Lacee Sherman: Teacher With Fish Scales in Her Hair, June 22, 2018

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Lacee Sherman

Aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson

June 6 – 28, 2018

Mission: Eastern Bering Sea Pollock Acoustic Trawl Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Eastern Bering Sea

Date:  June 22, 2018

rain gear

TAS Lacee Sherman getting in rain gear to process a haul

Weather Data from the Bridge at 19:00 on 6/24

Latitude: 56° 0.7 N

Longitude: 169° 34.5 W

Sea Wave Height: 3-4 ft

Wind Speed: 16 knots

Wind Direction:107° (E)

Visibility: 10 nmi

Air Temperature: 8.1°C

Water Temperature: 7.7° C

Sky: Overcast

Science and Technology Log

With this blog, I will be focusing on the biodiversity in the Eastern Bering Sea. Biodiversity includes all of the different types of plant and animal species in a given environment. All of the species that I will be discussing I’ve seen come up in the trawl net, or have seen from the ship.

Adult Walleye Pollock

Adult Walleye Pollock

Common Name: Walleye Pollock

Scientific Name: Gadus chalcogrammus

Identifying Features: 3 Dorsal Fins, large eyes

Ecological Importance: Polllock influence the euphausiid populations and are food to many larger marine species, and humans.

Interesting Facts:  Walleye pollock produces the largest catch by volume of any single species inhabiting the 200-mile U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.

 

 

Common Name: Krill

Scientific Name:  Euphausiidae (Family)

Identifying Features:  1-2 centimeters in length on average.  They look similar to very small shrimp, and often swim in schools.

Ecological Importance:  Krill are a very important food source for many fish and also larger marine mammals such as whales.

Interesting Facts:  They are filter feeders and eat zooplankton and phytoplankton, which makes them omnivores.

Chrysaora melanaster

Chrysaora melanaster

Common Name:  Northern Sea Nettle, Brown Jellyfish

Scientific Name: Chrysaora melanaster

Identifying Features: 16 lines from the center of the bell to the outer edges of the bell.  Large range in sizes, from very small to very large.

Interesting Facts:  Jellyfish may become a problem for the Bering Sea in the future because they reproduce in large numbers and they can dominate an entire environment easily.

Pacific Ocean Perch

Pacific Ocean Perch

Common Name: Pacific Ocean Perch

Scientific Name: Sebastes alutus

Identifying Features: Bright to light red with brown blotches dorsally near fins, large spines on dorsal and anal fins, knob on lower jaw

Ecological Importance: delicious

Interesting Facts: Pacific Ocean Perch are a type of Rockfish.  Pacific Ocean Perch have a swim bladder similar to that of pollock, so they reflect similar acoustic signals and can sometimes be acoustically confused for pollock if no sample is taken in a specific area.

Yellowfin Sole

Yellowfin Sole

Common Name: Yellowfin Sole

Scientific Name: Limanda aspera

Identifying Features: Black line between body and dorsal and ventral fins, fins may appear yellow in color

Ecological Importance: Yellowfin sole are benthic (live and feed on the ocean floor).

Interesting Facts: Yellowfin sole grow slowly and may be 10.5 years old by the time they reach 30 cm in length.

Magister Armhook Squid

Magister Armhook Squid

Common Name: Magister Armhook Squid

Scientific Name: Berryteuthis magister

Identifying Features: 8 tentacles and two larger feeding arms, dark red in color, but white when damaged

Ecological Importance: Prey on fishes and other squid

Interesting Facts: These are the most abundant squid found in the waters of Alaska.

Chum Salmon

Chum Salmon on the conveyer belt with pollock

Common Name: Chum Salmon

Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus keta

Identifying Features: Metallic dark blue on the top and silvery on the sides

Ecological Importance:  Chum Salmon have adapted to live in saltwater and freshwater.  They mainly eat copepods, fishes, squid, mollusks and tunicates.

Interesting Facts:  Chum salmon eggs are hatched in freshwater rivers and streams.  They then travel downstream to live most of their life in the ocean.  When it is time, Chum Salmon spawn (reproduce) in the same freshwater stream they hatched in.  Once a salmon spawns, they die.

Pacific Herring

Pacific Herring

Common Name:  Pacific Herring

Scientific Name:  Clupea pallasii

Identifying Features: Large scales that are shiny silver along the sides and shiny blue along the top of the fish.  Tail has a fork and there is only one dorsal fin.

Ecological Importance: Eat phytoplankton and zooplankton.  Herring and their eggs are eaten by fish, birds, marine mammals, and humans.

Interesting Facts: Herring eggs (roe) are considered a traditional delicacy in Japan called kazunoko.

Yellow Irish Lord

Yellow Irish Lord

Common Name: Yellow Irish Lord

Scientific NameHemilepidotus jordani

Identifying Features: Yellowish tan to dark brown, white to yellow bottom, and yellow gill membranes

Ecological Importance: Since they are usually found close the ocean floor, they regularly eat things like fish eggs, isopods and amphipods, worms, and small fishes.

Interesting Facts: There is another species of Sculpin that is similar called a Red Irish Lord.

Fish Lab Gloves

A photo of our fish lab gloves

 

Personal Log

During our hauls, a member of the science team is needed on the bridge to watch for the presence of marine mammals and endangered bird species.  I am one of the people that gets to do this, and I must admit, there is a slight conflict of interest.  I, of course, want to see all of the marine mammals possible, but if they are nearby during a haul, we are required to give them space until they pass so that they are not injured in any way by the ship.  This can definitely slow down the process of hauling if we see them, but of course I don’t mind it if I get to see more whales.  Most of the time I don’t see any marine mammals and just end up enjoying a beautiful view of the open ocean.

I am definitely feeling more comfortable and at home on the ship now. Constant motion from the swells is the new normal, and the creaks and sounds of the ship are a new soundtrack to listen to (on repeat). Sometimes I like to push the limits and see how far forward or backward I can lean during larger swells to maintain balance and have a few superhero moments as I pretend to defy the laws of physics.

I’m getting to know more about the other people on the ship every day and it’s nice to get into a rhythm and start to really work well together and have a good flow, especially in the fish lab. If we are motivated to finish before meal times, we can process a good haul of Pollock in around 45 minutes. That is much quicker than we started at, and it’s because we have really learned how to capitalize on each other’s strengths and just being willing to do whatever job is needed in the lab, even if it is not our favorite task.

Scientists in the Fish Lab

Some of the science team in the fish lab. (left to right) TAS Lacee Sherman, Darin Jones, Sarah Stienessen, Denise McKelvey, Matthew Phillips, and Mike Levine

I have claimed a workspace in “the cave” (acoustics lab) that is perfectly in the way of the phone when it rings, but it’s usually quiet in there and I can focus on these blogs, reading, or planning for next school year. I’ve also been reading the transcripts to a ton of TED talks when we don’t have access to the internet.

Did You Know?

In Alaska, during the summer, they experience what is called “the midnight sun”. It is rarely ever dark enough to see the stars during the summer.  This happens because of how far north it is!

Midnight Sun

This photo was taken just after midnight on 6/21/18 (summer solstice).

 

Bonus!  Cool Photo time!

Cam Trawl image

Cam Trawl image of pollock and pacific ocean perch. Can you tell the difference?

Bird on the fish table

This bird flew into the table where the fish are held before being processed. It was just hoping for a free meal, but ended up getting stuck. After realizing it couldn’t get out on its own, a survey technician helped to get it out and back on its way.

Watertight door

The black bars on the sides of the doors hold it shut and are controlled by the black lever on the left of the photo. Talk about a tough door!

 

 

References:

Alaska Fisheries Science Center. “Yellowfin Sole Research.” NOAA Fisheries, 25 Oct. 2004, http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/species/yellowfin_sole.php.
“Crustaceans.” Crustaceans , Marine Education Society of Austrailasia, 2015, http://www.mesa.edu.au/crustaceans/crustaceans07.asp.
“Facts.” Facts | Pacific Herring, http://www.pacificherring.org/facts.
Jorgensen, Elaina M. Field Guide to Squids and Octopods of the Eastern North Pacific and Bering Sea. Alaska Sea Grant College Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2009.
Mecklenburg, Catherine W., et al. Fishes of Alaska. American Fisheries Society, 2002.
NOAA. “Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus Keta).” NOAA Fisheries, 21 Jan. 2015, http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/chum-salmon.html.
TenBrink, Todd & W Buckley, Troy. (2013). Life-History Aspects of the Yellow Irish Lord ( Hemilepidotus jordani ) in the Eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. Northwestern Naturalist. 94. 126-136. 10.1898/12-33.1.

Mary Murrian: NOAA, Science, Education, and the Bering Sea! July 20, 2014

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Mary Murrian

Aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson

July 4 – 22, 2013

Mission: Annual Walleye Pollock Survey

Geographical Area of Cruise: Bering Sea South of Russia

Date: July 20, 2014

Weather Data from the Bridge

Wind Speed: 15.11 kt

Air Temperature: 9.5 degrees Celsius

Barometric Pressure: 1016.9

Latitude: 5717.3530 N

Longitude: 17317.1393 W

Almost 70 cm long pollock.  That's big!

Almost 70 cm long pollock. That’s big!

Science and Technology Log:

CamTrawl

Kresimir in the Acoustics Lab

Kresimir in the Acoustics Lab

Kresimir Williams, one of the scientists on board the Oscar Dyson, has been with NOAA for over ten years.  He is a Fisheries Biologist.  He was born in Switzerland and moved to Yugoslavia, now Croatia, a year and half later.  Kresimir has always loved fish ever since he was a little boy.  He as many as ten aquariums in his house growing up.  He moved to the United States when he was 17 years old.  His mother is from Croatia, and his dad is from the United States.  Kresimir received his bachelor’s degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama with a degree in Biology and Marine Science.  He received his Master’s degree from Auburn University, in Alabama with a degree in Aquaculture Fisheries.  He continued his education at the University of Washington, where he earned his PhD in fisheries and aquatic sciences.  He currently lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.  Kresimir current interests include integrating new technologies into marine surveys.

Cam trawl attached to trawl net

Cam trawl attached to trawl net

Trawl net with cam trawl attached being deployed to fish

Trawl net with camtrawl attached being deployed to fish

He is a fisheries biologist for NOAA and works on fishery surveys investigating new technology to make the survey process more accurate and effective.  Kresimir, along with fellow scientists Rick Towler and Scott McEntire, invented the camtrawl.  The camtrawl is made up of two small industrial cameras, protected by water proof, pressure resistant housing.  The cameras are attached to the trawl nets when deployed for fishing.  The cameras continuously take pictures (about eight pictures per second) in the net.  It photographs the animals as they swim through the net.

Picture from cam trawl of a lamprey

Picture from camtrawl of a lamprey

Cam trawl picture of a rockfish

Camtrawl picture of a rockfish

When the camtrawl is returned to the ship, the pictures can be downloaded for observation.  Using two cameras in stereo, allows scientists, to accurately length the fish they observe.  Looking at an object from two different perspectives allows you to see how far away an object is.  If you close one eye and look at an object, it is harder to tell how far it is away, however, if you use both eyes you have better depth-perception.  How will seeing the fish inside the net, in the ocean, help with the surveying process?  The camtrawl will make the process more efficient and save time.  Fewer people will be needed to conduct the surveys therefore reducing cost. It uses a non-lethal method of sampling the fish; the codend (the end of the trawl net that collects all the fish) can be left open allowing the fish to swim through easily, so the fish will not be captured and killed. And finally, it allows scientists to sample a greater range of animals sizes. Kresimir is still experimenting with the camtrawl and testing out its’ effectiveness. He is very enthusiastic about its prospects.  I really enjoy viewing the pictures and seeing the fish on the monitor.  I have attached a couple of my favorite pictures for you to view.

The Scientific Method in Action:

The Scientific Method is actively used in science careers and is very similar to the Engineering Design Process.  It is a process that scientists follow to solve problems in order to test a theory or answer a need.   In order for the camtrawl to be invented, Kresimir and Rick had to have an idea or question to get the process started.  Next, the idea had to be constructed, researched, and tested (testing is the fun part) numerous times.  During testing, data is collected and organized and then a conclusion can be generated based on the data.  If the idea is not successful, then it is important to go back to the beginning, make changes, and experiment again. If the idea is successful, then all is good, however, there is always room for improvement.  Scientists continue to test and retest until they get their expected results or prove themselves wrong and learn something totally new in the process.

Touring the Engine Rooms

First Engineer Kyle

First Engineer Kyle

 

I got the chance to tour the engine rooms at the bottom of the Oscar Dyson.  First Engineer, Kyle Chernoff, graciously escorted me and explained how everything works.  He received his bachelors degree in Marine Engineering at California Maritime University.  After graduation he had to take a series of seven coast guard exams in order to be qualified to work as a marine engineer.

Two of the ship's engines

Two of the ship’s engines

One of the evaporator machines

One of the evaporator machines

Besides the controls on the bridge, you can control the direction of the ship from the engine room.  The ship has many back up motors and generators so that if one breaks down or a fire ensues, the ship can continue on its course.  This is reassuring news for me and all of the 29 other crew aboard the ship.  I had to wear ear plugs while walking through the generator room.  It was extremely loud due to the noise the generators make to keep the ship running.  One of the pieces of equipment, I found most interesting, was the evaporator.  The Oscar Dyson has two.  The evaporators use heat to remove the salt from the sea water and convert it into drinking water.  During the process UV (ultraviolet) is used to kill any bacteria in the water to make it safe for drinking.  As well as the evaporators, the ship has a special machine that removes any oil before water is released back into the ocean.  This protects wildlife living in the ocean.  What a great use of resources.

I am in the engine room

I am in the engine room

Personal Log:

While on the bridge this week, I saw porpoises and whales.  I did not get pictures because the ship moves fast and so do the animals.  I had two gorgeous days, where the sun was out and I could feel the heat on my face.  Even the foggy days are nice, however ominous.  It rarely rained and the seas were relatively calm.  Thankfully, I did not have to don my survival suit except during weekly drills.  I participated in a really cool experiment on this trip.  Alyssa, the survey technician, gave me two Styrofoam cups (the exact same size) and asked me to color them, in which, I did. The next morning during the scheduled CTD, Alyssa placed one of my cups into a small net bag and attached it to the CTD device.  The bag was deployed to the bottom of the ocean floor.  Once back on deck of the ship, she retrieved the cup and returned it to me.  It looked the exact same with the exception that it shrunk.   Really awesome!  The air bubbles in the styrofoam cup and the pressure from the depth of the ocean cause this to happen.  It would shrink even more if we were in deeper waters.

Two cups I decorated before deploying into the ocean.

Two cups I decorated before deploying into the ocean.

I only sent the second cup into the ocean.  Notice the difference in size.   Talk about "under pressure"!

I only deployed the second cup into the ocean. Notice the difference in size.
Talk about “under pressure”!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have learned so much.  My voyage on the Bering Sea is quickly coming to an end.  In a couple of days, I will board the small puddle jumper from Dutch Harbor to Anchorage and eventually end up in Delaware.  The science team, NOAA Corps, and crew have been wonderful to work with during my time at sea.  This has truly been an experience of a lifetime.

Puddle Jumper from Dutch Harbor to Anchorage

Puddle Jumper from Dutch Harbor to Anchorage

Another beautiful sunrise on the Bering Sea

Another beautiful sunrise on the Bering Sea

Getting to know the Crew:

LT Greg Schweitzer, XO

LT Greg Schweitzer, XO

NOAA Corps LT Greg Schweitzer, Executive Officer or XO

In my last blog, I introduced you to the Commanding Officer of the Oscar Dyson.  Another vital member of the NOAA Corps and the crew of the Oscar Dyson, is the Executive Officer (XO), LT Greg Schweitzer. He is married and has four children.  He has been with NOAA for seven years and was in the Air Force before that for 10 years.  He received a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology and in Management. He received his Master’s Degree in Environmental Science.  While not at sea, he resides with his family in Kentucky.  He is second in command of the Oscar Dyson.  He  reports directly to the Commanding Officer and oversees the officers, stewards (cooks), engineers, deck crew, survey technicians, and scientists.  He is in charge of the ship’s budget, time cards and attendance, discipline, and port-side logistics.  He started his NOAA career, after a four month officer training, then aboard the NOAA ship Henry Bigelow for 2 ½ years out of Newport, Rhode Island. Because of his past military experience, he became an XO after only six years.  This is his last leg at sea before he starts a new land assignment.

An experience he really enjoyed during his NOAA career, was working on his first land assignment in Fernandina Beach, Florida.  He worked for NOAA’s Protected  Resource Division. Part of the XO’s job was to go out, on a small boat, off the coast of Florida and Georgia, to help disentangle North Atlantic Right Whales. The XO describes the whales as curious animals that spend most of their time at the surface of the water. Because they like to hang out on the surface of the water, they easily get tangled in nets and crab pots. Right Whales are on the critically endangered list.  In the past, they were hunted to almost extinction.  They got their name because they are easy to see and catch, so therefore fishermen, called them the Right Whales to fish.  There are approximately 350 North Atlantic Right Whales living at this time. They eat mainly plankton and krill. The Right Whales are migratory animals.  They are located off the Florida-Georgia coast during the winter where they calve and then travel up the east coast to Cape Code in the summertime.  They swim along the Atlantic Ocean, right outside of Delaware. Check out this website for more information on the North Atlantic Right Whales.

I asked the XO if he had any advice for my students.  He said to remember that there is no perfect path and that students should be open to new opportunities and be willing to take on new adventures. He lived in Kentucky until he was out of high school.  He never imagined he would ever leave. His Air Force and NOAA careers have given him opportunities, he might never had experienced.  He also adds, that it is important to go out and contribute and remember that there is still a lot of unknown discoveries on our planet, just waiting to be explored.

North Atlantic Right Whale: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/

North Atlantic Right Whale: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/

Meet the Scientist:  Carwyn Hammond

Carwyn working in the wet lab with Emily

Carwyn working in the wet lab with Emily

Title: NOAA Research Fisheries Biologist—10 years

Job Responsibilities:  Commercial fishing gear research: she looks for ways to modify the fishing gear to reduce impacts to the seafloor habitat and reduce bycatch (animals caught in net other than intended; i.e.  Dolphin caught in a crab fisheries net) of commercially important species.  She works directly with commercial fisheries as well as helps conduct surveys for NOAA.

Education:  Undergraduate Degree in Marine Resource Development at the University of Rhode Island; Master’s Degree in Fisheries at the University of Washington.

Hometown: She was born in Brooklyn, NY and moved to Hancock, MA at the age of six.

Current Residence: Seattle, Washington

Why pursue this career?  When deciding on a career, she asked, “What degree will let me play in the ocean?” and that is how she got started in the fisheries field of work.

Recently, she and her co-worker, Craig Rose, won the best paper award for their work on RAMP or Reflex Assessment Mortality Predictor.  Medical doctors use RAMP to check patients’ vital signs or reflexes such as tapping your knee to see if your leg reacts or kicks.  They applied this method to crabs.  On crabs they check six different reflexes: flare (legs moving up and down), leg retraction (pulling on leg), chela (claws), eyes, mouth, and abdomen.  Checking their vital signs allows scientists to help fishermen modify their fishing gear in order to reduce the mortality rate of their catch.

Good advice:  I asked Carwyn, “What would you tell kids interested in pursuing a science career?”she responded, “follow your gut and never stop asking questions”.

Meet the Scientist:  Dr. Mikhail A. Stepanenko

Mikhail helping process a trawl

Mikhail helping process a trawl

Title:  Senior Biologist, Northern Pacific Fish Resources Laboratory, Russia

Job Responsibilities:  In charge of pollock stock assessment and providing data for total allowable catch for Russia.  Building a international relationship with the United States of America.  He works closely with the New Fisheries Agreement between Russia, United States, Japan, Korea, and China, which works on improving fishery management for all fish.  He works on both Russian and United States fishery vessels, including NOAA’s Oscar Dyson as part of the science team.

Home: Vladivostok, Russia where his wife currently lives.  He has two daughters and four grandchildren, all of whom reside in the United States.

Why pursue this career?   He has always had a dream to be a seaman and he loves sport fishing.  He has an interest in animals and marine biology.

Mikhail has been working in the fisheries industry since graduating university in 1968.

 

New Riddle from the Oscar Dyson Crew:  Why does a wet deck remind you of music?

 Scroll to the bottom of my blog for the answer!

 

Did you know?

Did you know, during a new moon (the moon is not shining) out at sea, giant schools of anchovies glow on the ocean surface? 

Did you know the Oscar Dyson uses  500,000 gallons of fuel a year? 

 

Key Vocabulary:

Ultraviolet

Evaporation

Scientific Method

Engineering Design Process

Stereo

Meteorology

 

Squid

Squid

Sea stars or starfish

Sea stars or starfish

So cute! A the underside of a skate

So cute!  The underside of a skate

I'm holding a skate

I’m holding a skate

Answer to riddle:  If you don’t C sharp, you’ll B flat.

Amie Ell: A Whale of Tale, July 13, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Amie Ell
Aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson (NOAA Ship Tracker)
July 7 – July 11, 2013

Mission: Alaska Walleye Pollock Survey
Geographical Area: Gulf of Alaska
Date: July 13, 2013

Location Data from the Bridge:
Latitude: 57.21N
Longitude: 152.32 W
Ship speed:   10.7 kn

Weather Data from the Bridge:
Air temperature: 11 degrees centigrade
Surface water temperature: 11 degrees Centigrade
Wind speed:  7.14 kn
Wind direction: 90 degrees
Barometric pressure: 1018 mb

Science and Technology Log:

The CamTrawl being attached to the net.

The CamTrawl being attached to the net.

The scientists on the Oscar Dyson are using several different types of cameras and sensors.  I have already mentioned the CamTrawl.  This camera is attached to the trawl net and takes pictures as the net is being dragged behind the ship.  The pictures are time stamped.  These pictures help to identify at what time and depth things were entering the net.  This is very helpful if you have a haul with a variety of different fish.  Also attached to the net is the FS-70 Netsond sensor, also known as the third wire.

A CamTrawl Picture with pollock and capelin.

A CamTrawl Picture with pollock and capelin.

This third wire uses sound and its echo to see what is entering the net.  One more sensor attached to the net reads temperature and depth this is the SeaBird Electronics SBE-39 Bathythermograph.

Preparing to lower the Drop Cam.

Preparing to lower the Drop Cam.

From left to right: DropCam, winch, CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth),

From left to right: DropCam, winch, CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth),

Sometimes sensors and cameras are dropped from the side of the ship.  These are not attached to a net.  Instead, these are on frames that are dropped over the side and lowered using thick cable wire on a winch.  The CTD sensor measures water conductivity, temperature, and depth.

The Drop Camera also is dropped from the side of the ship and lowered using a winch.  This also has a depth sensor and takes time stamped pictures.  This device can help scientists identify fish present in areas that they are not able to trawl in.

An octopus captured by the DropCam.

An octopus captured by the DropCam.

The compilation of information gathered from these sensors, cameras, and haul data will help scientists get a good picture of what type and how many fish are present in different areas around Alaska and in varying ocean conditions.  The analysis of this data will be used to help determine the quota for commercial fishermen looking for the Alaskan walleye pollock in different areas.

There are sensors on the hull of the ship that are always gathering information.  On the NOAA website Ship Tracker you can see some of this information in real time.

Depths recorded and graphed for this trip.

Depths recorded and graphed for this trip.

A flatfish captured by the DropCam

A flatfish captured by the DropCam

Personal Log

Yesterday was an excellent day for whale watching.  We spent our afternoon and evening surrounded by a pod of Humpback whales.  At times they were so close that I could hear them breathing.  They were much closer and more plentiful than the first whale sighting.  Last night in the mess hall I got up to look out the porthole (window) and a whale came up less than 50 feet from me.  It was amazing!

We continue to trawl pulling up on average 2 to 3 hauls an evening.  In our hauls the majority of the fish are pollock.  This week I have also seen, more capelin, rock fish, and lumpsuckers.  We have also pulled up dog salmon, arrow tooth flat fish, krill, cod, and a spiny lumpsucker.

A sunset trawl in progress

A sunset trawl in progress

From bottom: Dog Salmon, Arrow Tooth, Pacific Ocean Perch (POP)

From bottom: Dog Salmon, Arrow Tooth, Pacific Ocean Perch (POP)

I was given a tour of the engine rooms below by the Chief Engineer.  It was very loud.  There is a lot of machinery on board to make the ship self-sustainable while at sea.  One of the machines is called the “water maker”.  This takes salt water and heats it to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  The machine then captures the steam, leaving behind salt and other non desired items in the water.  The steam is then condensed to make all for the fresh water for the ship.

Water Maker distills salt water to make fresh

Water Maker distills salt water to make fresh

Amie Ell: Deadman’s Bay, July 11, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Amie Ell
Aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson (NOAA Ship Tracker)
July 7 – July 11, 2013

Mission: Alaska Walleye Pollock Survey
Geographical Area: Gulf of Alaska
Date: July 11th, 2013

Location Data from the Bridge:
Latitude: 56.56 N
Longitude: 152.74 W
Ship speed:   11.3 kn

Weather Data from the Bridge:
Air temperature: 10.7 degrees Centigrade
Surface water temperature: 8.6 degrees Centigrade
Wind speed:  18 kn
Wind direction: 250 degrees
Barometric pressure: 1016 mb

Science and Technology Log:

Nets on Spools

Nets on Spools

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Full net on deck

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pollock from a bottom trawl

So now that you know what we do with the fish after they are caught, let’s go back and see how the fishermen trawl.  There are two large nets at the stern of the ship.  Today we used both nets for the first time.  The scientists, crew, and fishermen all work together to catch the fish.  In the acoustics lab Paul is reviewing and scrutinizing the data he receives from the echo locators mounted on the hull of the ship.  There are many factors he must evaluate in order to have a good trawl.  There are places in our area that have been marked as “untrawlable”.  This is usually due to a sea floor that is rocky.  Trawling in these places may ruin the nets.  We have completed at least one trawl a day since we have been out to sea.  Today we completed two during my watch.  The first was with a larger net and was not sent all the way to the bottom.  The second trawl was sent to the bottom with a smaller net.  The bottom trawl brought up the largest pollock I have seen so far.  The longest pollock was 75 cm.  We also brought up a salmon, cod,   rock fish, and a whole lot of herring.

Crane lifting the net to be dumped into the bin.

Crane lifting the net to be dumped into the bin.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The CamTrawl being removed after a trawl.

The nets are both on large spools and are released or returned with the help of a very large winch.  Before the net is released into the water the CamTrawl is attached to it.  This is a camera that takes pictures that help the scientists see at what point in the trawl fish were entering the net.

Example photo from the CamTrawl.  A Salmon Shark caught on the first leg.

Example photo from the CamTrawl. A Salmon Shark caught on the first leg.

The time that the net is in the water depends on the information about the amount of fish coming from the acoustics lab.  Scientists watch the echo information to determine how much time the net should be in the water to catch enough fish to sample.  We must have at least 300 pollock to make a complete survey.

The fishermen bring the nets back to the trawl deck and wind them back onto the spools.  They then will use a crane to lift the catch and dump it into a bin.  From the fish lab we can lift this bin to dump the fish onto the conveyor belt.

Personal Log

Me in my survival suit

Me in my survival suit

Entering Deadman's Bay

Entering Deadman’s Bay

On Monday, we had our weekly fire and abandon ship drills.  After the drills I practiced putting on my survival suit.  This suit is designed to keep you afloat and warm in the event that you have to go into the water.

Deadman's Bay

Deadman’s Bay

On Tuesday, we surveyed up into Deadman’s Bay.  It was a beautiful sun shiny day and the scenery was amazing.  We were very close to the shore on both sides.  I sat out on the trawl deck and scanned the hillsides with my binoculars.  I was told that it is common to see bears here, but I did not see any.