NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard R/V Walton Smith
December 11-15, 2011
Mission: South Florida Bimonthly Regional Survey
Geographical Area: South Florida Coast and Gulf of Mexico
Date: December 13, 2011
Weather Data from the Bridge
Air Temperature: 23.5 degrees C
Wind Speed: 15 kt
Relative Humidity: 68%
Science and Technology Log
Last night, we deployed our first drifter. There will be three deployed over the course of this cruise. The frame of this drifter is built by the scientists at AOML (Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory). Afterwards, they attach a satellite transmitter so they can track where the drifter goes. This helps them measure the surface currents.
What are some other types of research being conducted onboard? I’m glad you asked! Two NOAA researchers, Lindsey and Rachel, are studying water chemistry and chlorophyll. They take samples of surface water from the CTD to study CO2 and the full carbonate profile. They also use water collected at many different depths to study the chlorophyll content. Chlorophyll is an indicator of the amount of phytoplankton in the water.
Sharein, a PhD student at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, is studying a specific type of plankton called copepods.
The particular copepod that she is studying is food for the larval stages of some commercially important species of fish such as bill fish (which include blue marlin, sail fish, white tuna, and yellowfin tuna) and different species of reef fish. If a species is commercially important, it means that many people depend on this particular fish for their livelihoods.
Do you think you would be interested in working at sea? You would be a good candidate if you:
1) Like meeting new people and working as part of a team
2) Are interested in the ocean, weather, and/or atmosphere
3) Don’t mind getting your feet wet
When we were on our way to the Tortugas, we didn’t have cell service and the TV in the galley had no signal. It was nice to be disconnected for a while. Although there are still 29 computers onboard which all have the internet, so we’re hardly off the grid!
It was hard at first to adjust to the night shift, but everyone onboard was really supportive. Working the night shift means that you work from 7pm to 7am.
Species seen last night in the Neuston net:
Different kinds of sea grasses and sargassum