Thursday, July 8, 2010
July 8, shallow trawls to deep trawls to no trawling today
My view from lab at sunrise
NOAA Teacher at Sea: kimberly lewis
NOAA Ship: Oregon II
Mission: SEAMAP Summer Groundfish Survey
Geographical Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date: Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Weather Data from the Bridge
Time: 2015 (8:15pm)
Position: Latitude = 27.20.39 N; Longitude = 096.35.21 W
Present Weather: Could cover 90%
Visibility: 4-6 nautical miles
Wind Speed: 15 knots
Wave Height: 2-4 feet
Sea Water Temp: 28.6 C
Air Temperature: Dry bulb = 28.5 C; Wet bulb = 26.7 C
Barometric Pressure: 1008.27 mb
Science and Technology Log
Since setting out on Friday we’ve headed south along the Gulf coast of Texas almost to the Mexican border, and now we’re heading back north but farther offshore, in deeper water. As a result our trawls are pulling up a deep-water assemblage of species different from those we saw in shallower waters a few days ago. There is still no sign of oil in this part of the Gulf, but we’re still taking samples of fish and shrimp for analysis to make sure there’s no contamination here from the BP- Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Ten-foot seas are predicted for tonight so we’re heading north along the Texas coast, away from the storm, and we've put away the fishing gear until it gets calmer.
Last log we talked about FSCS (Fisheries Scientific Computer System). So what is it, how is it used, and what is so great about it?
FSCS, commonly pronounced ‘fiscus’, is an automated system for recording the massive amount of biological and oceanographic data generated 24 hours a day by NOAA scientists during fisheries surveys. During a trawl survey, fish and invertebrates from each haul are sorted, counted and weighed by species. Scientists record data from individual fish, such as sex, weight, length and even stomach contents, resulting in tens of thousands of new data points every day. Before NOAA rolled out FSCS in 2001 aboard the NOAA ship Albatross IV, scientists recorded all data by hand, an incredibly tedious process. With FSCS, however, data are recorded digitally which is much faster, allows integration of biological and oceanographic data, and enables NOAA to obtain critical real-time information to assess and manage the health of the marine ecosystem and individual fish stocks.
Here I am entering data at one of the two FSCS stations aboard the Oregon II.
FSCS uses a Limnoterra FMB4 (fish measuring board) which has a magnetic pen to upload the length of an organism within a millimeter (mm) range, and computer software that annotates all of the data with information such as length, mass, sex, etc. The software also lists species scientific names which can be selected into a short list so scientists can more quickly select organisms from a list. Special labels can be printed for specimen samples that are to be shipped to other scientists and to the National Seafood Inspection Laboratory which was started in Pascagoula, MS.
This photo shows a brown shrimp being measured for length. The magnetic pen to the right of the shrimp marks the spot, the measurement is then sent to the computer.
My last shift Wednesday 0000-1200 hrs. was very good. I was over my sea sickness, I had 8 hours straight of good sleep, and we did a good job on night shift with keeping up with our stations.
Our chef, Walter has been feeding us very well. The portions are so big that I can't clean my plate. As you can guess, we have had shrimp several times, and after measuring and identifying shrimp every night for 12 hours I don't know if I will be that anxious to eat shrimp for a while!
My Thursday 0000-1200 shift was canceled due to weather as mentioned in the earlier part of today's blog. So now I am catching up on emails, blogs, and laundry. We should be trawling again within the next 24 hours.