NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson
July 23 – August 11, 2012
- Mission: Alaskan Pollock Mid-water Acoustic Survey
Geographical Area: Bering Sea
Date: September 1, 2012
Latitude: N 26° 03.476′
Longitude: W 080° 20.920′
Weather Data from home
Wind Speed: 7.8 knots (9 mph)
Wind Direction: East
Wave Height: 2 ft
Surface Water Temperature: 28.9°C (84°F)
Air Temperature: 30°C (86 °F)
Barometric Pressure: 1016 millibars ( 1 atm)
Science and Technology Log:
Below are the numbers that Johanna (my fellow Teacher at Sea) put together at the end of our mission.
We completed 44 hauls in our leg of the survey and caught approximately 118,474 pollock. All of those pollock weighed a collective 24,979.92 kg (= 25 tons)! Last year’s official total allowable catch (called a quota) for all commercial fishermen in Alaska was 1.17 million tons!
So, we only caught 25 tons/ 1,170,000 tons = 0.00002 = 0.002% of the yearly catch in our study.
The estimated population of pollock in the Bering Sea is 10 million tons (10,000,000 T). This means we caught only 0.00025% of the entire pollock population!
So, as you can see, in the big picture, our sampling for scientific analysis is quite TINY!
Continuing with more cool pollock data…
- We identified 7,276 males and 7,145 females (and 2,219 were left unsexed)
- We measured 16,640 pollock lengths on the Ichthystick!
- Pollock lengths ranged from 9cm to 74cm
- We measured 260 lengths of non-pollock species (mostly jellyfish, pacific herring, and pacific cod)
- We collected 1,029 otoliths for analysis
After two full days of travel including a long red-eye flight across country, I am back in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. I had the most incredible experience as a NOAA Teacher at Sea on the Oscar Dyson! The trip was absolutely amazing! Here are some parting shots taken on my last day in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
In closing, I would like to thank a few people. The NOAA Corps officers and deck crew are wonderful and do a great job running a tight ship. I would like to thank them all for keeping me safe, warm, dry, and well fed while out at sea. They all made me feel right at home.
The NOAA scientists Taina, Kresimir, Rick and Darin did a fabulous job patiently explaining the science occurring onboard and I appreciate them letting me become a part of the team! I loved immersing myself back in the practice of real scientific inquiry and research!
I would like to thank the NOAA Teacher at Sea program for allowing me to take part in this incredible research experience for teachers! Teachers and students in my district are very excited to hear about my experiences and I look forward to continuing to share with them about NOAA Teacher at Sea! Sign me up, and I’d be happy to “set sail” with NOAA again.
Finally, I would like to thank my readers. I truly enjoyed sharing my experiences with you and hope that, through my blog, you were able to experience a bit of the Bering Sea with me.