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 11, 2018
Weather Data from the Bridge
Lat: 29° 54.7331′ N Long: 087° 12.1562′ W
Air Temperature: 22.5°C (72.5°F)
Water Temperature: 21.29°C (70°F)
Wind speed: 5.8 knots (6.7mph)
Conditions: blue sky, flat seas
Science and Technology Log
This week I have learned a lot about the reef fish studied in this SEAMAP survey. I have learned how to weigh the fish and take various length measurements. I have also learned how to examine the gonads and distinguish a male from a female. I can now properly remove the otolith bones from the otic capsule that is located at the base of the fish’s skull.
We have had some unusual catches that have provided great learning experiences as well. The bandit reel caught a sharksucker on the line as it returned. This fish belongs to the Remora family. It attaches to sharks and other marine animals. This was a really unusual creature to observe.
The camera arrays had fireworms hitch a ride to the deck from the bottom of the gulf. These guys look like large spikey caterpillars. They have venom in their bristles that can cause a painful sting.
Today was a beautiful day. The water is such a beautiful blue. The sky was cloudless last night so I finally got to look at the stars. The night sky seems much more vast and bright away from the light pollution on land. The stars are amazingly bright. I am enjoying life on the ship but I do miss home. I have a greater respect for those that work away from home for long periods of time. Teamwork and a positive attitude seem to be the lifeblood of this NOAA vessel and that makes it much easier to adjust.
Did You Know?
Many birds will often land on the vessel to rest during their migration route across the Gulf of Mexico.
Waves transmit energy, not water.
Questions from students:
Why do scientists need to know what types of fish are on the reef?
It is important to manage and maintain the reef fish species because they are often over-fished.