Bruce Taterka, July 11, 2010

NOAA Teacher at Sea: Bruce Taterka
NOAA Ship: Oregon II

Mission: SEAMAP Summer Groundfish Survey
Geographical Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date: Sunday July 11, 2010

Sorting the Catch

Weather Data from the Bridge

Time: 0730 (7:30 am)
Position: Latitude 28.18.6 N; Longitude 95.19.4 W
Present Weather: party cloudy
Visibility: 10 nautical miles
Wind Speed: 12.35 knots
Wave Height: 2 feet
Sea Water Temp: 28.9 C
Air Temperature: Dry bulb = 29.1 C; Wet bulb = 25.4 C
Barometric Pressure: 1014.30 mb


Science and Technology Log

Kim and I have blogged about some of the tools we use aboard the Oregon II like FSCS, CTD, Bongos and the Neuston. But what, you ask, are some other tools we use that are not high tech?

Me with a shovel
Me with a shovel

Believe it or not, shovels, baskets and trays are important tools on the ground fish survey. When a catch comes in the net is held by a crane and emptied into baskets, but a lot flops out onto the deck. We use shovels to pick up the rest. In the wet lab we use small shovels to move the catch along and trays to sort the organisms by species.(Check out the video below!) When it comes to identification paperback field guides and laminated posters can help with ID.

Once we sort the catch, certain species have to be prepared and saved for research.Some specimens go to university scientists. For example, we bag and freeze specimens of batfish for an ongoing research study.

Slantbrow batfish, Ogcocephalaus declivirostris

For food species like shrimp and red snapper, we bag specimens to go to NSIL (National Seafood Inspection Lab). This is especially important now because of the oil spill –seafood samples are being tested to determine what parts of the Gulf can be opened to commercial fishing. Samples from leg I of the Groundfish Survey are going to be sensory tested, or “sniff” tested. For this test we have to wrap the specimens in foil to contain any scents so that the ‘sniff testers’ (people trained to pick up petroleum scent at an amazing 100 ppm) can identify if petroleum products are present. For leg II the focus is on chemical sampling for petroleum. However, protocols can change daily when you are sampling during a disaster. Here’s a link to a recent news story on testing the fish we’re catching and sending to the lab:


Personal Log:


We’ve been seeing lots of cool stuff. Yesterday we were trailed by a school of sharks for most of the day.


Here's a shark circling our CTD.
Here’s a shark circling our CTD.

We also caught a large Roughtail Stingray, Dasyatis centroura, in our trawl.

Roughtail Stingray, Dasyatis centroura
Roughtail Stingray, Dasyatis centroura

He swam away feeling fine.

Stingray swimming
Stingray swimming


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