Becky Moylan: Preliminary Results, July 13, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Becky Moylan
Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette
July 1 — 14, 2011


Mission: IEA (Integrated Ecosystem Assessment)
Geographical Area: Kona Region of Hawaii
Captain: Kurt Dreflak
Science Director: Samuel G. Pooley, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist: Evan A. Howell
Date: July 13, 2011

Ship Data

Latitude 1940.29N
Longitude 15602.84W
Speed 5 knots
Course 228.2
Wind Speed 9.5 knots
Wind Dir. 180.30
Surf. Water Temp. 25.5C
Surf. Water Sal. 34.85
Air Temperature 24.8 C
Relative Humidity 76.00 %
Barometric Pres. 1013.73 mb
Water Depth 791.50 Meters

Science and Technology Log

Results of Research

Myctophid fish and non-Myctophid fish, Crustaceans, and gelatinous (jelly-like) zooplankton

Crustaceans

Chief Scientist guiding the CTD into the ocean

Chief Scientist guiding the CTD into the ocean

Beginning on July 1st, the NOAA Integrated Ecosystem Assessment project (IEA) in the Kona region has performed scientific Oceanography operations at eight stations.  These stations form two transects (areas) with one being offshore and one being close to shore. As of July 5th, there have been 9 CTD (temperature, depth and salinity) readings, 7 mid-water trawls (fish catches), over 15 acoustics (sound waves) recordings, and 30 hours of marine mammal (dolphins and whales) observations.

The University of Hawaii Ocean Sea Glider has been recording its data also.The acoustics data matches the trawl data to tell us there was more mass (fish) in the close to shore area than the offshore area. And more mass in the northern area than the south. This is evidence that the acoustics system is accurate because what it showed on the computer matched what was actually caught in the net. The fish were separated by hand into categories: Myctophid fish and non-Myctophid fish, Crustaceans, and gelatinous (jelly-like) zooplankton.

Variety of Non-Myctophid Fish caught in the trawl

Variety of Non-Myctophid Fish caught in the trawl

The CTD data also shows that there are changes as you go north and closer to shore. One of the CTD water sample tests being done tells us the amount of phytoplankton (plant) in different areas. Phytoplankton creates energy by making chlorophyll and this chlorophyll is the base of the food chain. It is measured by looking at its fluorescence level. Myctophids eat phytoplankton, therefore, counting the amount of myctophids helps create a picture of how the ecosystem is working.

The data showed us more Chlorophyll levels in the closer to shore northern areas . Phytoplankton creates energy using photosynthesis (Photo = light, synthesis  = put together) and is the base of the food chain. Chlorophyll-a is an important pigment in photosynthesis and is common to all phytoplankton. If we can measure the amount of chlorophyll-a in the water we can understand how much phytoplankton is there. We measure chlorophyll-a by using fluorescence, which sends out light of one “color” to phytoplankton, which then send back light of a different color to our fluorometer (sensor used to measure fluorescence). Myctophids eat zooplankton, which in turn eat phytoplankton. Therefore, counting the amount of myctophids helps create a picture of how the ecosystem is working.   The data showed us more chlorophyll-a levels in the closer to shore northern areas.

Bringing in the catch

The Sea Glider SG513 has transmitted data for 27 dives so far, and will continue to take samples until October when it will be picked up and returned to UH.

Overall the mammal observations spotted 3 Striped dolphins, 1 Bottlenose dolphin, and 3 Pigmy killer whales.  Two biopsy “skin” samples were collected from the Bottlenose dolphins. A main part of their research, however, is done with photos. They have so far collected over 900 pictures.

Looking at all the results so far, we see that there is an area close to shore in the northern region of Kona that has a higher concentration of marine life.  The question now is why?

We are now heading south to evaluate another region so that we can get a picture of the whole Eastern coastline.

Personal Log

In the driver's seat

In the driver's seat

Krill

Krill

And on deck the next morning we found all kinds of krill, a type of crustacean. Krill are an important part of the food chain that feed directly on phytoplankton. Larger marine animals feed on krill including whales. It was a fun process finding new types of fish and trying to identify them.Last night I found a beautiful orange and white trumpet fish. We also saw many transparent (see-through) fish with some having bright silver and gold sections. There were transparent crabs, all sizes of squid, and small clear eels. One fish I saw looked like it had a zipper along the bottom of it, so I called it a “zipperfish”. A live Pigmy shark was in the net, so they put it in a bucket of water for everyone to see. These types don’t ever get very big, less than a foot long.

I have really enjoyed living on this ship, and it will be sad to leave. Everyone treated me like I was part of the group. I have learned so much about NOAA and the ecosystem of the Kona coastline which will make my lessons more interesting this year. Maybe the students won’t be bored!

Sunrise over Kona Region

Sunrise

Sunrise

Becky Moylan: Careers on the Ship, July 11, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Becky Moylan
Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette
July 1 — 14, 2011


Mission: IEA (Integrated Ecosystem Assessment)
Geographical Area: Kona Region of Hawaii
Captain: Kurt Dreflak
Science Director: Samuel G. Pooley, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist: Evan A. Howell
Date: July 11, 2011

Ship Data

Latitude 1940.29N
Longitude 15602.84W
Speed 5 knots
Course 228.2
Wind Speed 9.5 knots
Wind Dir. 180.30
Surf. Water Temp. 25.5C
Surf. Water Sal. 34.85
Air Temperature 24.8 C
Relative Humidity 76.00 %
Barometric Pres. 1013.73 mb
Water Depth 791.50 Meters
Deputy Director of the Pacific Islands Science Center (NOAA): Mike

Deputy Director of the Pacific Islands Science Center (NOAA): Mike

Deputy Director of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (NOAA): Mike Seki

Duty: I oversee all operations at the Pacific Islands Science Center. That includes all operation: four research divisions, administration and information technology, science operations. Under science operations the Science Center has about 30 small boats (12 to 30 feet) and the Oscar Elton Sette ship (224 feet) to support the mission…

What do you like about the job?  It allows me to see how it all comes together; all facets of the science and how we accomplish our mission.

Experience/ Education: I have BS in biology and have worked with NOAA for 31 years. While working, I went back to school to get my masters and PHD.  In today’s world, to be credible, you really need to have an education. Most of our research scientists have a PHD.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job? Trying to do what we can with limited resources. We have to prioritize and that involves making tough decisions.

Captain (CO) Commanding Officer: LCDR Kurt Dreflak, NOAA

Captain (CO) Commanding Officer: LCDR Kurt Dreflak, NOAA

Captain (CO) Commanding Officer: LCDR Kurt Dreflak, NOAA

Duty: I have responsibility for the whole ship; safety, operations, moral, everything.

What do you like about the job?  I like it best when everyone works together and all the pieces fall into place. We get a chance to see things most people don’t. It‘s a unique opportunity that we shouldn’t take for granted.

Experience/ Education: I obtained a BS in geosystems in environmental management, worked as a geologist at an environmental consulting firm, and have forked for NOAA for 12 years.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job?

There are things you don’t have any control over.

Executive Officer (XO): Chief Mate Richard (Pat) Patana

Executive Officer (XO): Chief Mate Richard (Pat) Patana

Executive Officer (XO): Chief Mate Richard (Pat) Patana

Duty: Second in command after Commanding Officer. I do the administrative work for the ship.

What do you like about the job? I like the NOAA mission, and the job pays well.

Experience/ Education: I am a licensed Captain. I am from Alaska and used to be a commercial long line fisherman in Alaska, Canada, and the West Coast catching shrimp, halibut, and salmon. Then I worked with charter fishing boats.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job?

The administrative duties.

LCDR (Lieutenant Commander) Hung Tran, USPHS

LCDR (Lieutenant Commander) Hung Tran, USPHS

LCDR (Lieutenant Commander): Hung Tran, USPHS

LCDR (Lieutenant Commander): Hung Tran, USPHS

Duty: Medical officer- Emergency medical care on the ship.

I actually work for the United States Public Health Service.

What do you like about the job?  Meeting new people

Experience/ Education: Eight years of schooling in Chicago, IL. I use to work for the Bureau of Prisons in Honolulu.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job? The ship is kind of like a “mini-jail”. We are out to sea for long periods and you can’t go anywhere. The confinement can be hard.

What is the most common reason for seeing the doctor at sea?  Sea sickness and headaches.

 

Field Operations officer (OPS): LT Colin Little, NOAA

Field Operations officer (OPS): LT Colin Little, NOAA

Field Operations officer (OPS): LT  Colin Little, NOAA

Duty: A liaison between scientists and command officer (CO)

What do you like about the job? I was trained as a scientist, so I like to use that background to better understand where the scientists are coming from and what they want to do, then use the information to relay it to the Captain (CO).

Experience/ Education: I have a BA in biology and a Masters in evolutionary biology.  I have worked my way up to this position by doing various jobs. I work onshore and on the ship at sea. We get transferred every few years, so I will be going to Oregon next.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job?Being away from home.

Navigation Officer: LTJG Mike Marino, NOAA

Navigation Officer: LTJG Mike Marino, NOAA

Scientists:

Chief Scientist: Evan

Chief Scientist: Evan

Chief Scientist: Evan Howell

Duty: Directs the operations of the scientists, coordinates activities working with the OPS to make sure the bridge understands what the scientists are trying to accomplish, and writes report on progress.

What do you like about the job?  Although it is tough while we’re going through the process of gathering data, to me it is very satisfying in the end to have something that people can use to further studies of the ecosystem.

Experience /Education:  I have a PHD; however, I didn’t have it when I began the job with NOAA. What’s important for this position is to be able to organize all the different studies, communicate with the scientists and know when to push or back off. You need to be able to see the “big picture” of the project and keep it going forward.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job? It is kind of like a juggling act keeping everything going smoothly. There are so many activities happening at the same time, it is sometimes very challenging.

 

Research Fishery Biologist: Donald

Research Fishery Biologist: Donald

Research Fishery Biologist: Donald

Duty: Research projects dealing with oceanography. (For example; protected species, turtles and larval transports). On this cruise, I am helping lead the midwater trawling operations.

What do you like about the job?  The variety. You don’t get bored with one thing. I tend to get bored working on just one thing at a time.

Experience/ Education:  I got my masters in biological oceanography, went to work at NOAA, and then went back to school for my PHD.

Can you explain the hardest part your job?  Short deadlines and not enough time.

PhD Students

PHD Students: Both up nights supervising the trawls, organizing, recording data, and writing reports.

Johanna: She is working on her PHD through UH in oceanography. Johanna has been working closely with Donald researching larval transport.

John: He is also working on his PHD in preparative biology through the Museum of Natural History in New York. His specialty is studying mictophids.

Scientist (on ship)/Science Operation Lead (on land): Noriko

Scientist (on ship)/Science Operation Lead (on land): Noriko

 

Scientist (on ship)/Science Operation Lead (on land): Noriko

Duty: My primary duty is to serve as the PIFSC Vessel Coordinator, and to oversee the science portion of the NOAA Marine Natural Monuments Program. My group also handles permits, and makes sure our internal programs are properly in compliance with NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act- 1969. On the ship I am working acoustics.

What do you like about the job?  Overseeing a great team of people that help PIFSC scientists go out into the field to conduct important research.

Experience/Education:  I got my BS degree, became a survey technician, and then went back to school for my masters in environmental management.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job?  Coordinating with people outside of our structure can be challenging. We work with the US Fish and Wildlife, the State of Hawaii, Guam and Samoa, the Marianas, and other sections of NOAA.

Stewards

Stewards (Clementine, Jay, and Jeff)

Stewards

Stewards (Clementine, Jay, and Jeff)

What do you like about the job?

Chief Steward: Clementine: My passion is cooking. So I enjoy my job. I can put any kind of food I want out here. The sky’s the limit!

2nd Cook: Jay: I love being on the ocean and living in Hawaii. And I enjoy working with Clementine who is a native of Samoa. She teaches me about Polynesian and Asian cuisine.

Experience/Education:

Clementine:  I used to run my own business in America Samoa. It was a catering business called Mai Sei Aute which means “my hibiscus flower” in Samoan. I catered to a private school named Pacific Horizon, with 130 students and did all the work myself; cooking, delivering, and cleaning. The way I got this job is a long story.  I started out on the ship called Ka’imimoana. My husband heard one of the cooks left, so I flew over to Hawaii and was working two weeks later. Then I moved over to the OES seven years later.

Jay: I’m from Rhode Island and graduated from Johnson and Wales University where I earned a BS in culinary arts.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job?

Long hours! We work 12-14 hours a day while at sea with no days off.  If we are at sea 30 days, we work 30 days. Another thing is you don’t always have your own room. Sometimes you share with another person.

Deck and Engineering Departments

Harry

Harry

Chief Engineer: Harry

Duty: I am responsible for the engineering department on board the ship. That includes the engine room, hydraulic, electric, all the equipment, and the propulsion plant that keeps the ship underway.

What do you like about the job?

It is a “hands on” type of job, and I enjoy repairing equipment.

Experience/ Education:

I spent 22 years in the Navy and obtained my Chief Engineer License through the Coast Guard.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job?

Finding good qualified people is difficult. You can delegate the work, but not the responsibility. So if the employee I hire doesn’t do the job, I am responsible for getting it done.

Chief Boatswain: Kenji

Chief Boatswain: Kenji

Skilled Fisherman: Bruce

Skilled Fisherman: Bruce

Lead Fisherman: Doug

Lead Fisherman: Doug

Chief Boatswain: Kenji

Duty: Supervise the deck department

What do you like about the job? When everything runs smoothly

Education/Experience: I’ve worked for NOAA 24 years. Before that I was a commercial fisherman on an AKU Sampan.

Explain the hardest part of your job:  Rough seas make the work more difficult and dangerous.

What do you like about the job?

Bruce: Everything! I like working with the machines, the science, helping the environment, and the people. I like NOAA’s mission. And my boss; he’s the best boss I ever had. He has patience with us.

Ray: I love everything about my job. I like the fact that I am at sea and learn things every day and meet new people all the time. The science part of it opens up a whole new world to me. It is something that I wish everyone could experience.

Phil: I agree with NOAA’s mission of ocean management and conservation. This ship, in particular, is a nice place to work because of the people.

 Mills: Fishing

Fisherman: Ray

Fisherman: Ray

General Vessel Assistant: Phil

General Vessel Assistant: Phil

Experience/ Education:

Bruce: I have worked for NOAA for 10 years. Before that, I was a long line fisherman; mostly AHI. I also worked construction with heavy equipment.

Ray: I was in the Navy when I was young. Then I attended Prince George Community College in Maryland and Rets Electronic School in New Jersey. I had my own electronics business.  NOAA sends us to different places for training; for example Mitags (Maritime Institute of technology and graduate studies).

James

James

Skilled Fisherman: Mills

Skilled Fisherman: Mills

Phil: I have worked real estate appraisal for 20 plus years.  I used to have my own real estate appraisal business in Honolulu, worked for a bank doing appraisals, and also for the city and state. Right before this job, I worked on an import ship. Then I was trained by NOAA at the Hawaii Maritime Institute. They trained me on firefighting, lifesaving, and construction of ships, lookouts, and also personal responsibility.

Mills: I went to high school and college in South Carolina to get a degree in marine technology. Then I worked in Alaska for salmon hatcheries. I moved back to South Carolina and worked for the SCDNR (Dept. of Natural Resources). Five years ago, NOAA called me and asked if I could go to Dutch Harbor in two weeks, and I’ve been with them ever since. I started out working in the hydrographic side of things.

Mills

2nd Engineer Neil

Can you explain the hardest part of your job?

Bruce: Nothing really. I like my job.

Ray: Dealing with negativity issues and people conflicts.

Phil: I would say it has to be adjusting to the schedules. We don’t have a regular 8 hour on, 8 hour off schedule. It varies.

Mills: The hardest part is being away from the world; people, the social life. But then that is the best part of it also.

Coxswain: small boat operator

Coxswain: small boat operator

Coxswain: small boat operator: Jamie

Duty: I’m in charge of the Boating Safety Program and Instructor of Boating Courses for the scientific staff and I help the Pacific Science Center with research boats. There are 24 small boats.

What do you like about the job?: Being on the water and driving the boats

Experience/ Education: I received a degree in marine biology at UC Santa Cruz. Then I began doing field projects and became known to NOAA.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job?  Doing the certificates for boating courses along with paperwork and record keeping is my least favorite part of the job.

ET: Electronic Technician: Ricardo

ET: Electronic Technician: Ricardo

ET: Electronic Technician: Ricardo

Duty: I’m in charge of all the electronics, information technology, navigational system, communication system, sensors, and computer network.

What do you like about the job? I enjoy it when I get a chance to help others, like the time I was called ashore to help some people on a small island. I also like that I have a partner to share the job with. We switch every two months (onshore/offshore).  I am glad to be able to travel, the pay is good, and I like accomplishing things that make the ship look good.

Experience/ Education: I did not go to college, and barely finished high school. Then I joined the Air Force.  There is only one tech person, and that is me.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job? Climbing the mast where the antennas are and writing weekly reports are things I could glad give to someone else.

Research Oceanographer:  Reka Domokos

Research Oceanographer: Reka Domokos

Research Oceanographer:  Reka Domokos

Duty: Works as an active acoustician for NOAA at the Pacific Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu.

What do you like about the job?

I like that in my job there is always something new, so I am always learning.  I like to look at the big picture to see how the different components of an ecosystem fit together and influence each other.  I like formulating hypotheses, and then test them to see if they hold.  I am also detail oriented so I enjoy writing computer scripts for my data analyses.  In addition, I like contributing to the “collective knowledge” by writing articles that summarized and describe my research and results.

Experience /Education:

I have a Ph.D. in physical oceanography. I attended Berkley for a BS in zoology, then UH Manoa for a masters in zoology and a masters in physical oceanography.  I also earned my Ph.D. at UH Manoa where I taught graduate courses in Zoology and Oceanography before working with NOAA.  I believe that sometimes more experience can be substituted for education when applying for a job.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job?

Sitting in an office everyday can sometimes be hard, but spending a month, or sometimes more, a year at sea and going to conferences help to break the monotony.  I also have to take care of administrative duties as part of my job which is necessary but not enjoyable for me.


Aimee

Aimee

Aimee: This is a special case. Aimee was a previous Hollings Scholar who now works at the University of Michigan and is on the ship working co-op with NOAA in the acoustics department. She lives in Michigan and got her degree in Marine Science Biology, but would like to stay in Hawaii. Before boarding the ship she was researching wind farms and fish. She collects data so that they can see if the underwater wind turbines will affect the fish .

Survey Technician: Stephanie

Survey Technician: Stephanie

Survey Technician: Stephanie

Duty: Responsible for data collection from shipboard oceanographic sensors; CTD deployment and retrieval, water filtering for chlorophyll-a samples

What do you like about the job? I like the simple life on the ship. There are no roads with traffic and you don’t have to carry around your wallet or keys.

Experience/Education: I have my bachelor’s degree, and plan on going back to school this fall. I have worked for NOAA for two and a half years.

 

Mammal Research Observers: Allan and Jessica

Mammal Research Observers: Allan and Jessica

Mammal Research Observers: Allan and Jessica

Mammal Observation-So far we have taken over 2700 photos and several tissue samples for researching dolphins and whales.

Allan: What do you like about the job?  I like being on the water and getting paid for it at the same time.

Allan and Jessica

Allan and Jessica

Experience/ Education: I earned my engineering degree, but didn’t use it.  I began volunteering for whale watching and doing volunteer work for the University of Hawaii coral reef research. I have lived in Hawaii for 14 years, but recently started spending half of my year in Montana, so that I can experience the four seasons.                                                                                                     

Dolphin

Dolphin

Can you explain the hardest part of your job? The toughest thing is not finding any dolphin or whale species. It makes a long day. If the water is rough, it is harder to see them. The best condition to spot them in is when it is smooth and calm.

Jessica: What do you like about the job?  I love small boats, being on the water, and finding less frequently seen species.

Experience/ Education: I attended Hawaii Pacific University and have a master’s in marine science. Right now I’m working a one year position for NOAA called the NIMB Fellowship.

Can you explain the hardest part of your job?  The same thing Allan said, coming home without seeing anything is disappointing.

Students:

 Laura

Laura

Laura: She is attending Stanford University as a senior, majoring in Earth Systems with an emphasis on Oceanography. It includes a wide range of classes, and she has had very interesting traveling experiences while learning. Right now on the OES, she is doing an internship working with the CTD process. This is a paid job with NOAA. Laura’s past experiences include sailing around Cape Cod, a trip to Australia for a Study Abroad Program, and a five-week trip to the Line Islands South of Hawaii. Her plan is to go to school a fifth year to earn a master’s degree while also working in the field.

Nikki

Nikki

Nikki: After this cruise, Nikki will have 82 days at sea under her belt. She started going out during high school in New Jersey. Her charter school had a vessel. Right now she is in the Hollings Scholar Program through NOAA. She applied and received a two year scholarship for her junior and senior year of college. She is attending the University of Miami. And when she finishes that, she has a conditional acceptance to attend RASMAS (University of Miami Science Grad School) where she wants to get her masters in Aquaculture.

Jonathan

Jonathan

Jonathan: Miami is Jonathan’s home and he is also in the Hollings Scholar Program. He is a senior majoring in Marine Science Chemistry. He would like to attend grad school, but needs to make up his mind what area to study because it becomes very specialized. His two choices are ocean acidification or biofuels. After the cruise he will be going to Washington DC to present what he has learned.

Meagan

Meagan

Meagan: She lives in Honolulu and attends University of Hawaii.  In December she will obtain her degree in Marine Biology. She has been employed with NOAA since Nov. 2010 working at the Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center with data collected around the N.Pacific Transition Zone. On this cruise she is helping with the acoustics.  Meagan also works at the Waikiki Aquarium educating others about marine life. She hopes to continue with NOAA and educating the public about conserving and protecting the ocean.

 

UH Marine Research Technician: Jennie Mowatt—

-Preparation and deployment of the Ocean Glider SG513

Becky Moylan: Acoustics and Trawling, July 5, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Becky Moylan
Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette
July 1 — 14, 2011


Mission: IEA (Integrated Ecosystem Assessment)
Geographical Area: Kona Region of Hawaii
Captain: Kurt Dreflak
Science Director: Samuel G. Pooley, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist: Evan A. Howell
Date: July 5, 2011

Ship Data

Latitude 1940.29N
Longitude 15602.84W
Speed 5 knots
Course 228.2
Wind Speed 9.5 knots
Wind Dir. 180.30
Surf. Water Temp. 25.5C
Surf. Water Sal. 34.85
Air Temperature 24.8 C
Relative Humidity 76.00 %
Barometric Pres. 1013.73 mb
 Water Depth 791.50 Meters

July 5, 2011

Science and Technology Log

Work is going on 24 hours here on the ship. The crew have different shifts, so nothing ever stops. It may be 3:00 in the morning, and you’ll see people sorting fish, filtering water, or working the acoustics table.


Acoustics Computer Screen

Acoustics Computer Screen

To improve the accuracy of identifying what organisms are seen on the acoustic system, Sette researchers collect samples from the scattering layers at night using a large trawl net towed from the ship.One important part of the research here is using the acoustic system to find where groups of fish and other organisms are located. This is done with a “ping”, or noise, sent down in the ocean. The sound waves bounce back when they find something, letting scientists know where, and sometimes what, is swimming underneath. Computers keep data on all the different sound waves showing patterns of fish movement. They have found that some groups move upward during the nighttime, and then move back down during the day.

Cookie Cutter Shark

Cookie Cutter Shark

Trawl Net

Trawl Net

Every night on the ship, there is at least one trawl. The method of trawling started back in the 1400’s. Some people use these nets to catch large amounts of fish to sell, and that has been an environmental concern. NOAA is using this method as a scientific sampling, or survey, method to try and help the environment. They are trawling in the Epipalagic Zone (mid to shallow) which is around 200 meters deep, depending on the total depth at location and where the acoustics pick up signals.

Scientists want to find out the status of the smaller life in order to try and predict the outcome of the larger life. Only a small amount is caught for sampling. They weigh, sort, count, and study them. The goal is to be aware of what is happening in this area of the ocean. Some of the species they have found are different types of shrimp, squid, Myctopids, small crabs, and jellies. Last night they wound up with two Cookie Cutter Sharks. These results will then be combined with the measured acoustic data in order to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of acoustic monitoring.

Examining a Trawl Catch

Examining a Trawl Catch

Puffer Fish

Puffer Fish

One scientist from New York, Johnathan, is looking for specific species of Myctopids. He studies them under the microscope and records detailed data found. The Myctopids are sometimes called Lantern Fish. This is because they have organs that produce light. The lights are thought to be a way of communicating with other fish and also as a camouflage. As mentioned earlier, some fish rise to shallower waters at night and the Myctopid is one of these. The reason might be to avoid predators, yet also to follow zooplankton which they feed upon.


Personal Log

Abandon Ship Suits

Abandon Ship Suits

Last night some of us went out on deck to watch the Kona fireworks. I didn’t realize how far out we were until I saw how tiny the little ball of colors appeared. You could see three different areas along the coast where they were shooting off fireworks. As a fourth of July treat, the cooks barbecued on deck and made special deserts. I especially liked the sweet potato pie.

This morning I was out at 6am preparing the CTD for deployment. It is getting easier each time. There are many precautions and steps to make sure the procedure is done correctly and safely. We could only drop it to 200 meters today because this area is shallower here. I watched and learned how to control the computer from the inside. Very impressive!

CTD Screens

CTD Screens

I’m wondering when the ship is going to have another “abandon ship drill”. That’s when we all carry our floatation suits to the upstairs deck and put them on, and it is not easy to do. You lay the suit down, sit on it, and put your legs in first. Then you stand up, pull the suit hood on, then lastly the arms. This is because the hands don’t have fingers. It is quite a funny sight.

I found out today that the 3am trawl ended up with only one fish because a Cookie Cutter Shark had eaten a round hole in the net. This is where they get their name. They always bite a round hole. Some have even eaten a hole out of humans!

Becky Moylan: July 2, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Becky Moylan
Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette
July 1 — 14, 2011

Mission: IEA (Integrated Ecosystem Assessment)
Geographical Area: Kona Region of Hawaii
Captain: Kurt Dreflak
Science Director: Samuel G. Pooley, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist: Evan A. Howell
Date: July 2, 2011

Science and Technology Log

Life of all sizes

Glider in Water

Glider in Water

Today I woke up late because the ship rocked me back to sleep many times. When I stumbled out of the berth, people were busy working. They had already released a seaglider that is owned by the University of Hawaii. This is a machine that looks kind of like an airplane. It collects information about the ocean and relays it back to land via satellite.

Glider for CTD

Glider

It goes down, collects data, comes back up to send data to land, then goes back down again for more data, and on and on. The glider is collecting information on ocean temperature, salinity, and phytoplankton (through fluorescence). There is also a hydrophone attached which is “passive” acoustics. This means that the hydrophone can hear sounds, but does not “actively” send out a signal. With passive acoustics they can hear cetacean sounds, and can possibly identify species, but would have less luck understanding *where* the animals were.

Everyday samples of ocean water are taken. This is done using a CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth) machine. It is cast off several times a day. The CTD is dropped into the ocean using a crane and winch. It is sent down to 1,000 meters, and water is collected at specific depths between 200 meters and the surface. Most of the biological signal they see is in the upper 200 meters of the water, which is roughly the depth of the Euphotic (or Sunlit) Zone.

CTD Ready to launch in the water

CTD Ready to launch

The CTD is attached to the ship’s computers with wire inside a cable. It sends signals to the computers so the scientist can keep track of the where it is, and “fire” one bottle (Niskin Bottles) at a time. This means closing the bottle’s lid so it can hold the water it has collected. After each  one is fired, the water from all the different depths is lifted to the surface and collected for sampling. Scientists then filter the seawater to get a concentrated sample of phytoplankton cells using a small round piece of paper. These filters are put in a liquid called acetone and kept cold (-20 degrees celsius) for 24 hours and then fluorescence levels are measured in the lab. This gives them an idea of how much phytoplankton is located at different depths. Other samples are put in liquid nitrogen, and sent back to the  University of Hawaii where they will use specialized equipment (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) to identify the types of phytoplankton.

Cetacean Crew

Cetacean Crew

Another group of scientists went out on a small boat to look for cetaceans (Spinner dolphins and False Killer whales). They will be taking pictures and collecting samples of the mammal’s “skin” to test it for various reasons. These can tell them what the dolphins are eating and where they are eating. Scientists look at their genetics to help them determine the amount of dolphin species and how different groups are related to each other. Today they were able to see striped dolphins which are very beautiful and not as easy to find.

Sample organisms form the trawl

Sample organisms form the trawl

There are also trawl operations at certain places called stations. This is where the ship releases a net and scoops up small organisms for studying. We saw a lot of shrimp, squid, and fish called Myctophids. They were weighed, sorted by types, and counted.

Personal Log

It has been an exciting day! There are many different activities going on at the same time, so I am glad my time onboard will be two weeks. I have met scientists, student interns, and employees of NOAA. Everyone works together on the ship whether they are from New York, Florida, California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, or Hawaii. Eating in the galley is like going to grandma’s house for dinner. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures when I hope to learn more about the acoustic operations and how they are tracking fish.

Filtering ocean water for photoplankton

Filtering ocean water for photoplankton

Myctophid (Lantern Fish): common in the area

Myctophid (Lantern Fish): common in the area

Becky Moylan: Beginning a New Adventure, July 1, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Becky Moylan
Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette
July 1 — 14, 2011

Mission: IEA (Integrated Ecosystem Assessment)
Geographical Area: Kona Region of Hawaii
Captain: Kurt Dreflak
Science Director: Samuel G. Pooleye, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist: Evan A. Howell
Date: July 1, 2011

Loving the ocean by paddling

Loving the ocean by paddling

Personal Log
My name is Becky Moylan and I am a teacher at Central Middle School in Honolulu, HI, where I teach 8th grade Earth Science.  NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) , through its Teacher at Sea Program, is allowing me to join them on their research ship, the Oscar Elton Sette, to see exactly what they are doing and how they are doing it and to participate in the science being conducted.  We will be leaving on July 1, 2011 to study an area of the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii. I’m excited to be a part of this endeavor and will be returning home to Honolulu with important knowledge to pass on to my students.

jellyfish in ocean

Jellyfish

The oceans run our world.  A lot of people don’t realize just how important oceans are to our survival. The oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. They contain 99% of the living space on earth! Without this space for organisms to survive, there would be at least five fewer phyla of animals on Earth.

Human impacts on the ocean can upset Earth’s biodiversity, which in turn upsets our survival.  More than 90% of the trade between countries is carried out by ships and about half the communications between nations use underwater cables.  The oceans also interact and affect our weather and atmosphere.  Without the ocean currents, Earth’s processes would come to a standstill and die.

Three Penguins Standing

Three Penguins Standing

Oceans are the most unexplored area of Earth with endless possibilities. Less than 10% of this space has been explored.  It is said that the oceans contain nearly 20 million tons of gold.  Unexplored plant and animal life could possibly contribute to our health and our way of life.  As we know, this precious part of our environment is being polluted, and 80% of ocean pollution is coming from land-based activities.

Ocean research is uncovering knowledge about the interior of our planet and how it was formed, discovering how we are harming it, and what needs to be done to save it.