NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson
July 23 – August 10
Mission: Pollock research cruise
Geographical area of the cruise: Bering Sea
Date: Thursday, August 9, 2012
Location Data from the Bridge:
Latitude: 57○ 28 ’ N
Longitude: 173○ 54’W
Ship speed: 11.2 knots ( 12.9 mph)
Weather Data from the Bridge:
Air temperature: 8.0 ○C (46.4 ºF)
Surface water temperature: 8.3 ○C (46.9ºF)
Wind speed: 7.4 knots ( 8.5 mph)
Wind direction: 130○T
Barometric pressure: 1015 millibar (1 atm)
Science and Technology Log:
We have now completed 44 hauls in our survey and are on our way back to Dutch Harbor! You can see a great map of our sampling area in the Bering Sea– click below.
From those hauls, let me fill you in on some of the cool statistics:
- We caught approximately 118,474 pollock and they weighed 24,979.92 kg (= 25 tons)!
COMPARE THAT TO:
- Last year’s official total allowable catch (called a quota) for all commercial fishermen in Alaska was 1.17 million tons!
So, we only caught 25 tons/ 1,170,000 tons = 0.00002 = 0.002% of the yearly catch in our study.
COMPARE THAT to:
- The estimated population of pollock in the Bering Sea is 10 million tons (10,000,000 T)!
- This means we caught only 0.00025% of the entire pollock population!
So, as you can see, students, in the big picture, our sampling for scientific analysis is quite TINY!
Continuing with more cool pollock data…
- We identified 7,276 males and 7,145 females (and 2,219 were left unsexed)
- We measured 16,640 pollock lengths on the Ichthystick!
- Pollock lengths ranged from 9cm to 74cm
- We measured 260 lengths of non-pollock species (mostly jellyfish, pacific herring, and pacific cod)
- We collected 1,029 otoliths for analysis
You will hear more about our results this fall— as well as the management decisions that will be made with this valuable data…
We have also had some exciting specimens on our bottom trawls. Remember, students, this simply means we drag the 83-112 net along the ocean floor. By sampling the bottom, we collect many non-pollock species that we would never see in the mid-water column.
Here are some of my favorites:
Next up, a very different sort: the Opilio Tanner Crab and the Bairdi Tanner Crab- both are known in the market as Snow Crabs!
Perhaps my favorite…
Followed by a slightly different type of lumpsucker!
These types of nets require a lot of hands to help sort the species as they come down the conveyor belt!
Onto… sea urchins!
And lastly, to those specimens you may have been waiting for if you are a fan of the “Deadliest Catch” TV show…
Interested in playing some online games from NOAA, students? Then visit the AFSC Activities Page here— I recommend “Age a Fish” and “Fish IQ Quiz” to get your started!
Lastly, students, as one final challenge, I would like you to take a look at the picture below and write back to me telling me a) what instrument/tool he is using and b) what it is used for:
Well, my time at sea has just about come to an end. This has been a wonderful experience, and I am very grateful to the NOAA science team (Taina, Darin, Kresimir, Rick, Anatoli, Kathy, and Dennis) for teaching me so much over these last three weeks. They have wonderful enthusiasm for their work and great dedication to doing great science! Not only do they work oh-so-very-hard, they are a really fun and personable group to be around! Many, many thanks to you all.
Thanks also go to my Teacher at Sea partner, Allan Phipps, for taking photos of me, brainstorming blog topics, helping out processing pollock during my shift, and other general good times. It was great to have another teacher on board to bounce ideas off of, and I learned a great deal about teaching in Southern Florida when we discussed our respective districts and schools.
I would also like to thank the NOAA officers and crew aboard the Oscar Dyson. I have really enjoyed learning about your roles on the ship over meals and snacks, as well as many chats on the bridge, deck, fish lab, lounge, and more. You are a very impressive and efficient group, with many fascinating stories to tell! I will look forward to monitoring the Dyson’s travels from Boston online, along with my students.
In the upcoming school year, students, you will learn how you can have a career working for NOAA, but you can start by reading about it here:
- NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
- NOAA Corps (the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps)
- Alaskan Fisheries Science Center (the research branch of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service dedicated to studying the North Pacific Ocean and East Bering Sea)
- MACE (the Midwater Assessment and Conservation Engineering program- the NOAA group of scientists I worked with- based in Seattle)
Special thanks to our Commanding Officer (CO) Mark Boland and Chief Scientist Taina Honkalehto for supporting the Teacher at Sea program. I know I speak on behalf of many teachers when I say there are many, many ways I will be bringing your work into the classroom, and I hope, helping recruit some of the next generation of NOAA officers and scientists!
There are many pictures I could leave you with, but I decided to only choose two- one of a lovely afternoon on deck in the Bering Sea, and the other, of course, one more of me with a pollock head!
Last, but not least….