NOAA TEACHER AT SEA
ONBOARD NOAA SHIP OSCAR DYSON
JUNE 11 – JUNE 30, 2011
NOAA Teacher at Sea: Jason Moeller
Ship: Oscar Dyson
Mission: Walleye Pollock Survey
Geographic Location: Gulf of Alaska
Date: June 10, 2011
Welcome aboard, explorers!
For those of you who do not know me, my name is Jason Moeller, and I am the on-site coordinator of education at Knoxville Zoological Gardens. I teach the school groups, scouts, homeschool students, and student researchers who come to the Zoo to learn about the natural world.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, has invited me on board the Oscar Dyson, a research vessel that will be spending the next three weeks researching a fish known as the walleye pollock in Alaska’s Bering Sea. According to NOAA’s website, the pollock made up 56.3% of Alaska’s groundfish catch, easily making it the most caught fish in Alaska’s waters. Pollock is commonly found in imitation crabmeat as well as a variety of fast food fish sandwiches.
The crew of the Oscar Dyson will be studying the population of pollock over the course of the next three weeks. I will be working with Tammy Orilio (another teacher at sea) in processing the catch. Orientation will be on June 11th, and we will set sail on June 12th.
Today (June 10th), however, was mainly a travel day. After waking up at four in the morning, I caught a two-hour flight from Knoxville to Chicago, which was then followed by a six-hour flight to Anchorage. Finally, I had a forty-one minute flight from Anchorage to Kodiak. Cloud cover marred what would have been spectacular scenery, but there were some beautiful views from the aircraft otherwise.
After a quick look at the Oscar Dyson and dinner at the hotel, I went to explore the river running by our hotel. According to several fishermen, Sockeye Salmon are beginning their yearly run upriver. Grizzly Bears, though uncommon this time of year, are also occasionally spotted.
Unfortunately, I did not see bears or salmon, but I did see this track. While faded, it did look suspiciously like the mold of a track back at the zoo.
While I did not see any bears or salmon, I did get lucky in other regards. I saw a beautiful red fox, which moved too quickly to catch on film, and rabbits were in abundance. The scenery was also beautiful.
Science and Technology Log
The Science and Technology segment of this blog will begin after the Walleye Pollock Survey aboard the Oscar Dyson begins.
Reader Question(s) of the Day!
The reader question(s) of the day will also begin after the start of the Walleye Pollock Survey aboard the Oscar Dyson. Readers are encouraged to send questions to email@example.com. I will attempt to answer one or more questions in future posts.