NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard Research Vessel Hugh R. Sharp
June 8-19, 2009
Mission: Sea scallop survey
Geographical area of cruise: North Atlantic
Date: June 11, 2009
Weather Data from the Bridge
NE winds 15-20KT
Seas 4-8ft, cold front moving off land
Temperature at Sea 68˚F
Foggy with low visibility, light rain periodically
Science and Technology Log
The crew is busy collecting scallops. Occasionally between tows, the crew shuck scallops to eat onboard, this is allowable in open areas. A meal of freshly shucked scallops will be enjoyed by those onboard the ship. Shucking scallops is a skill that can be learned over several days. A long curved skinny knife is inserted between the shells and part of the scallop is cut away from the shell. With a little skill one more quick cut of the knife and all the inside parts of the scallop are whisked away leaving behind a cylinder shaped piece of white meat that is the part of the scallop enjoyed by people around the world.
Some dredges produced scallops exclusively, while others produce very few scallops and lots of starfishes or sand dollars. Scientists are trying to understand the dynamics between the starfish and scallop populations as well as other species. Getting rid or over fishing one species can have a profound effect on other species especially if that species is considered a keystone species in that particular environment.
The Research Vessel Hugh R. Sharp is one of the newer ships in the fleet of research vessels along the Atlantic coast. The ship is 146 feet long with state of the art equipment onboard to help it complete missions vital to ocean research. It cost about $14,000 dollars a day to keep the ship doing research while at sea. The ship is very versatile and has completed a varied amount of differing research cruises along the east coast of the United States. I am amazed at how quiet the ship is when running. I have been on two other research vessels, and they were much louder when underway. The Sharp has diesel engines that run electric motors making it run much quieter and smoother than other research ships. The ship will also turn on a dime usually it takes quite of bit of time and space to turn a ship around. This is not true on the Sharp it will turn very quickly due the bow thrusters onboard the ship. The ship may be smaller than many research vessels, however it is versatile and efficient when conducting research along the Atlantic coast.
The crew which are captained by Bill Byam are well trained and prepared for the task required of them to make sure the science is completed in a timely manner and efficiently for the scientist aboard. I have found working with the crew to be an enjoyable experience. The food onboard is superb, Paul is a great cook and prepares unique dishes for every meal and is also an avid fellow soccer fan.
Question of the Day
What and how do scallops eat to survive?
Name two predators of scallops.