Kathryn Lanouette, August 1, 2009

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kathryn Lanouette
Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson
July 21-August 7, 2009 

Mission: Summer Pollock Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: August 1, 2009

This sonar-generated image shows walleye pollock close to the sea floor. The red line at the bottom of the image is the sea floor. The blue specks at the top of the image are jellyfish floating close to the water’s surface.

This sonar-generated image shows walleye pollock close to the sea floor. The red line at the bottom of the image is the sea floor. The blue specks at the top of the image are jellyfish floating close to the water’s surface.

Weather Data from the Ship’s Bridge 
Visibility: 10+ nautical miles
Wind direction: variable
Wind speed:  less than 5 knots, light
Sea wave height: 0 feet
Air temperature: 7.9˚C
Seawater temperature: 8.6˚C
Sea level pressure: 30.1 inches Hg
Cloud cover: 7/8, stratus

Science and Technology Log 

In addition to the Aleutian wing trawl (which I explained in Day 5 NOAA ship log) and Methot (which I explained in Day 8 NOAA ship log), scientists also use a net called an 83-112 for bottom trawls. The 83-112 net is strong enough to drag along the sea floor, enabling it to catch a lot of the animals that live in, on, or near the sea floor. This afternoon, we conducted the first bottom trawl of our cruise. Bottom trawls are usually conducted in two situations: if the walleye pollock are too close to the sea floor to use an Aleutian wing trawl or if the scientists want to sample a small amount of fish (because the 83-112’s net opening is smaller than the Aleutian wing trawl’s net). From the looks of the sonar-generated images, it appeared that most of the walleye pollock were swimming very close to the bottom so the scientists decided it would be best to use the 83-112 net.

Here I am holding one of the skates that was caught in the bottom trawl

Here I am holding one of the skates that was caught in the bottom trawl

Once the fish were spotted, we changed our course to get ready to trawl. Usually the trawl is made into the wind for stability and net control. Once the ship reached trawling speed, the lead fisherman was given the “OK” to shoot the doors. Slowly, the net was lowered to 186 meters below the surface, the sea depth where we happened to be. The water temperature down there was about 1˚C (compared to 7˚C on the sea’s surface).  I had heard from a previous Teacher At Sea that bottom trawls brought up a wide variety of animal species (compared to the relatively homogenous catches in mid-water trawls). And sure enough, when the net was brought up, I couldn’t believe my eyes!

All told, we sorted through over 7,000 animals, a total of 36 different species represented in the total catch. It took 4 of us over 4 hours to sort, measure, and weigh all these animals. There were over 350 walleye pollock in this catch as well as skates, octopi, crabs, snails, arrowtooth flounder, sea anemones, star fish, and dozens of other animals. Some of them were even walking themselves down the table.

During this catch, I also learned how to take the ear bones, or otoliths, out of a walleye pollock. Why ear bones you might ask? Using the ear bones from a walleye pollock, scientists are able to determine the exact age of the fish. Misha Stepanenko, one of the two Russian scientists on board the Oscar Dyson, showed me how to cut partially through the fish’s skull and take out two large ear bones. Once they were taken out, I put them in a solution to preserve them. Back in NOAA’s Seattle lab, the ear bones are stained, enabling scientists to count the different layers in each ear bone. For every year that the fish lives, a new layer of bone grows, similar to how trees add a layer for each year that they live. By learning the exact age of a fish, scientists are able to track age groups (called “cohorts”), allowing more precise modeling of the walleye pollock population life cycle.

A diagram of an otolith, or ear bone, of a fish.  You can see that it’s a lot like looking at tree rings!

A diagram of an otolith, or ear bone, of a fish. You can see that it’s a lot like looking at tree rings!

Personal Log 

So far this trip, we have sailed within 15 miles of Cape Navarin (Russia) on at least two different occasions but fog and clouds prevented any glimpse of land both times. It was a frustrating feeling knowing that land was so close, yet impossible to see. After 12 days of looking at nothing but water and sky, seeing land would have been a welcome treat.

Despite not seeing land, I still felt like I was in Russia just from listening to different fishing vessels communicate with one another. On our first night in Russian waters, we sailed through a heavy fog, with 7 or 8 different boats fishing nearby. I was impressed with how Ensign Faith Opatrny, the Officer on Deck at the time, communicated with various vessels, using collision regulations (“the rules of the road”) to navigate safely. On a culinary note, I got my first chance to eat some of a catch. After most trawls, we discard remaining inedible specimens overboard. After our bottom trawl however, one of the scientists filleted some of the cod. The next day, the stewards cooked it up for lunch. It tasted great and it felt good to be eating some of the fish that we sampled.

A graph showing the adult walleye pollock biomass estimates from 1965 to 2008.

A graph showing the adult walleye pollock biomass estimates from 1965 to 2008.

As the cruise starts to wind down, I also want to express my gratitude to all the NOAA scientists and Oscar Dyson crew. Everyone in the science group took time to explain their research, teach me scientific techniques, and answer my many questions. On numerous occasions, the deck crew explained the mechanics of fishing nets as well as the fishing process. The engineering crew gave me a tour of the engine rooms, describing how four diesel engines power the entire boat. The survey techs explained how different equipment is operated as well as the information it relays back to the scientists. The NOAA Corps officers showed me how to read weather maps, take coordinates, and explained ship navigation. The ship’s stewards described the art and science behind feeding 33 people at sea. And the USFWS bird observers patiently showed me how to identify numerous bird species. From each of them, I learned a tremendous amount about fisheries science, fishing, boats, sailing, birding, and life in the Bering Sea. Thank you!

Answer to July 28 (Tuesday) Log: How has the walleye pollock biomass changed over time? 
In the past few years, the walleye pollock biomass has decreased (according to the acoustic-trawl survey, the survey that I joined.) It should be noted that there is a second complementary walleye pollock survey, the eastern Bering Sea bottom trawl survey. This survey studies walleye pollock living close to the sea floor. As walleye pollock age, they tend to live closer to the sea floor, thus the bottom trawl survey sometimes shows different biomass trends than the acoustic-trawl survey. Both surveys are used together to manage the walleye pollock stock.

An up-close look at one of the squid’s tentacles

An up-close look at one of the squid’s tentacles

Animals Seen 
Auklet, Arrowtooth flounder, Basket star, Bering skate, Cod, Hermit crab, Fin whale, Fur seal, Octopus, Sculpin, Sea mouse, Sea slug, Shortfin eelpout, Snow crab, Squid, and Tanner crab.

New Vocabulary: Bottom trawl – fishing conducted on and near the bottom of the sea floor. Catch – fish brought up in a net. Shoot the doors – a fishing expression that means to lower the 2 metal panels that hold open the fishing nets in the water. Stewards – the name for cooks on a ship. Table – nickname for the conveyor belt where the fish are sorted for sampling. Vessels – another word for ships. 

Kathryn Lanouette, July 28, 2009

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kathryn Lanouette
Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson
July 21-August 7, 2009 

Here I am sorting different zooplankton species

Here I am sorting different zooplankton species

Mission: Summer Pollock Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 28, 2009

Weather Data from the Ship’s Bridge 
Visibility: 8 nautical miles
Wind direction:  015 degrees (N, NE)
Wind speed:  7 knots
Sea wave height: 1 foot
Air temperature: 7.6˚C
Seawater temperature: 7.3˚C
Sea level pressure: 29.8 inches Hg and falling
Cloud cover: 8/8, stratus

Science and Technology Log 

In addition to studying walleye pollock, NOAA scientists are also interested in learning about the really tiny plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton) that live in the Bering Sea.  Plankton is of interest for a two reasons. First, phytoplankton are the backbone of the entire marine food chain. Almost all life in the ocean is directly or indirectly dependent on it. By converting the sun’s energy into food, phytoplankton are the building blocks of the entire marine food web, becoming the food for zooplankton which in turn feed bigger animals like small fish, crustaceans, and marine mammals. Second, zooplankton and small fish are the primary food source for walleye pollock. By collecting, measuring, and weighing these tiny animals, scientists are able to learn more about the food available to walleye pollock. In addition, every time the scientists trawl for walleye pollock, the stomachs of 20 fish are cut out and preserved. Back at a NOAA lab in Seattle, the contents of these fish stomachs will be analyzed, giving scientists a direct connection between walleye pollocks’ diet and specific zooplankton populations found throughout the Bering Sea.

A simplified marine food chain  (Note: A complete marine food web involves hundreds of different species.)

A simplified marine food chain (Note: A complete marine food web involves hundreds of different species.)

Two important zooplankton groups in the Bering Sea are copepods and euphausiids (commonly referred to as krill). Euphausiids are larger and form thick layers in the water column. In order to catch euphausiids and other zooplankton of a similar size, a special net called a Methot is lowered into the water. This fine meshed net is capable of catching animals as small as 1 millimeter. The same sonar generated images that show walleye pollock swimming below the water’s surface are also capable of showing layers of zooplankton. Using these images, the scientists and fishermen work together, lowering the net into the zooplankton layers.

The Methot net is the square shaped net in the background. It was just brought up and is filled with hundreds of zooplankton.

The Methot net is the square shaped net in the background. It was just brought up and is filled with hundreds of zooplankton.

Once the Methot net is back onboard the boat, its contents are poured through fine sieves and rinsed. All species are identified. A smaller sub sample is weighed and counted. This information is applied to the entire catch so if there were 80 krill, 15 jellyfish, and 5 larval fish in a sub sample, then scientists would approximate that 80% of the entire catch was krill, 15% was jellyfish, and 5% was larval fish. Having only seen photos of some of these zooplanktons, it was interesting to hold them in my hands and look at them up close. They seemed better suited for space travel or a science fiction movie than the Bering Sea!

Personal Log 

The day before, I caught my first glimpse of Dall’s porpoises. This pod of porpoises came swimming alongside the boat. It was awesome to see their bodies rise and fall in the water. I was surprised at how quickly they were swimming, darting in and out of the Oscar Dyson’s wake. Today, I also got my first glimpse of a whale! It was a fin whale, a type of baleen whale, about 20 meters from the boat. It was exciting to watch such a large mammal swimming in such a vast expanse of water. I’m hoping to see a few more marine mammal species before we return to port. The seas have been very calm for the last five days, at times as smooth as a mirror. I’m surprised that I’ve gotten used to falling asleep in the early morning hours and waking around midday. Now that I’ve adjusted to the 4pm to 4am shift, I’m wondering how strange it will be to return to my regular schedule back on the east coast.

Answer to July 25th Question of the Day: Why are only some jellyfish species capable of stinging? 
As I picked up my first jellyfish in the wet lab (asking at least twice “Are you sure this won’t sting?”), I wondered why some jellyfish don’t sting.  So I did some reading and asked some of the scientists a few questions. Here is what I found out: All jellyfish (called “gelatinous animals” in the scientific world) have stinging cells (nematocysts) in their bodies. When a nematocyst is touched, a tiny barb inside fires out, injecting toxin into its prey.  It seems that in some jellyfish, the barbs are either too small to pierce human skin or that nematocysts don’t fire when in contact with human skin.

One euphausiid and two different species of hyperiid amphipod (They are between 1-3 cm long)

One euphausiid and two different species of hyperiid amphipod

Animals Seen 
Capelin, Dall’s porpoise, Euphausiid, Fin whale, Hyperiid amphipod, and Slaty-backed gull.

New Vocabulary: Baleen whale – a whale that has plates of baleen in the mouth for straining plankton from the water (includes rorqual, humpback, right, and gray whales). Methot net – a square framed, small meshed net used to sample larval fish and zooplankton. Phytoplankton – plankton consisting of microscopic plants. Plankton – small and microscopic plants and animals drifting or floating in the sea or fresh water. Trawl – to fish by dragging a net behind a boat. Zooplankton – plankton consisting of small animals and the immature stages of larger animals

Question of the Day: How has the walleye pollock biomass changed over time?


Kathryn Lanouette, July 25, 2009

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kathryn Lanouette
Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson
July 21-August 7, 2009 

Mission: Summer Pollock Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 25, 2009

Walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma)

Walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma)

Weather Data from the Ship’s Bridge 
Visibility: 10+ miles (to the horizon)
Wind direction: 030 degrees (NE)
Wind speed: 15 knots
Sea wave height: 4-6 feet
Air temperature: 6˚C
Seawater temperature: 6.4˚C
Sea level pressure: 29.85 inches Hg and rising
Cloud cover: 8/ 8, stratus

Science Log 

Why study walleye pollock? Before even setting sail, I wondered why NOAA scientists were interested in studying walleye pollock. It turns out that walleye pollock is the largest fishery, by volume, in the USA. In one year, about 1 million metric tons of walleye pollock are fished, mostly from the waters of the Bering Sea. Given that walleye pollock accounts for such a large percentage of the total fish caught in the United States, I was curious why I had never seen it on restaurant menus or rarely seen it at supermarket fish counters. It is because walleye pollock is usually processed into other things – like fish sticks, imitation crabmeat, and McDonald’s fish fillet sandwiches. So it seems that walleye pollock is that mild white fish you often eat when you don’t know for sure what kind of fish you are eating.

Above is a map showing the 31 transect lines of the walleye pollock survey area. I have joined the cruise that is sailing along the 8 transect lines closest to Russia.

Above is a map showing the 31 transect lines of the walleye pollock survey area. I have joined the cruise that is sailing along the 8 transect lines closest to Russia.

In addition to supporting a major multi-billion-dollar fishing industry, walleye pollock is a fundamental species in the Bering Sea food web. It is an important food source for Steller sea lions as well a variety of other marine mammals, birds, and fish. The population size, age composition, and geographic distribution of walleye pollock significantly affect the entire Bering Sea ecosystem. What do scientists hope to learn about walleye pollock? NOAA scientists are primarily interested in calculating the total biomass of walleye pollock. To estimate how many walleye pollock are in the Bering Sea, scientists sample the fish, recording their age, length, weight, male/female ratio, and geographic location. This information is used by North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) to set sustainable fishing quotas for the following year. The NPFMC, whose membership comprises university, commercial, and government representatives, uses NOAA’s survey data, fishery observer program data, as well as catch statistics from the commercial fishing industry, to determine how much walleye pollock can be fished in the coming year.

An illustration of the Oscar Dyson sending down sound waves (in order to “see” the animals swimming below the water’s surface.)

An illustration of the Oscar Dyson sending down sound waves (in order to “see” the animals swimming below the water’s surface.)

Where do scientists study walleye pollock? Every year or two, a NOAA research ship (usually the Oscar Dyson) travels throughout the Bering Sea, following approximately 31 transect lines. These transect lines can be anywhere from 60 to 270 miles long. These lines were selected because they include areas where either walleye pollock spawn in the winter or feed in the summer. As the ship travels along these lines, its sonar system uses sound waves to locate fish and other animals living below the water’s surface. As the sound waves return to the ship, they create different images, depending on which animals are swimming in the water below. Using these images, the scientists decide whether or not they should lower the nets and sample the walleye pollock. They also continuously store digital data from the images, later using this information to estimate the total biomass of the fish species. On this 18 day research cruise, the scientists are hoping to travel the last 8 transect lines (over 1,500 nautical miles).  Each transect line takes us into Russian waters. On Thursday, we reached our first transect line. Within hours of traveling along this first line, many schools of walleye pollock were spotted. After the fish net was brought up, I was amazed at the number of fish that came sliding down the conveyor belt into the science lab. I helped weigh and measure hundreds of fish, a quick introduction to the whole process!

Personal Log 

The mouth of a Pacific lamprey

The mouth of a Pacific lamprey

We traveled into Russian waters today, crossing the International Date Line as we went. So technically, Saturday became Sunday this afternoon! But later in the evening, we completed the transect line, turned, and headed back into Saturday just as night fell. Luckily, the time never changes here on the boat. The scientists and crew live on Alaska Daylight Time (ADT), regardless of how far we travel to the north and west. I’ve see a few whales spouting but so far, I haven’t been able to identify any. In the coming days, I am hoping to get a glimpse of their backs or flukes (tails). It has been exciting seeing so many animals – some of which I never even knew existed. A few of these animals look a bit scary, like this Pacific lamprey. Its mouth forms a suction and then all those small yellow teeth go to town, letting it feed on the blood and tissue of its prey. Even the small tongue in the back of its mouth is toothed! 

The rare short-tailed albatross

The rare short-tailed albatross

Animals Seen 
Hyperiid amphipod  Aequorea species, Chrysaora melanaster jellyfish,  Euphausiids (aka krill), Pacific lamprey, and Short-tailed albatross.

New Vocabulary:  Biomass – the total amount of a species, by weight Cruise – nautical trip, for science research or fun. Quotas – a limited or fixed number or amount of things. Sample – to study a small number of species from a bigger group. Transect Line – a straight line or narrow section of land or water, along which observations and measurements are made

Question of the Day 
Why are only some jellyfish species capable of stinging?

Here I am holding up a Chrysaora melanaster jelly fish (Luckily this species doesn’t sting!)

Holding up a Chrysaora melanaster jelly fish (Luckily this species doesn’t sting!)

James Miller, August 19, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
James Miller
Onboard NOAA Ship Rainier
August 13 – 27, 2005

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: North Pacific, Alaska
Date: August 19, 2005

Location: Anchored in Fish Range Bay; north of Mitrofania Island
Weather: Sunny, low 70’s
Wind: variable
Seas: 1-2 foot swell
Itinerary:  Working in Fish Range Bay area for couple of days

Science and Technology Log 

I am assigned to launch RA-5 today, which will be working what are called holiday lines. These are small areas that didn’t get adequate coverage the first time they were scanned. Most of the lines were situated very close to shore near the peninsula and a bunch around Mitrofania Island. Being assigned to holidays is very labor intensive for the coxswain (boathandler) because he/she is constantly turning the boat and working very close to shore. Often we had to put somebody (usually me) on the bow to watch we didn’t plow into any rocks. The geology in the area is strange in that it could be 300 feet one second and then 3 inches the next, so running onto rocks is always a concern especially when working close to shore.

The entire crew is working extremely hard to finish up this area on this leg of the trip. The RAINIER is scheduled to be in Prince William Sound on the next leg and will continue surveying until mid-October.  Between November and March the ship is in its homeport of Seattle, WA, getting repairs and preparing for the next season.

There are a few crewmembers onboard who are college students either working for the summer or taking time off to make some money.  Then there are some crewmembers, such as the Chief Steward, that have been on the RAINER for over 30 years.

The surveyors rotate between collecting data at sea and processing the data at NOAA Headquarters.  They are required to be at sea for several months out of the year.  Most of them have a four-year college degree and majored in geology or Graphical Information Systems (GIS), but there are a couple of assistant surveyors with associate degrees.

The officers are onboard for two years before moving on to their next assignment.  They rotate between two years at sea and three years on land.  It’s clearly a difficult lifestyle for those who want a family.  They all have four-year college degrees and usually majored in some sort of engineering, math, or one of the sciences.  After signing on to the NOAA Corps, they are sent to Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy for 3 months of intensive training before getting their first assignment.

Personal Log 

Since we worked so close to shore, my day on RA-5 was great for getting some pictures of wildlife.  There are puffins, and loons everywhere.  When the launch approaches they try to fly but can’t seem to get their fat little bodies airborne, so they skid across the water for about thirty feet and then dive.  Along the shore of the peninsula there were a lot of fresh bear tracks. The grizzly bears in this area are among the largest in the world due to their high protein diet of salmon.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any. Several Sei whales breached near the boat, which was really cool.  It happened very quickly, but I think I was able to get some pictures.  We also saw lots of bald eagles.  They nest high up on the bluffs and when they get hungry they swoop down and grab a puffin or small gull.  The highlight of the day was the seals.  There’s a large rock structure on the south side of the Island that a family of seals inhabit.  The survey we were doing required us to get right up next to the island.  There were at least two dozen seals some of which were huge—over 1000 pounds!  When we approached they stood up and barked at us. Got some great pictures!

When we returned to the ship I decided to do some fishing off the fantail for halibut. Yesterday someone caught a 50-pounder in Fish Range Bay.  After about 45 minutes of bouncing this glow-in-the-dark squid on the bottom, wham.  It felt like I was snagged. It only turned out to be about a 20-pound halibut, but it fought like mad.  My arms were killing me from reeling it up from 200 feet of water.  These fish get over 300 pounds–I can’t imagine!  I just finished cleaning the fish and writing some logs, it’s midnight.  Assigned to RA-3 tomorrow for deep-water surveying.  I’ve got to prepare myself for some rough seas and a long day.

Christy Garvin, June 3, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Christy Garvin
Onboard NOAA Ship Rainier
June 1 – 8, 2005

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Aleutian Islands, AK
Date: June 3, 2005

Sea otters drifting amidst the kelp

Sea otters drifting amidst the kelp

Weather from the Bridge

Latitude: 56 deg 59 min N
Longitude: 135 deg 17 min W
Visibility:12 nautical miles
Wind Direction: 275 deg
Wind Speed: 10 kts
Sea Wave Height: 1-2 ft
Swell Wave Height: 0 ft (we are in a protected bay)
Sea Water Temperature: 54deg F
Sea Level Pressure: 1016 mb

Science and Technology Log 

Today work began at 0800; four launches were deployed to run survey lines and take bottom samples.  I was assigned to launch RA2, a jet propulsion boat.  We worked an area on survey sheet Z near Low Island and Kruzof; this area is northwest of Sitka near the base of the volcano Edgecomb.

As was discussed yesterday, running survey lines is one of the most important tasks accomplished by the RAINIER.  After technicians have completed all of the preparation work in the plot room, it is time for the launch to be deployed. Many different people play a part in preparing the launch for a day of work.  Deck hands make sure the boat is fueled and has necessary supplies, engineers check the engines and electrical equipment, and the kitchen staff prepares lunch, snacks, and beverages for the crew to take aboard.  At 0745 the deck crew meets the survey crew on the fantail (back deck) of the ship.  The deck crew then lowers the launch using the gravity falls davit, and the survey crew climbs aboard their launch.  Once underway, each launch calls the bridge to inform the officer on watch that the launch is underway with all assigned crewmembers on board.

When the launch reaches its work area, the first thing that must be accomplished is a CTD cast. A CTD is a device that measures the conductivity, temperature, and depth of the water. This information is used to create a sound profile that shows how fast sound travels in the water at various depths.  This is extremely important to know, because the different refractions must be accounted for when data is processed.

The procedure for casting a CTD is relatively simple.  First, the CTD is attached to a rope and turned on for a 3-minute warm-up period.  During this time, the CTD is being calibrated to the air pressure. When the 3-minute warm-up is complete, the CTD is submerged just under the surface of the water for 2 minutes; this allows the machine to calibrate to the water temperature at the surface.  Finally, the device is lowered to the ocean floor and the raised back to the surface.  Once at the surface, the data is downloaded from the CTD to the specialized computer software used aboard the launches. Once this procedure is complete, it is time to begin running survey lines.

Personal Log 

One of the neatest things that happened today was a sea otter spotting. As we were working survey lines around some kelp beds, we noticed 10-15 sea otters playing in the beds. They were very cute, and it was an excellent opportunity to observe them in the wild.

Question of the day: What is refraction? 

Previous question of the day: What is a CTD? Answer: A CTD is a device that measures conductivity, temperature, and depth.  Before a launch uses its SWMB (Shallow Water Multi Beam), the crew must cast a CTD to gather information about how sound waves are being diffracted due to the pressure and temperature at various depths.

Melissa Fye, April 21, 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 21, 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

The HI’IALAKAI continued running survey lines of the ocean floor near Nihoa. Scientists continued grouping together larger swaths of data in the drylab, like pieces of a puzzle emerging from the depths of the ocean. We cruised by Nihoa several times collecting benthic data.

Personal Log

I began the day answering emails from students and teachers. I edited a file of data in the drylab and flitted about taking pictures of people and places on board. The cruise is beginning to wind down, so there isn’t as much to do at this point and no boats are being deployed either. I must admit my stomach is a little upset from the rolling and pitching of the boat. I sleep terribly one night, then like a rock the next.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: CO Kuester (commanding officer) has given commands for the ship to arrive at the entrance to Honolulu Harbor by 0700 on Saturday, April 23rd. The ship has 260 nautical miles to still cover, and we travel ten knots an hour.  1) How many hours will it take us to reach our destination? __________________ 2) A nautical mile > a statute mile (mile on land)  if…

1 nautical mile (1 knot) = 1.15 statute miles  then…       260 knots =____________ statute miles?

(thanks to Lt. Wingate and ENS Jones for help with this question!)

ANSWER TO YESTERDAY’s Question: 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 consumers.

Leanne Manley, March 28, 2005

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Leanne Manley
Onboard NOAA Ship Delaware II
March 24 – 31, 2005

Mission: Atlantic Mackerel and Herring Survey
Geographical Area: New Jersey
Date: March 28, 2005

Weather Data
Latitude: 41˚N
Longitude: 70˚ W
SOG (speed over ground – boat): 10.5 Knots
Speed log (speed of boat through water): 10.4 knots
COG (course over ground – boat): 34˚
Furuno3 (3 meters deep) temp.: 2.1˚ C
Air temp.: 3.8˚ C
TSG (thermosalinograph) conductivity: 28 TSG
Salinity: 31 ppt. (3.1%)
Fluorescence value (phytoplankton):  244.7 µg/L
Swells: 2 feet (very calm)

Science and Technology Log

Yesterday afternoon included a variety of happenings.  First, I interviewed some more crew members, took some more pictures, ran the CTD probe and water sampler 2 times, helped clean up data noise from the simrad, and finished up taking a tour of the engine room.

I spoke with Lisa again, as she was up during my shift to clean up some datum for her research. She is doing a paper on topographical features and the species of fishes which thrive in each type. Different types of flora and fauna, rock bottom, or murky detritus bottom, and also the step sloped type bottom.  I just reread that sentence and it’s funny. Anyway, Lisa is a contracted scientist who works with Mike J.

Bill (a.k.a. the ultimate Snood player, Kill Bill) spoke with me a while about NOAA careers and what he’s gained by working for them.  He ultimately was hired as an undergrad, then over the years NOAA paid for him to go through a PhD program, I think at U.Mass. Note to self: Now isn’t that strange, the federal government pay for scientists to better their education, but state governments won’t for educators to better their education. He’s worked with Mike J for about 5 years now on the fish surveys.  His specialty is the underwater camera/video equipment and he showed me a few models they brought with them.  Ultimately, we were going to put them in today, but since we have to head back to Woods Hole to get the hydraulics fixed, we’ll wait until we back out Tuesday.

Grady Abney is one of the engineers on board. He is a retired civilian, and has worked on this ship for 8 years now. He showed me around the engine room and patiently answered my many questions.  How this ship runs is amazing.  Or maybe more amazing is that the basic internal combustion engine that we purchase to get from point A to point B barely lasts 100,000 miles – not running constantly.  This 12 cylinder Diesel engine onboard the DELAWARE II was installed in 1968 and runs, basically nonstop.  They have a rebuild kit (piston sleeves bearings and gaskets) onboard.  It’s refitted/overhauled after so many hours…no other real maintenance, other than oil changes, is performed.  This monster has 1025 horsepower and runs through approximately 1100 gallons of fuel a day on a good day–at a normal 10 knot pace.

The tachometer hovers around 800 rpm and the reducer, better known to us as a transmission, takes the power form the rpm’s and runs the propeller, reducing the rpm’s to 250.  The temperatures are rather intense…even when it’s freezing outside that room stays at a nice 95 degrees F with the vents open.  The engine case temp is about 450 degree F, and the oil temp is 160 degrees F.  The camshaft has never been replaced…37 years old.  Grady showed me the generators and their backup. The other feature in the engine room that is interesting is the evaporator (i.e., the desalinator) . Get this, the fresh water that is sealed in the engine serving as the radiator, is run through an area of incoming sea water.  The heat from water which cooled the engine is used to evaporate the sea water.  The only other process the newly made drinking water goes through is a bromine filter; at that point the water is safe to drink.

We took the last 2 CTD reading yesterday and the 3rd water sample.  The CTD worked great until a short occurred (thankfully on the last release) the CTD read accurately to 375 meters and then just stopped all data retrieval.  The area we were over at the time was 550 meters deep.

Mike J called me out to the aft of the ship to point out dolphins and D said she saw a couple of whales. Dolphins don’t really thrive in the colder regions in the winter.   When I was cleaning up data with Mike, it revealed a mass of fish in 6 places on the readout. One mass of fish was about 1.5 miles long.  But since we can’t trawl I have a hard time visualizing the little blocks on the screen to real fish.

We’re about 2 – 3 hours from Woods Hole right now.

Personal Log

Dennis and Nellie put on a phenomenal Easter Dinner; they’re both awesome cooks.

I’m tired of the shower beating me up.

I’ve never had an exercise bike move around the room when I rode it.

Walking into walls has become a favorite activity of mine.

My powerpoint, picture not text, slide show is up to 50 right now.

I’m going to buy a diesel vehicle when I get home.

I will definitely write another grant to attain more computer based lab equipment and develop at least 4 core labs that I do with them each year.  Computer based lab equipment is a great way to teach the students data analysis (statistical error).