NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
October 8 – 22, 2018
Mission: SEAMAP Fall Groundfish Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date: October 21, 2018
Weather Data from the Bridge
Latitude: 029 23.89 N
Longitude 094 14.260 W
Barometric Pressure 1022.22mbar
Air Temperature: 69 degrees F
The isness of things is well worth studying; but it is their whyness that makes life worth living.
– William Beebe
Science and Technology Log
Today is our last day at sea and we have currently completed 53 stations! At each station we send out the CTD. CTD stands for Conductivity, Temperature and Depth. However, this device measures much more than that. During this mission we are looking at 4 parameters: temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen and fluorescence which can be used to measure the productivity of an area based on photosynthetic organisms.
Once the CTD is deployed, it is held at the surface for three minutes. During this time, 4,320 scans are completed! However, this data, which is used to acclimate the system, is discarded from the information that is collected for this station.
Next, the CTD is slowly lowered through the water until it is about 1 meter from the bottom. In about 30 meters of water this round trip takes about 5 minutes during which the CTD conducts 241 scans every 10 seconds for a grand total of approximately 7,230 scans collected at each station.
Our CTD scans have gathered the expected data but during the summer months the CTD has found areas of hypoxia off the coast of Louisiana and Texas.
The gloomy weather has made the last few days of the voyage tricky. Wind and rough seas have made sleeping and working difficult. Plus, I have missed my morning visits with dolphins at the bow of the ship due to the poor weather. But seeing the dark blue water and big waves has added to the adventure of the trip.
We have had some interesting catches including one that weighed over 800 pounds and was mostly jellyfish. Some of the catches are filled with heavy mud while others a very clean. Some have lots of shells or debris. I am pleasantly surprised to see that even though I notice the occasional plastic bottle floating by, there has not been much human litter included in our catches. I am constantly amazed by the diversity in each haul. There are species that we see at just about every station and there are others that we have only seen once or twice during the whole trip.
I am thrilled to have had the experience of being a NOAA Teacher at Sea and I am excited to bring what I have learned back to the classroom to share with my students.
Bonus points for the first student in each class to send me the correct answer!
These are Calico Crabs, but this little one has something growing on it? What is it?
Did you know…
That you can tell the gender of a flat fish by holding it up to the light?
Today’s Shout Out!
Kudos to all of my students who followed along, answered the challenge questions, played species BINGO, and plotted my course! You made this adventure even more enjoyable! See you soon 🙂