NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Pisces
April 5-18, 2018
Mission: SEAMAP Reef Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date: April 8, 2018
Weather Data from the Bridge
Lat: 29o 20.6309′ N Long: 087o 46.1490′ W
Air Temperature: 18.1oC (64.5oF)
Water Temperature: 22.29oC (72oF)
Wind speed: 10.81 knots (12.4 mph)
Conditions: cloudy, 1 to 2 ft seas
Science and Technology Log
The most important equipment on this mission are the camera arrays. Most of the data collected are dependent on these cameras. I mentioned in my last entry the two types of camera arrays used in this survey are the SatCam and the RIOT. The video taken from these camera arrays is stitched together in a five-panel single view. The videos are reviewed and each species that appears is counted and recorded. Images help the scientist determine the population of fish at a given site. The RIOT is a two-stacked spherical camera housing unit that contains 5 horizontal cameras and one upward facing camera. The RIOT is the more expensive of the two arrays, but it gives the scientist a greater ability to measure fish when they are captured in the dual videos.
Over the past few days, we have caught several species of fish on the bandit reels. We have caught red snapper, vermilion snapper, and red porgy. These lines have 10 baited hooks and they are dropped into the water on a randomly selected site. In order to obtain a proper sample of the fish, very little human interaction is made with the reel or the line. This leaves out any fisherman bias and allows for natural sampling of species on the site. The hook sizes are rotated with each drop. The hooks sizes are 8, 11, and 15. If reel 1 starts with size 8 hook, it will have size 11 on the next drop, and then 15 on the third. Each reel has a different rotating pattern. This allows each hook size to be in the water over the same site. The data will help determine if a certain hook type is favored by a species of fish.
My students will return to school tomorrow from spring break. I am a little sad I am not there with them. They wrote letters for me to read while I was away. I have read some of these already and they are pretty funny. I want to reassure them that I will not fall overboard and that I am eating well. I will answer student questions on the bottom of my blogs.
We are in the Gulf of Mexico about 70 to 80 miles offshore, on the Mississippi-Alabama Continental shelf. I have not been this far out in the gulf before today. It is pretty humbling to look out and just see blue water. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. You can’t always see them though. The weather has been pretty gloomy the last two days, so I was unable to see last night’s sunset or this morning’s sunrise. We had a storm yesterday followed by the much cooler weather today. I hope this is the only cold snap we get. I am not a fan of cold boat work.
Did You Know?
Turbidity is how cloudy the water is based on the suspended solids. The higher the turbidity the more sediment, algae and other solids are suspended in the water. Clear water has low turbidity.
Questions from students:
What is hydrography? The science that measures and describes the physical features of bodies of water and land close to these bodies of water. Multibeam echosounders are used to obtain hydrographic data.
New species that I have seen: Red Porgy: Pagrus pagrus
Vermilion Snapper: Rhomboplites aurorubens