Jennifer Fry: March 17, 2012, Oscar Elton Sette

These crustaceans are sorting into a tray then measured for length (mm), volume (ml), and mass (g).

Mission: Fisheries Study
Geographical area of cruise: American Samoa
Date: March 17, 2012

Pago Pago, American Samoa

Cobb Trawl Day 6

Location: Wet Lab

Poetry into the Wee Hours of the Night

Here’s the data from Cobb Trawl Day: 6.1                                                                                        Total mass of trawl: 490 g

Name of fish: Numbers Count Volume (milliliters) Mass (grams)
Myctophids 124 140 150
Non-Myctophids 58 80 75
Crustaceans 14 negl negl
Cephalopods: 10 30 30
Gelatinous zooplankton 59 104 100
Misc. zooplankton n/a 60 97

Animals seen:

Lizard fish

Light fish

Mantis shrimp

Ctenophore/ comb jellies

Stomatopod

This coronet fish, in its larval form, was found in the Cobb trawl net.

The snipe eel is one the longer fish we caught measuring 150 mm.

The snipe eel mouth is shown close-up.

Scientists sort the nightly catch after each Cobb trawl. Trays are used to divide into each catagory: myctophids, non-myctophids, crustaceans, cephalopods, gelatinous zooplankton, and misc. zooplankton

Cob Trawl Day 6.2 :Total Mass 1035 g

Name of fish: Numbers Count Volume (milliliters) Mass (grams)
Myctophids 385 300 232
Non-Myctophids 51 60 70
Crustaceans 17 6 7
Cephalopods: 32 26 55
Gelatinous zooplankton 122 400 405
Misc. zooplankton n/a 240 225

Animals seen:

Trumpet / coronet fish

Snip eel

Salps

Balloon squid

Fulmar bird

This fulmer bird landed on the deck of the ship during nighttime Cobb net trawling.

Poetry into the Wee Hours of the Night: A collaborative effort:

“The Cobb Trawl Net” / With my week nearly over working  on the Cobb Trawl Net, I asked the scientists to join me in writing some scientific poetry about the operation.   The Cobb Trawl Net operation is overseen by John Denton and Aimee Hoover. The net is brought out of the water twice during the wee hours of the night, using a large noisy winch which certainly disturbs the slumber of those light-sleepers on the ship.  Coinciding with the Cobb Trawl Net activities are  nightly Plankton Tows.

 “I Wander Lonely as a Plankton” and “Plankton Mother”  honor the various types of plankton and microplastics that Emily Norton and Louise Giuseffi are studying.  We have been towing in different regions of American Samoan seas.  One area is called 2% Bank.  The other banks are called Northwest Bank and  Southbank.

“Myctohpids” / Since most of the bio-mass of the ocean is taken up by the little myctohpid fish, they are represented with an acrostic poem.  The poems show a passion for science and the research being conducted here in American Samoa.  I truly thank these scientists, John, Aimee, Emily, and Louise for their teachings, patience, and sheer enthusiasm for their scientific projects.

The Cobb Trawl Net

inspired by” The Fog” by Carl Sandberg

The trawl net comes in on thundering howl

The great black maw

Grinding and snarling brings in its folded catch,

The ocean’s toothy offering from the liquid, teeming abyss.

I Wander Lonely as a Plankton

Inspired by “I Wander Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth

I wander lonely as a copepod

That floats high and low in the sapphire blue water column ofAmerican Samoa

When all at once I saw a school

A host of dog tooth tuna

Along the 2% Bank

Beneath the NOAA ship OscarElton Sette

Thunniform undulation and escaping through the gently rolling waves.

Plankton Mother

 

Meticulously, she guards her catch

A treasure trove of tiny beasts

Carefully each dish is filled for observation.

Peering through the powerful microscope the

Blinking, pulsing Cephalopods, the cobalt Copepods, and spiral, conical Pteropods

So fragile to the touch

Tweezers carefully coax each delicate specimen into position

Checking for morphological traits

Does it have…

…Mysterious dark organ on its tiny body?

…Pointy sword-like structure on its rostrum?

The newly found charge is preserved in a viscous solution

Our link to plankton’s DNA

 transcriptome: all our DNA used to make proteins,

the building blocks of life

life’s basic units for construction

Myctophids

 

 Multitudes of  photophores, cup-shaped light emitting organs of epidermal origin.  Many many  millions of  blinking dots

Yellow irises look  with dreamy eyes like a  glazed over donut.

Clues to many different species found in the mesopelagic layer of the deep, ebony ocean.

The ctenoid scales possessing sharp, spiky spines

Out of the obsidian shoots the silver sprites, the beautiful slender fish

Prickly long-tailed myctophids with their stern-chasers, supracaudal/infracaudal luminous organs

Hungry for krill, small crustaceans, copepods and other planktonic creatures

Iridescent

Densly packed balls of gleaming, pulsing Actinopterygians A.K.A.  Actinops

Schooling,  synchronistic swimmers, tiny voices of light circumgloabally distributed around the world, cosmopolites.

A collaboration by:

John Denton, Emily Norton, Aimee Hoover,  Megan Duncan, Louise Guiseffi, and Jennifer Fry

Jennifer Fry: March 16, 2012, Oscar Elton Sette

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jennifer Fry
Onboard NOAA Ship, Oscar Elton Sette
March 12 – March 26, 2012

Mission: Fisheries Study
Geographical area of cruise: American Samoa
Date: March 16, 2012

Pago Pago, American Samoa

Science and Technology Log:

The day began on the Oscar Elton Sette with the small boat going  Pago Pago harbor to re-fuel and collect supplies.  That’s about the time I went to sleep. My own day started by waking up at 5:00 p.m. to rougher seas and unfortunately feeling a bit queasy.  I took a walk outside hoping to get a bit of fresh air and relief. A gently rain fell as I peered over the ship’s railings.  Thankfully the strong wind on my face helped my uneasiness.

Midwater Cobb Trawl 5.1

Animals Seen:

Squid

Trigger fish juvenile

Morey eel larvae

Pyrosome, various sizes

Puffer fish juvenile

Mola  (sunfish)  juvenile

Data collected Trawl 5.1

The data collected included:

Name of fish: Numbers Count Volume (milliliters) Mass (grams)
Myctophids 118 120 135
Non-Myctophids 81 46 60
Crustaceans 5 Negl Negl
Cephalopods:. . 14 32 60
Gelatinous zooplankton 51 114 85
Misc. zooplankton n/a 160 185

Data Collected  Trawl 5.2

The data collected included:

Name of fish: Numbers Count Volume (milliliters) Mass (grams)
Myctophids 168 200 254
Non-Myctophids 209 130 125
Crustaceans 14 6 17
Cephalopods: 14 200 230
Gelatinous zooplankton 58 38 35
Misc. zooplankton n/a 366 365

The first trawl began a 9:00 p.m. and the second at approx. 1:30 a.m.

Some very interesting specimens were in the net including:

  • A variety of  squid: the largest measuring approx. 12 inches with out the tentacles,
  • one  juvenile trigger fish
  • 350 mm viper fish
  • Pyrosomes of various sizes
  • One juvenile puffer fish
  • Several Morey eel juvenile
  • Two juvenile sun-fish, Mola

While retrieving the trawl nets a light, warm rain sprinkled on us.  We worked very hard, yet had an amazing amount of fun.  Researchers Emily Norton and Louise Giuseffi joined during the tow.  I think the saying goes, “The more scientists the merrier.” 

While we measured, weighed, collected data, and examined our catch,  songs emanated from the iPod  playing in the wet-lab.  As lengths and weights were recorded, voices sang along  to the tunes into the wee hours of the morning.  The theme  song for tonight was Green Day’s  “Hope you Had the Time of Your Life.”

I certainly am.

Everyone teacher needs to be a NOAA Teacher at Sea to experience first hand the amazing work scientists do each day.

It is now 11 :59 a.m. and time for sleep.

 So much excitement, so many fish, so little time.

Scientist, Aimee Hoover is ready to input data from the midwater Cobb trawl which includes temperature and depth.

Pictured are American Samoan scientist, Sione "Juice" Lam Yuen and a squid found in the Cobb trawl net. Sione is ready to weigh and measure the squid.

Jennifer Fry: March 14, 2012, “Pi Day” 3.14, Oscar Elton Sette

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jennifer Fry
Onboard NOAA Ship, Oscar Elton Sette
March 12 – March 26, 2012

Mission: Fisheries Study
Geographical area of cruise: American Samoa
Date: March 14, 2012

At Sea: Pago Pago, American Samoa

Science and Technology Log:

My current assignment aboard ship is helping the scientists with the “Nighttime Cobb Trawling”  We conduct two trawls in the night, the first one beginning around 9:00 p.m. and the second one at 1:30 a.m..  After each trawl which lasts 2 hours, the nets are brought up and we sort the catch.  The scientists are looking for migration patterns and types of sea life in this region.  Not much data has been collected  in American Samoa.

There are 3 other  scientists working on this project.

John Denton, is from the Natural History Museum in New York.

Aimee Hoover works for University of Hawaii.

Sione “Juice” Lam Yuen and Faleselau “House” or “Fale” Tuilagi are from the Fisheries Dept .in American Samoa.

The two trawls exaimine five species of fish:

  1. Myctophid fish
  2.  non-myctophid fish
  3.  crustaceans
  4.  gelatinous zooplankton
  5.  cephalopods

During one of the trawls the other night, they think they found a new species of myctophid fish. These fish have photophores which make them glow in the dark.  They are anywhere from 4-5 inches to very tiny, 1 inch.

Myctophids are among the most numerous fish in the sea. They have specific light producing organs called photophores.

After 4 days on the  night shift, I’m getting into the groove.  Going to sleep at 6 a.m. and waking up at 1:00 p.m.

It’s crazy.  Last night we did 2 trawls for fish.  We caught a huge fish, approx 4 feet in diameter, called a Sharptail mola, Masturus lanceolatus or Sunfish.  The scientists and crew were able to  free him and let him go back into the ocean. Click here to see the exciting video of the release of the Mola: Releasing the  Sharptail mola, Masturus lanceolatus/ Sun-fish

During tonight's Cobb trawl a sharp-tailed mola was caught in the net. The crew and scientists aided in freeing the fish allowing him to swim away. Mola can reach 100 years old.

When conducting a scientific experiment it is very important to maintain the same procedure or protocol.  This allows the scientist to measure only that which he/she is interested in, keeping all constants the same.

Here is the procedure or protocol for each Midwater Cobb Trawl:

1. Secure the TDR and Netminds tracking devices to  the trawl net Let out the trawl net, timing for 30 minutes at 350 meters of “wire out.”

2.  Ask the bridge and trawl net operator to raise the net line to 100 meters “wire out.”

3.  Time the trawling for additional 30 minutes.

4.  Once the trawl net has been hauled in:

5. Cut away the TDR and Netminds tracking devices: Their data is read on the computer.   Helping scientists determine temperature, depth   for each trawl.

6. Working together, scientist and crew members collect the specimens caught is the Cobb net.

7. The fish collected are taken to the wet lab and strained into a net that is in turn poured into examining trays.

8. Scientists then collect data including: weight (volume & mass), length (centimeters) ,  and count the number of each species recording the

minimum and maximum lengths.

9.   The scientists preserve each group of fish in ethanol/ ethyl alcohol  which eases transportation and preserves the fish for further study back in the lab.

Personal Log:

I’ve switched to working the night shift, tonight being the third night.  It’s getting a little easier, although we all still get punchy around 3-4 a.m.  I am scheduled to work nights until next Monday.  We will continue counting the fish, setting the trawl nets out, imputing the data, preserving the fish.  All very interesting work.

Animals Seen:

Sharptail mola, Masturus lanceolatus fish

Moorish Idol fish

Two Moorish Idol fish were caught in the Cobb Trawl net. Their colors were brilliant including their unique dorsal filament.