NOAA Teacher at Sea
Mary Anne Pella-Donnelly
Onboard NOAA Ship David Jordan Starr
September 8-22, 2008
Mission: Leatherback Use of Temperate Habitats (LUTH) Survey
Geographical Area: Pacific Ocean –San Francisco to San Diego
Date: September 18, 2008
Weather Data from the Bridge
Latitude: 3543.3896 N Longitude: 12408.3432 W
Wind Direction: 129 (compass reading) SE
Wind Speed: 7.8 knots
Surface Temperature: 17.545
Science and Technology Log
Today was an exciting one scientifically. The team has been examining all of the oceanographic data so far in order to pinpoint frontal edges for further data collection. They selected a point last night that might contain a biologically rich layer and hopefully, with jellies. After closely looking over every thing they have learned on this trip so far and plotting a destination to sample, we traveled to that station. We found an ocean water ‘river’ full of kelp, moon jellies, sea nettles and pelagic birds! It was exactly where the team predicted there might be a biotic stream!! This confirmed that offshore habitats can be found using oceanographic data and satellite imaging. There certainly were offshore areas that would give leatherbacks a chance to eat their fill. And through that period, the sun came up! With only a slight breeze, the flying deck was warm and relaxing. It put us all into excellent spirits.
A few days ago, the chief steward made a cake- there are daily baked goods offered in the mess hall. This cake, however, was decorated for the LUTH Survey with turtles, kelp and jellyfish! Today would have been another good day for that treat. It is also time to get some pictures with C.J. our school mascot. He was pretty happy to get out and see the ship. He even tried to help up on the flying bridge, but without thumbs, it was hard for him to enter in observation comments.
Animals Seen Today
Moon jellies Aurelia labiata, Sea nettle jellies Chrysaora fuscescens, Salps Salpida spp., Sea gooseberries Pleurobrachia bachei, Red phalaropes Phalaropus fulicaria, Cuvier’s beaked whales Ziphius cavirostris, Common dolphins Delphinus delphis, Blue sharks Prionace glauca, and Arctic terns Sterna paradisaea.
Questions of the Day
- What might be some oceanographic conditions that would create a water mass filled with kelp and jellyfish?
- What other organisms (than we observed) might be attracted to such a water mass?