going to circle Georges Bank counterclockwise. Our dredges today were interesting. We continue to bring scallops in, but my watch team tells me there are more plentiful spots to come. At one site, we found so many sand dollars that I couldn’t believe my eyes. This particular species of sand dollar produces a very brilliant green colored pigment which stains everything (starfish, algae, fish and me!). I am learning to identify the many species of starfish that we bring in. One of my jobs is to count them at various sites by randomly selecting from the dredge material. At one site, I was counting hundreds of them. It’s amazing how well they can hide and are camouflaged in the algae. Many of the scallops have thick red layers of red algae on them (remember that red algae can grow at deeper depths because the red pigment can trap the minimal amount of sunlight needed for photosynthesis), and they also can be found carrying Porifera (sponges) on them which also helps them to be camouflaged.
I do love it out here. My inner ear and brain has adjusted to the perpetual motion of the boat. I have not had a problem with seasickness yet. It has helped that the weather has been nice. I am also doing well with the midnight to noon work schedule. It is a little funny to see the fog roll across the deck of the boat in the darkness of the night. Sunrise is my favorite time as the light changes how everything looks, especially the dredge samples, and it is nice to see the waves and the great expanse of the water.
Yesterdays invertebrate sample: Starfish (phylum = Echinodermata).