Gray's Reef Expedition 2004

Project Overview

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Fisheries Assessment & Methodology Comparison

Welcome to Leg 01, the first of two research expeditions here to Gray’s Reef this year. The mission of this survey is to utilize a variety of instruments and methodologies to learn more about the kinds of fish in the area, as well as the environments that they live in. In addition, the new data that are generated as a result of this research will be compared to historical records so that temporal change may be assessed.

The target objectives of this survey are:
1. Deploy acoustic measuring devices for potential use to assess the fisheries biomass.

2. Deploy autonomous video loggers in the sanctuary to gain visual images of the fish that are found within various parts of the sanctuary.

3. Deploy wire fish traps, called chevron traps, to assess catch and avoidance rates and compare them to work that was done back in the 1970’s with MARMAP study.

4. Deploy a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to assess the effectiveness of trapped fishes and to "ground truth" what is seen on the display from the acoustics transmitter.

5. Deploy a Passive Acoustic Monitoring System (PAMS) to record ambient underwater sounds of fish and humans.

6. Conduct diving operations to shoot videos and photographs of the fishing methods used on the ocean floor.

7. Conduct diving operations to census fish populations in two habitat types: one area that is shown to have high recreational use and the other does not.

8. Develop a GIS database containing the data that are collected along the leg.

The objectives above are the culmination of many months of planning, where as each represents an individual’s, or agency's research interest in the Gray’s Reef sanctuary. Each scientist on board brought their own sampling equipment to address their particular objective. They also provide a wealth of interests and academic experiences that will be used as a resource by all of the other scientists during our trip. This collaboration increases the opportunities for these scientists to communicate and share their information with one another. The interdisciplinary nature of this research is imperative when scientists are attempting to understand a dynamic system, like Gray’s Reef.

Each day of the leg, I will explore one or more of our objectives to a greater depth, so don’t forget to check back tomorrow!

I look forward to sharing my experiences with you each day!

Smooth seas,
Elizabeth Rogers (graduate assistant, Project Oceanica, College of Charleston)

Ph. 843-953-7263
Project Oceanica
Dept. of Geology & Environmental Geosciences
College of Charleston
Charleston, SC 29424
Fax 843-953-7850