NOAA Teacher at Sea
Preparing to Board SRV C.E Stillwell
July 13 – 17, 2015
Mission: Cooperative Atlantic States Shark Pupping and Nursery (COASTSPAN) survey
Geographical area of cruise: Delaware Bay
Date: July 12, 2015
My Name is Christopher Sanborn and I am a science teacher at Plymouth Regional High School (PRHS) in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Plymouth is considered the gateway to the beautiful White Mountains. I just finished up my 18th year teaching high school science. I feel extremely lucky to live and work in such a wonderful small town with so many outdoor opportunities. Numerous ski areas are located within a short distance of town as well as some of the most scenic hiking in the east. Plymouth is located in the Lakes Region of NH which includes the largest lake in NH, Lake Winnipesaukee and the beautiful Squam Lake. Having grown up in the outdoors I have always felt at home in the woods and mountains and have thoroughly enjoyed teaching Biology. I have also taught numerous other subjects including Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Oceanography.
I can think of no better way to increase my knowledge than to embark on one of the highest quality, hands on, scientific research survey’s. I became involved in the Teacher at Sea (TAS) program to not only increase my knowledge, but to gain valuable tools to enrich the educational experience of my students. The most important part of teaching is to engage students to increase active learning opportunities. I am hoping my experience on the COASTSPAN survey will allow me the valuable tools to excite those students about their learning opportunity.
I am so excited to work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on this COASTSPAN survey which is part of the Apex Predators Program (APP) through the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). The purpose of this survey is to determine the relative abundance and distribution of sharks in the Delaware Bay Pupping grounds. The survey also originally helped to determine the location of the shark pupping and nursing grounds. The primary method of sampling will be through longlining. A longline is a long main line with weights on either end to hold it on the bottom with a line to the surface marked by a high flyer or buoy. Baited hooks are attached to the main line using a snap swivel with a 5 foot gangion. Each gangion is spaced by approximately 10 feet. These lines are considered fixed gear because they do not flow with the current. Biological data is gathered from all sharks and rays that are caught, they are tagged with a unique identifier and then released.
Thank you NOAA for this great opportunity!