Mary Cook: Day 7, March 25, 2016

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Mary Cook
Onboard R/V Norseman II
March 18-30, 2016

Mission: Deepwater Ecosystems of Glacier Bay National Park
Geographical Area of Cruise: Glacier Bay, Alaska
Date: Friday, March 25, 2016
Time: 6:49 pm

Data from the Bridge
Pressure: 1012 millibars
Speed: 0.2 knots
Location: N 58°52.509’, W 137°04.299’

Science Log

Last night we headed out to open-sea and the waters got a bit rougher. I felt queasy so I took seasick meds and went to sleep. We steamed ahead to open sea and arrived to the site for our ROV dive. But the ROV dive didn’t occur due to a mechanical problem with the ship’s engine, so we headed back into the Bay on toward Johns Hopkins glacier for another round of sampling. Today was a very good day for many of the scientists to get a much-needed rest. The ship’s labs were quiet as we traveled back to the glacier. The ship’s crew on the other hand did not get a break. The ship must still be piloted. The galley work continued with meal preparation. The engine room and all of the ship’s operations were still in working mode.

Once we arrived at Johns Hopkins glacier, the ROV proceedings for the night began. It didn’t take long to find Primnoa pacifica! Samples were being carefully taken and put into quivers until resurfacing in the morning.

ROV Quivers for Samples
ROV samples stored in quivers overnight


There are all sorts of other important work that’s occurring in addition to coral collection. One of those is water sampling.

Amanda water sample
Amanda filters water samples

Scientist/Diver Amanda Kelley helps with filtering seawater collected in a Niskin bottle attached to the ROV Kraken. The Niskin bottle has plugs at both ends that are propped open to allow it to fill with water. When the plugs are tripped, the water at a certain depth is collected and sealed so that no other water will enter that sample.

Niskin bottle demo
Dann Blackwood demonstrates Niskin bottle mechanics

Filtering the water sample will help determine the concentration of particulate organic matter in a given amount of seawater at the same location of the Primnoa pacifica being collected. Scientists are trying to determine if the corals derive their food from the particulate organic matter or chemosynthetic sources. The filtered matter will be used to assess for the presence of nitrogen and carbon isotopes helping the scientists better understand the nutritional pathways of the coral ecosystem within Glacier Bay.

The scientists are measuring as many environmental variables as possible and hoping to link these to the health of the coral in Glacier Bay.

Accurate record keeping is of the utmost importance!
Oh my goodness! There are backups to the backups!

Kathy recording data
Kathy records data and checks the logbooks

Geologist Kathy Scanlon shares that she is putting geographic position data into a Geographic Information System (GIS), a digital mapping system, along with the other data collected such as diver comments and coral samples.

Kathy and GIS
Kathy records data in the Geographic Information System (GIS)

In a nutshell, it’s a way to organize data based on geographic location. In the process of gleaning this information, she says it’s also a great way of double-checking the record keeping for any inconsistencies. Another backup to the backups!
Some of the data points being recorded and re-recorded are date, time, site, depth, species, several reference numbers, and diver’s comments.

In addition to samples of Primnoa pacifica being collected, the divers are gathering samples of other organisms for documentation. These scientist divers are looking for something new—something they don’t recognize—possibly a new species or an extension of a known species location. When they surface with something unusual to them, the excitement is palpable! Everyone on the ship wants to see what’s new!

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Personal Blog

Today I’ve been a bit groggy because seasick meds make me sleepy, but I was glad to avoid the “5-star barfing” as one person described their seasick experience.

I’m so impressed with the enthusiasm for education amongst the people involved with this scientific cruise. Yesterday, I met several people at Bartlett Cove who were reading my blog and keeping up with this research cruise. All the scientists and crew onboard the Norseman II are willing and eager to answer any of my questions.

I got an email from a co-worker, Holly, one of Scammon Bay’s English teachers! She told me that she shared my blog with two of her classes and used it as a journaling prompt. Also, our principal Melissa Rivers, is sharing photos and facts with the entire school on a monitor in the Commons. I so appreciate the enthusiasm from my co-workers and their willingness to help our students learn about this cutting-edge research being done in Alaska. What a wonderful opportunity to learn and expand our horizons together!
Thanks again for your support and interest!

Where’s Qanuk?

Joan Le, Getting Set to TowCam, August 5, 2014

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Joanie Le
Aboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow
August 5 – 16, 2014

Mission: Deep-Sea Coral Research
Geographic area of the cruise: 40 miles SE of Cape May, New Jersey
Date: August 5, 2014

In full survival gear during our first “abandon ship” drill.

Weather information from the Bridge:
Air Temperature: 25.5° Celsius
Wind Speed: 10 knots
Wind Direction: 330°
Weather Conditions: clear
Latitude: 37° 37.7′ N
Longitude: 74° 06.8′ W

Science and Technology Log

After almost a full day at sea, we are only hours away from the first watch and the first glimpse of data. Preparations commence, and anticipation is high.

For the next two weeks, we’ll study the deep-sea corals that occur in submarine canyons off the east coast. They have been found in every region of the United States, but for this mission we’ll target canyons in the Northeast region, investigating canyons east of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.

Deep-Sea Corals are similar to the familiar shallow-water corals, but cannot harness sunlight for energy through photosynthesis. Instead, they rely on nutrients from the water including detritus (non-living organic matter) and plankton. It is believed that Deep-Sea Corals find both shelter and bountiful grub on the steep-sided canyon walls where the faster-moving currents bring in the day’s meal. Surprisingly, many are just as beautiful and colorful as their shallow-water counterparts, like this bamboo coral photographed at Mytilus Seamount during the NOAA OER US Northern Canyons mission last year.

This image was taken at Mytilus Seamount during the NOAA OER US Northern Canyons mission last year. Photo credit NOAA.
Bamboo Coral (Jasonisis sp.) Photo credit NOAA.

Though not the hot snorkeling destination, the Deep-Sea Corals in this region are important habitat providers as well as sensitive indicators of ecosystem health. They are long-living but slow-growing and do not recover quickly. Both bottom trawling and possible energy harnessing (off-shore wind farms and oil and gas acquisition) are possible threats to their survival.

Because bottom trawling is so detrimental to the coral communities, we’ll use TowCam to survey the area. Deploying the TowCam is a delicate process, with sensitive and pricey equipment on the line. After a few test deployments yesterday, the team began picking our dive locations. There is plenty to consider when finding a dive spot, including the topography of the sea floor and slope of the canyon walls. We also use the results generated by a habitat suitability model that predicts where deep-sea corals are likely to occur. Scientists must strike a balance between the steeper, high-probability cliffs and the gentler slopes.

The crew prepares TowCam for the first test run.
The crew prepares TowCam for the first test deployment.
Brian Kinlan using Fledermaus to plan our first dive.
Brian Kinlan using Fledermaus to plan our first dive.











Personal Log

Life aboard a ship is surely not easy. The constant rocking and clanging of cold metal will take a while to get used to, and I will sadly miss many daytime hours with our 12 hours on-12 hours off watch schedule. And while waking at 3 AM to greet a deathly dark ocean view may not seem like summertime fun to most, this first morning underway has convinced me that a couple weeks at sea is a treat I won’t soon forget.

photo (4)

Jennifer Petro: Mapping the Unknown, July 12, 2013

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jennifer Petro
Aboard NOAA Ship Pisces
July 1 — 14, 2013 

Mission: Marine Protected Area Surveys
Geographic area of cruise: Southern Atlantic
Date: July 12, 2013

Weather Data
Air temperature: 26.3°C (79.3°F)
Barometer: 1011.30 mb
Humidity: 78%
Wind direction: 194°
Wind speed: 17 knots
Water temp: 26.9° C (80.4°F)
Latitude: 32 32.84 N
Longitude: 78 34.76 W

Science and Technology Log

There is a team aboard the vessel whose job is to map the ocean floor.  On this cruise we are diving in known locations but we are also diving in new proposed areas where there is little or no mapping data.  This team is a critical component of this mission.  Without their hard work we would have no clue as to where we are sending the ROV to search for the target fish species or find very cool benthic invertebrates.  The type of mapping they are using is called multibeam mapping.  Multibeam mapping has been used for years but the technology and software is becoming very cutting edge.  All of the mapping was done at night so my hat comes off to the survey team for pulling a lot of all nighters!

Graphic of how a multibeam survey works.   ©Wessex Archaeology
Graphic of how a multibeam survey works. ©Wessex Archaeology

The mapping occurs in several stages.  First we have to get an idea of what the sea floor looks like.  Multibeam mapping uses many signals of beams that sweep the sea floor and bounce back up to the ship.  It is a very computer-heavy science.  First we need to test the water, literally.  The survey team, consisting of Laura Kracker from the National Ocean Service, NOAA Marine Research Lab, Charleston, SC, Friedrich Knuth from the College of Charleston and Marta Ribera from Boston University, use an expendable probe to test the density of the water.  This is important because water density changes due to water temperature and salinity.  One the probe is deployed, the survey team can calibrate the beam width to get the most accurate reading of the multibeam signal.

Survey team member Friedrich Knuth send an XBT expendable probe over the side.
Survey team member Friedrich Knuth sends an XBT expendable probe over the side.

As the beams travel through the water, sea floor depth is determined by the amount of time it take for the beams to leave the vessel and then come back.  The intensity of the sound tells you the probable type of sea floor bottom.

  • Low intensity equals a softer bottom
  • High intensity equals a harder bottom

The one piece of information that the beams cannot tell us is the geomorphology or the type of bottom features and rock that make up the sea floor. That we can only see through the lens of the ROV but the mutlibeam mapping gives up a good idea of the locations in the MPA that would have the most amount of fish.  We want to look in areas of high relief; i.e. rock ledges, rubble, etc., because that is where we will most likely see the target species of fish.

At the point that the beams get back to the Pisces, it is still “raw data”.  It needs to be processed so that it can be read in map form.  This is where the computer programs and the long nights came into play.  It is not a simple process.  The data is manipulated through 5 programs consisting of many steps to produce a map that can be used in a program called ArcGIS.  ArcGIS is a GIS, Geographical Information System, program that is relatively user-friendly, The maps produced during this cruise were amazing.  Stacey Harter, the Chief Scientist, used these maps to determine features that the ROV would dive on.  The ROV drivers used them to “see” where the ROV was in relationship to those features in real-time.  The research teams are able to embed the maps into their cruise notes and cross-reference the maps with still photos.  I was truly amazed.

Evidence of ancient iceburg scours off of North Carolina as detected by multibeam mapping.
Evidence of ancient iceburg scours off of North Carolina as detected by multibeam mapping Courtesy of NOAA.
Laura shows me the raw data from the multi-beam mapping.
Laura shows me the raw data from the multi-beam mapping.
Friedrich points to a monitor that keeps track of the Pisces as it follows grid lines for mutlibeam mapping.
Computer monitor that shows the intensity of the multibeams as they are leaving the ship.
Computer monitor that shows the intensity of the multibeams as they are leaving the ship.

Personal Log

I am sad that this incredible experience is coming to an end.  I cannot gush enough about the scientist and the crew.  I was able to witness a few “firsts” and I enjoyed seeing these scientists, some who have been doing this for 30 years, get excited about seeing something new.  I loved how the lab had an open door policy and crew members, from the CO to engineers, would come in and check out what was happening during the dive.  If it was after their shift, they would stay for hours. Everyone shared stories and I was made to feel like I was part of the science team.  I have a distinct advantage over other Teachers at Sea because I was able to cruise with a team that is located right here at home.  I look forward to the possibility of creating a true partnership and bringing NOAA right into my classroom.  I have so many ideas for lessons and activities from this experience and have found a massive amount of NOAA resources to use from pictures to data.

This has been so eye opening that I am now a big proponent of NOAAs MPA program as I have seen first hand how the closing of these areas has benefited the recovery of fish populations.

Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing in my adventure.

Fair weather and calm seas.

We are all dreamers creating the next world, the next beautiful world for ourselves and for our children. ~Yoko Ono

Ginger Redlinger, July 18, 2007

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Ginger Redlinger
Onboard NOAA Ship Rainier
July 15 – August 1, 2007

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Baranof Island, Alaska
Date: July 18, 2007

Weather Data from the Bridge

Visibility: 10 Nautical Miles
Wind directions: 325°
Wind Speed: 10 Knots
Sea Wave Height: 1 – 2 feet
Seawater Temperature: 13.9° C
Sea level Pressure: 1009.2 millibars (mb)
Cloud cover: Partly Cloudy

Science and Technology Log 

Today’s Mariner word: Fiddly (Pronounced Fid-lee) the fiddly is the room above the engine compartment.

Survey Techs Hertzog & Boles prepare to measure sound velocity with CTD.
Survey Techs Hertzog & Boles prepare to measure sound velocity with CTD.

Wow – what a day. At 0800 hours we were briefed on our day’s work plan.  I was joining an experienced pilot (Coxswain) and two survey technicians on a research boat to take sound velocity readings in an area off the coast of Baranof Island.  First, we had the launch the boats from the ship.  The experience boat crew and I watched as the ship’s deck hands lowered the boats from their racks by crane to the side of the ship at a level that allowed us to climb aboard. (A few feet above water level).  The deck hands held the boat in position from above by crane, and on the sides to keep it from rocking back and forth and bouncing against the ship. Additional hands held ropes attached to the hooks and cables that we were going to release fore and aft hooks once the boat was in the water. Of course, the boat pilot needed to get the engine running right when the boat hit the water to keep it in the correct position against the side of the ship.  Launching while underway is challenging, and must be done correctly in order to ensure everyone’s safety. The boat’s personnel released the hooks and the deck personnel winched the hooks back to the starting positions.  Deck hands on ship held the boat in position with ropes fore and aft.  Once everything on the boat was checked and running the aft line was called in, then the bowline, and we were underway.  This was another example of the amazing teamwork I have witnessed everyday on this ship.

When we arrived at our survey area the technicians used a CTD to take an initial reading of the speed of sound at the surface of the water, then lowered it again to take the same reading at a much lower depth. (If you remember the last journal entry, this is the same process used to correct for the speed on sound on the RAINIER.) The readings are entered into the boat’s computer prior to taking any readings. While we took readings along our survey lines I asked the survey crew a question, “what about large mammals, won’t they interfere with the sonar readings?  The answer was “yes, if a whale is below us it would appear as a shadow on the computer screen. Algal blooms and kelp beds can also affect the quality of the readings.”

Survey Tech Boles monitoring the data recorded by the ELAC transducer
Survey Tech Boles monitoring the data recorded by the ELAC transducer

We tracked back and forth across our survey area. The direction and length of each survey line was determined the day before, and provide to the boat’s survey technicians.  No whales, algal blooms, or kelp beds today. Part of NOAA’s mission is to provide useful information to commercial navigators, and that includes fishermen.  We were very careful to adjust our movement across survey lines to avoid interfering with the fishing vessels. During our time on the boat I asked the crew questions about their background, the Coxswain (person who pilots the boat and ensures our safety) has been at sea for over 30 years. He is amazing.  He taught me how to pilot the board correctly.  My first try was not very successful. The second time I was much better.  I guess you could say that he is a good teacher, and a good seaman.

The two survey technicians on board track and record data. They have different backgrounds, but bring important skills to the task of gathering and reading data. The first, a young woman, has a degree in geology and works as a cartographer for the United States Geologic Service.  She is working on this boat this summer. The other is a young man from Tennessee who received his certificate in Geographic Information Systems. I have to admit, without the man who piloted the boat and kept it on a narrow track of water fighting swells, currents, and avoiding fishing boats – the rest of us wouldn’t have been able to take readings. Everyone has something critically important to do.

Coxswain Foye keeping the boat on the correct lines to record data.
Coxswain Foye keeping the boat on the correct lines to
record data.

How did we get the data from the boat to the on-ship computers? The data is cabled in from the boat to the plotting room where all the cartography hardware and software is located. (One way is to plug in a cable and download!) The database contains recent and historical charts made of waters that NOAA surveys. The FOO (remember, Field Operations Officer) showed me a chart created in 1924 of the same area. The technology used back then was lead lines and sextants. They would start by moving to a location, and then drop a lead line until it hit the bottom, counting the fathoms from surface to seafloor.  After recording it, they pulled up the lead line, and then traveled along as straight a path as possible, recorded latitude and longitude, and took another reading.  I didn’t count all the readings taken in this fashion on the old map, but there were well over one hundred readings in the small section we were surveying, and the old map covered a region much greater – the entire coastline and out to sea in the area we are working.  The FOO then did an amazing thing by overlaying the new map readings over the old map – it was amazing how accurate the old map still is!

You can find out more about early navigation and see maps made a long time ago here.

Coast & Geodetic Survey

Soundings (depth readings)

For information about prior work done in this area visit the NOAA photo library.

The need for accurate navigation information is as important now as it was back then.  Personal and commercial craft need to know where it is safe and where it is dangerous.  The FOO and I talked about how nice it would be someday to have a holographic representation of an area you are navigating (whether it is sea, lake, or river) that would allow you to see the bottom of the sea, the coastline, and the cloud layers.  Maybe future mariners, oceanographers, and technicians can make that available for everyone.

Questions of the Day 

Topic 1: There are additional corrections that the survey team includes in the analysis of the tracking data. Besides velocity of sound readings, what other data about the water in an area would be important to take into account? Hint: The moon has something to do with it.

Topic 2: Where can you earn a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), or a degree is Geology or Oceanography in the Northwest?  Where else can you learn about GIS?  Where can you learn the skills you need to work with the engineering crew, deck crew, or the Officer Corp in NOAA?

Topic 3: Can you name the earliest cartographer of this area, and when he did his work? Who else has surveyed this area?

Noah Doughty, September 22, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Noah Doughty
Onboard Research Vessel Western Flyer
September 18 – 22, 2006

Mission: USS Macon Wreck Archeological Expedition
Geographical Area: California Coast
Date: September 22, 2006

Weather Report from the Bridge 
Visibility: Good
Wind direction and speed: ESE at 7kts
Swell direction and height: NW at 4-6’
Seawater temperature: 56.4
Sea level pressure: 1013.3 millibars
Cloud cover: 8/8

NOAA Teacher at Sea Noah Doughty with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) R/V WESTERN FLYER in the background.
TAS Noah Doughty with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute R/V WESTERN FLYER in the background.

Science and Technology Log 

Dr. Rock and Kristof Richmond of Stanford University left the ship late yesterday afternoon, wrapping up the image collection for the photo-mosaic.  Leaving with them was John Geoghegan, a writer for the Smithsonian Air and Space Magazine and the Naval History Magazine. Joining the expedition are Scott Rayder, NOAA Chief of Staff, Richard G. Van Treuren, representing the Naval Airships Association, and Tim Thomas from the Maritime Museum of Monterey.

Today’s activities were devoted to groundtruthing side-scan sonar anomalies located away from the two main debris fields. This is accomplished by simultaneously moving the ROV and the WESTERN FLYER from site to site, a process that would take the better part of an hour depending on the distance being traveled. The transition provided me with an opportunity to briefly operate the “Science Cam”, the seat were you get to operate the zoom, angle and focus of the HDTV camera.  Most of the anomalies were shallow depressions in the muddy bottom with two large sonar hits turning out to be old fish traps.  We did find one large artifact resembling an imploded fuel cell quite a ways from the main debris fields. 

Today is the last day of the expedition and I would like to take the opportunity to thank the NOAA Teacher at Sea Program, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Program, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute for the opportunity to be part of such an amazing experience.  Finally I would like to thank the ROV Pilots of the Tiburon and the crew of the WESTERN FLYER for providing insightful answers and explanations to a number of questions.

NOAA Chief of Staff (left), Scott Rayder, and TAS Noah Doughty
NOAA Chief of Staff (left), Scott Rayder, and TAS Noah Doughty

Noah Doughty, September 21, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Noah Doughty
Onboard Research Vessel Western Flyer
September 18 – 22, 2006

Mission: USS Macon Wreck Archeological Expedition
Geographical Area: California Coast
Date: September 21, 2006

Weather Report from the Bridge
Visibility: Good
Wind direction and speed:  NWxW 24kts
Swell direction and height: NW 6’-8’
Seawater temperature: 55.7oF
Sea level pressure: 1019 millibars
Cloud cover: 2/8

Science and Technology Log 

Work at the USS MACON wreck site continues, alternating between mosaic work and survey work depending on water conditions at the bottom.  Today’s log will profile two members of the expedition whose jobs provide a context for the information being gathered.

Erica Burton works for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and is responsible for operating VARS, which stands for Video Annotation and Reference System.  VARS is a database that allows screen images to be captured, logged, and georeferenced with annotated notes. For the MACON expedition these notes list the possible identity of the artifacts. In addition to the captured image, VARS also records the time stamp in the video and a geographical location. All the images and video captured are archived at MBARI (the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), and later, in conjunction with the National Marine Sanctuary Program, staff will process and interpret to produce a final photo-mosaic poster that will be made available to the public. Burton, who has a background in marine biology, also notes that the USS MACON wreckage provides an artificial hard-bottom habitat in an otherwise soft-bottom habitat, and the organisms observed are primarily soft-bottom fishes with occasional encrusting organisms on the wreckage.

Erica Burton, on the left, operates VARS (Video Annotation and Reference System), and works for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Lee Murai, on the right, is the expedition’s GIS (Geographical Information System) analyst, and comes from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.
Erica Burton, on the left, operates VARS (Video Annotation and Reference System), and works for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Lee Murai, on the right, is the expedition’s GIS (Geographical Information System) analyst, and comes from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.

Lee Murai is a Geological Oceanography student at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and is the GIS (Geographical Information System) analyst.  Through GIS software he is able to spatially organize the data collected on this expedition and compare it to the 1990 and 1991 expeditions. Types of data collected in the past include side-scan sonar, multi-beam bathymetry, and waypoints collected by Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and manned submersibles.  For this expedition he is working closely with the Stanford University team to assist with the photomosaic collection procedure. The GIS map posted on day 1 was provided by Murai. Compare that to the low-resolution image tiles posted today.  While the use of GIS is relatively new to the field of marine archeology, it is generally used in marine environments to provide geologic and biologic habitat characterization maps.

This image, created with low-resolution copies of the image files, shows a Curtiss F9C-2 Sparrowhawk (plane #4 in the GIS map on the Day 1 log).  High-resolution tiles will be fused into the final photo-mosaic.  The nose of the plane is in the lower left.
This image, created with low-resolution copies of the image files, shows a Curtiss F9C-2 Sparrowhawk (plane #4 in the GIS map on the Day 1 log). High-resolution tiles will be fused into the final photo-mosaic. The nose of the plane is in the lower left.

Noah Doughty, September 20, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Noah Doughty
Onboard NOAA Ship Western Flyer
September 18 – 22, 2006

Mission: USS Macon Wreck Archeological Expedition
Geographical Area: California Coast
Date: September 20, 2006

Weather Report from the Bridge 
Visibility: Fair
Wind direction and speed: calm
Swell direction and height: WNW 8-9’
Seawater temperature: 56.1oF
Sea level pressure: 1023.0 millibars
Cloud cover: 8/8

Principal Investigators, left to right: Chris Grech (MBARI), Robert Schwemmer (CINMS), and Bruce Terrell (NMSP).
Principal Investigators, left to right: Chris Grech (MBARI), Robert Schwemmer (CINMS), and Bruce Terrell (NMSP).

Science and Technology Log 

As the mosaic work continued on the sea floor I was able to briefly pull the three Principal Investigators (PI) away from the action to ask questions regarding the history of the MACON and the eventual plans for the wreck site. The three PI’s are Chris Grech, of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Robert Schwemmer, West Coast Regional Maritime Heritage Program Coordinator based out of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS), and Bruce Terrell, a Senior Archeologist for NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program.  Their answers are summarized below:

Question 1: Has the condition of the wreckage changed since the first visit in 1991? 

GRECH: Yes.  There is more sediment on the bottom than before.  Some of the smaller pieces of debris are no longer visible. Meaning they have been moved, covered up, or corroded. Overall the major features are still there, the Sparrowhawk’s and the Maybach’s engines.

Question 2: What technology is being employed this time that wasn’t employed before? 

GRECH: We are using a High Definition camera and HMI lights on the Tiburon. The

Underwater image of the Curtiss Sparrowhawk F9C-2 port wing.  Note it is still possible to make out the Navy Star painted on the wing fabric.
Underwater image of the Curtiss Sparrowhawk F9C-2 port wing. Note it is still possible to make out the Navy Star painted on the wing fabric.

HMI lights are high-powered underwater lights.  We know the position of the Tiburon relative to the WESTERN FLYER through the use of USBL (Ultra Short Base Line) technology. Central to the effort is the Stanford Control System, which provides computer aided ROV control enabling us to create the site photo-mosaic. At the same time we are using GIS (Geographical Information System) technology to create a map tied to geographical coordinates. The Stanford Control System and GIS software is run separately but their use is closely linked. Finally, the WESTERN FLYER is able to maintain her position through Dynamic

Positioning, a system where a GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinate is set and the ship is automated to maintain that position.

Question 3: What might eventually happen to the wreck site in terms of protection policy? 

TERRELL/SCHWEMMER:  The MACON already has the ultimate protection regimen.  The wreckage is within the boundaries of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and the Sanctuary has a clearly defined mandate to protect archeological resources.  The US Navy still owns the MACON and the Navy has its own legislation to protect submerged vessels and aircraft.  Last, the wreck site is within State of California waters and so is protected by state law.  From the data gathered on this cruise we will do three things. First is to generate a report on the project that will go to the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, who provided much of the funding.  Second will be an archeological assessment that will go to the National Marine Sanctuary Program and to peers.  This assessment will include management recommendations regarding the values and needs of the wreck site. Third will be to begin the process to nominate the MACON to the National Register of Historic Places.  This is a one to two year process. 

Melissa Fye, April 20, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Melissa Fye
Onboard NOAA Ship Hi’ialakai
April 4 – 25, 2005

Mission: Coral Reef Ecosystem Survey
Geographical Area: Northwest Hawaiian Islands
Date: April 20, 2005

Location: Latitude: 23*36.3’North, Longitude: 164*43.0’W

Weather Data from the Bridge
Visibility: 10
Wind Direction:90
Wind Speed: 14 knots
Sea Wave Height: 2-4 feet
Swell Wave Height: 5-7 feet
Sea Level Pressure: 1018.8
Cloud Cover: 2/8 Cu, As, Si
Temperature outside: 24.4

Science and Technology Log

Early before daybreak we arrived at Nihoa island to conduct a CTD cast (conductivity, temperature, and depth measurements).  By three o’clock a.m., the HI’IALAKAI began running north/south and east/west survey lines of the ocean floor. The ship continued throughout the day, surveying the ocean floor using the multibeam system for benthic habitat mapping.

Personal Log

The trip is winding down and as the end approaches, I am finishing my interviews with the crew of the HI’IALAKAI.  I sent out word that I would take anything that anyone has to give away. Several of the officers and crew have been kind enough to give me CDs of past diving trips, maps, and photographs taken on board that I may have missed. I have been reading some of the weather and ocean resources aboard also. We did have an unexpected visitor aboard today. A four foot Wahu fish was caught on the chief steward’s fishing line and filleted for dinner. Its scales were a silvery blue/green color and it had rows of very sharp teeth. I’ve included pictures of it in this log.  I also concluded some interviews with other members of the scientific team. Information on scientists Scott Ferguson, Kyle Hogrefe, Emily Lundblad, Jonathan Weiss, and Rob O’Connor are included in this log.

Lead Scientist Scott Ferguson works for the University of Hawaii and acts as a contract scientist for NOAA. He is originally from Colorado and Tennessee and went to college in Boston. While in high school, he remembers becoming interested in oceanography and also recalls opening a National Geographic Magazine as an adolescent, which contained hand drawn maps of the ocean and may have subsequently planted the seed for his current specialization in benthic habitat mapping. He obtained a degree in biology, specializing in genetics, while an undergraduate student in Boston. His current assignment is based on grant work submitted by a group of scientists to collect data, based on the most available science, about the sea floor in the Northwestern Hawaiian Island chain. The data collected from this trip, which in turn will be made into maps, will be made available to any managers of the various resource management groups (including the Fisheries Department, state agencies, agencies which protect sea turtles, monk seals, etc.). Nautical charts available at this time are inadequate for use for management of resources in the area, so the multibeam sonar and the scientists aboard have been collecting much more detailed data about the ocean floor for these agencies.  The information gathered will determine fishing guidelines, etc., and will help determine boundaries for sanctuary designation of this ecological system. Mr. Ferguson finds this career interesting because it is not routine and provides opportunities for problem solving. The tool he uses most is the computer to collect data.  He comments that someone interested in this field of science should build knowledge through mathematics courses, computer classes, and be able to express themselves well through written medium. Persons who consistently pay attention to detail and are inquisitive are well suited to this work, according to Mr. Ferguson.  Mr. Ferguson and his wife, scientist Joyce Miller, will spend 3-4 months a year on assignment in the Pacific Ocean.  As an added side note, he, his wife, and their cat take up permanent residence on a boat when not working in the office or out to sea!

Marine Ecosystem Specialist, Kyle Hogrefe, spoke to me in an earlier log about the Ghost Net Project and marine debris trips he has taken part in. I took the time today to interview him more thoroughly about the work he does.  Mr. Hogrefe is originally from Medina, Ohio and obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado in environmental science.  He has worked as a debris specialist, fisheries observer in Alaska, and taken jobs related to data management and mapping to increase his knowledge base. His duties on this cruise involve the deployment and retrieval of oceanographic data platforms.  His job is important because these devices collect long term data about ocean currents, temperatures, etc. which may effect populations of aquatic species of plants and animals over time. Mr. Hogrefe comments that the best part of his job involves the sense of adventure, travel, and diving he gets to do. He comments images from childhood watching Jacques Cousteau may have led to his career choice.  He will spend roughly 6 months at sea this year and the drawbacks of his career involve time away from friends and family. The tool he uses most often is his brain to make decisions and a physical piece of equipment he utilizes often is a lift bag. Patience and an ability to put personal differences aside while working with colleagues are attributes one should possess; according to Scientist Hogrefe.

GIS (Geography Information Systems) scientist Emily Lundblad is originally from the state of Texas and has a master’s degree in Marine Resource Management. Her interest in mapping was sparked from a guest speaker who spoke at her high school. It is a very math/science oriented field and the computer is her most important tool.  She believes the best part of her job is the travel and the ability to see the application of her work. She enjoys going to sea to help collect the data, whereas she would normally just edit and process it. Miss Lundblad will take part in three cruises at sea this year to help collect mapping data.  She mentions that her job on land requires normal eight hour days, but time at sea is different , requiring 12 hour shifts.

Sea floor mapping specialist Jonathan Weiss is a Northern Virginia native, originally from Alexandria, and a graduate of William and Mary. His undergraduate degree is in Geology and he received a graduate degree in Marine Geology from the University of Hawaii. He comments that he has always been curious about the earth and its structure and that research on plate tectonics has revolutionized this field of scientific research. His job requires him to work on backscatter to process the imagery data about the sea floor texture and his most important tool is the computer.  He encourages anyone interested in this line of work to take lots of math courses and a broad overview of the sciences. He enjoys his first post graduate job because the hours are flexible enough for hobbies (like surfing), his bosses are encouraging, and he works with many people his own age. He will spend roughly four months at sea this year in the field.

Rob O’Connor, GIS specialist, originates from Texas but has spent most of his life in Maui, Hawaii. His educational background includes an undergraduate degree in Geography from the University of Hawaii. He comments that the computer is also his most important tool for his job and that he became interested in aspects of the earth after taking some introductory geography courses in college. His duties include data processing and cartography (map making). The travel is an added benefit for this line of work and Mr. O’Connor adds that a person should possess good interpersonal skills and computer knowledge to be successful in this occupation.  This is his first cruise of the year as a GIS specialist.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: I have seen many sea creatures around the Northern Hawaiian Islands coral reef ecosystem. Animals such as the whitetip shark,  sea turtles, and monk seals. These animals are all living things that eat other living things for energy. In a food web, they are called _______________________.

ANSWER TO YESTERDAY’s Question: Ms. Fye saw a humpback whale near the starboard side of the ship the other day. It was performing an adaptive behavior.  Fill in the blank to find out what adaptation the whale was performing.  The movement of an animal from one region to another and back again is called migration.