May 19, 2005
once again from Gray’s Reef.
today is a busy one! This morning, Kate attempted to transect
and collect acoustic data within GRNMS from 0830 hours
until 1230 hours. Unfortunately, technical difficulties
prevented her from doing so. In light of the problems,
Kate worked with Greg and Tony Vancampen (the R/V Nancy
Foster’s Electronics Technician) to diagnose and
correct the problem. As a result, we will transect tomorrow
maximize time for surveys, one dive boat was deployed
this morning before transecting and was scheduled to be
out until 1230 hours. As you know, shipboard time is a
valuable resource and needs to be utilized; therefore
Athan decided to collect more data and deployed three
traps. Once retrieved, one trap was empty; however, the
other two were full of …you guessed it, black sea
bass and long spined porgy. However, the second trap retrieved
a new fish to our survey, the bank sea bass.
major difference in these three trap contents over the
others is the abundance of juvenile sea bass. The smallest
sea bass collected today was a meager 15 cm in length.
Handling these young fish made for tender moments. These
little guys are not as strong as their larger counterparts.
For this reason, I gave them extra attention when measuring
and releasing them back into their home. Kate kept a close
eye on our little friends as they were released to be
sure that they made it back to depth quickly.
is our last full day aboard the R/V Nancy Foster within
the sanctuary. It is hard to believe that our time in
the sanctuary is coming to an end so quickly. I will surely
miss the new friends I’ve made, the beautiful vistas
aboard the siesta deck of the Foster, not to mention the
great grub. If given this opportunity to venture back
to GRNMS again, I will certainly jump at the chance. I
highly encourage you to do the same if an opportunity
to work aboard a oceanographic research vessel presents
itself to you; it is an experience of a lifetime.
Reef National Marine Sanctuary:
Daily Connections to Scientific Inquiry & Nature of
cruise utilizes many different forms of technology such
as acoustic sensors, scuba dive gear, Geographical Information
Systems (mapping software), databases, web sites, and
email, not to mention all the technology used for navigation
and running the ship. Technological applications of ocean
sciences have improved greatly in the last 100 years.
Even 60 years ago, an expedition like this one would only
be possible in the dreams of few.
and technicians realize that with increasing reliance
upon technology also come increase risks. This is particularly
true when isolated out in the field such as in the middle
of GRNMS. As Kate’s experience today indicates,
it is important to have back-up systems in place in the
event that the technical components of your research do
not function correctly.
is best to develop strategies for nearly every important
procedure, particularly ones involving the collection,
saving, and retrieval of data. The cost of running a ship
like the R/V Nancy Foster runs more than $4000 a day and
it is important that you are able to collect the data
you need while on board. As they say, “there is
more than one way to skin a cat” and it is best
to prepare accordingly before leaving the dock.