About this Cruise

This month-long cruise aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette brings together six diverse teams to survey fish populations using non-catch methods. Traditionally, fish populations have been assessed by catching fish, visiting fish markets and interviewing fishermen. Chief Scientist Scott Ferguson hopes to support Guam and the CNMI in monitoring their natural resources using non-extractive methods. The ship will also use multibeam sonar to map areas that are important fishery resources hopefully to include Galvez Bank, offshore slopes near Rota, and the banks of Farallon de Medinilla.

The survey methods include BotCams and BRUVs, two systems that put baited cameras on the bottom, and a TOAD which is a camera towed near the seafloor . An Autonomous Underwater Vehicle will travel on its own via computer programming and bring back photographs and video. Additionally, acoustic methods will be used to survey fish in the water column.

This expedition brings together scientists from NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and Northwest Fisheries Science Center, as well as the University of Hawaii’s Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, the University of Guam Marine Lab, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Yesterday was a picture perfect day at sea. The sunrise was accompanied by 6 dolphins frolicking in front of the bow. The day was sunny, the sea was calm and we could see the bottom in 100 feet of water. It doesn’t get better. Steve and Sparky are preparing video clips from the BRUVs. New footage shows a feeding frenzy of snappers and at one point, a stingray parks itself on top of the bait bag. I am anxious to post these clips, but I must be patient. The BRUV boys and the BotCam girl have 85 hours of video to watch. Analyzing it will take much longer.

The preliminary bathymetric map of Galvez Bank is completed and shown below.

There is a new page on the blog. Click on the page titled, “Mutibeam Sonar.” Joyce Miller gives the basic information on how the multibeam works and how they generate these great bathymetric maps.

We have said good-bye to Galvez Banks and, after a bit of multibeam work west of Guam in the middle of the night, we are cruising towards Rota.

Steve swinging in the long-line pit. This is the area that is used for recovery of the BotCams, BRUVs and the AUV. On other expedtions the area is actually used for long-line fishing as a survey method.

Pet guppies getting some sun and enjoying the view on the ship's deck.


Shark Feet said...

Hey ms.tatreau,
the pictures you put up are cool. It must be real exciting being on a ship. The class Is doing good, a lot of work. Just kidding. I miss the daily puzzles but hope your having fun and being safe.
Jerome C-3

Hi Jerome,
I’m glad you like the pictures. I will be posting the AUV photos later today. They are interesting because they were taken by a robot. The AUV is down for about 4 hours and takes a picture every 5 seconds. It isn’t known how the flash affects the behavior of the fish.
Fun and safe―you bet: The ship’s slogan? Safety First! My slogan? Fun First!

Shark Feet said...

Hiii Ms. Tatreau,
I can see you're having fun on your trip. I saw the mahi mahi and it looked pretty big. It's almost bigger than me. I was reading your reply to Tito about the cost and WOW! That's a lot of money. I just want to know who paid for all of that. They must be rich. The Nereus sounds interesting. I was wondering if you and the people on the boat are going to be able to use it. That sounds cool.
Chelsea Rae-5

Hi Chelsea,
Only the guppies are smaller than you :)
The money to fund this expedition comes from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) marine fisheries budget to assess fish populations. It isn’t cheap, but it’s really important survey fish populations so we can protect them.
The Nereus isn’t with us on this trip. It went to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in May of 2009. I was there and I will share that trip with you when I return to Guam.

Shark Feet said...

Hi Ms. Tatreau,
I am very interested in Seabed.
I was wondering, how many photos has Seabed captured since you have set sail?

Hi Tanya,
It has been amazing watching the AUV SeaBed at work. The scientists tell it where to go, it does and then it comes back. It takes one picture every 5 seconds. It has made 5 successful dives for a total of about 15 hours. I’ll let you do the math. It is scheduled to go out again tonight to deeper water off the island of Rota.

Shark Feet said...

Hi Ms. Tatreau!
Good video, We all miss you VERY MUCH.
LOVE, Charmaine-6

Hi Charmaine,
I miss you too. If you liked the BotCam video, wait until you see the one we just added. The first video clip of the BRUVs: sharks, barracuda, and a big snapper!

Shark Feet said...

ello Ms. Tatreau! zis is Kris...aka the famous "TREE"! i thought the video was ok but since my computer kind of...you know...sucks...i only got to see part of it. hmm...i miss buying kimchee bowl. Hurry up and get back so you can tell us all about your wonderful trip!
Kris Laguana-5

Hi Kris,
You need to find a friend with a faster internet connection so you can watch the videos. I just added a new clip from the BRUV. It’s short but really fun. Yesterday, they dropped a BRUV and within minutes something big grabbed the bait bag, ripped it off the pole and carried it away. The camera filmed the action, but I don't have a copy of that (yet).

Shark Feet said...

Nice pictures. Would be nice if the dolphins were seen in the picture, hehe. I clicked the multibeam page. The boat looks like floating. By the way, what's a guppy?

Hi Ritz,
I agree―pictures of the dolphins would have been nice. Yesterday evening, one of the ship’s crew saw a whale breach. I was disappointed to have missed that. Whale sightings are rare for Guam and the populated islands of the CNMI. A guppy is a small, fresh water fish common in ponds. People keep them as pets because they are easy to raise and some species are quite colorful. The smallest aquarium in our classroom has guppies in it. I fed them to the stonefishes until they learned to eat chopped squid.

Shark Feet said...

How's it going Ms Tatreau!
I hope you're doing fine aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette and having lots of fun studying the population of our fish. I wish you could bring us back some stuff from your stay there, be it from the ship or from the ocean. We miss you in class please be safe.
Odessa S-3

Hi Odessa,
It’s nice to hear from you. If you’ve been following the blog, you know that everything is going great. I am having an incredibly good time and learning a lot. So far, we haven’t collected any “stuff”―only data. That’s the purpose of this trip―surveying fish populations without catching the fish. Oh yes, I am taking a lot of pictures and I will bring those back to share.