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 13, 2010

A HAPPY Valentine's Day

Deploying the BotCam. It's in the top of the photo, dangling from the crane.

The camera team got spectacular results with the BotCam and the BRUVs. I got to watch just a bit of the footage this morning. Everyone is talking about the great shot from the BotCam showing the stern of the ship and the propeller as the camera descends, then fading and picking up the sea floor. (You can see this video clip here.) The BotCam filmed lots of fish and a spotted eagle ray too.

Steve and Sparky preparing the BRUV for deployment.

The BRUV footage is beautifully clear. I watched only a short section and saw a white tip reef shark, grey reef shark, barracuda, red snapper (Lutjanus bojar), grouper and dogtooth tuna. Also seen were unicornfishes, groupers, Tanguisson wrasses and lots of tangs and butterflyfishes. The depth of the cameras was about 200feet.

Earlier today, the AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) was deployed. It travels the sea floor following a pre-programmed path for about 4 hours . It keeps itself about 8feet off the bottom. Unfortunately, it was not communicating with the ship, so it had to be retrieved for repairs. In 5 minutes they will deploy the TOAD. I’ll be back. Well, that was great fun and it worked perfectly. The TOAD (Towed Optical Assessment Device) lets us watch the video as the camera is towed above the sea floor. The ship was just drifting at a good speed for the camera. One of the scientists works the controls to keep the TOAD just a few feet off the bottom. This gives great video of the bottom cover, but the fish seem to shy from it. We did see some triggerfishes, jobfishes and a beautiful ray. We spent two hours watching the sea floor starting in an area about 90 feet deep with a lot of coral. We passed through a large sand flat and then dropped off the edge. It got deep so fast that the camera could not be lowered fast enough to keep sight of the bottom. The crew is bringing the TOAD back aboard and soon we will be working with the multibeam sonar to complete the map of Galvez Bank.


Shark Feet said...

Ms. Tatreau,
Happy Valentines Day! Wow, seems like you're have a lot of fun. How is the trip so far? Well, be safe!

Good Morning Moncia,
Great to hear from you. How are you doing with Mr. LeGrande in the classroom? I haven’t heard a word from him. Life on the ship is really interesting. I am learning a lot which I will share on this blog and in the classroom. I am taking a lot of pictures and I just learned how to add video clips to the blog. Check out the video of the botcam dropping in behind the ship and reaching the bottom.

Shark Feet said...

Wow, that video was cool. Though it could have been better if the fishes weren't shy, hehe. Does each crew member have a certain duty? What would be your duty, Ms. Tatreau?

Hi Ritz,
Glad you liked the video. That one we liked because of the transition from seeing the stern of the ship and the propellers, and then fading into the seafloor. The fish weren’t really shy, just far away from the camera. The next video I will upload, has lots of fish and they aren’t the least bit shy. I hope to have that up soon. Each member of the ship’s crew and the science team has very specific duties, but everyone is willing to help everyone else in any way that’s needed. This is a very friendly and cooperative group of people. My main duty is to maintain the blog. We want Guam and the CNMI to know what’s happening out here. I too, am getting a lot of help because I have never blogged before. Hence, I am learning about marine science and the internet too.

Shark Feet said...

Ms. Tatreau!
Did you make it to the boat late? Mr. LeGrande told us that they called him asking for you. I thought they were going to leave without you, but they obviously didn't. I hope you're having a good time. Did you take a lot of pictures already? Is the water rough?
Chelsea Rae-5

Hi Chelsea,
Thanks for writing. Now read what’s happening on the cruise and ask questions about the science. I wasn’t late. There are 41 people on this ship and not all of them knew my arrival time. I have lots of pictures to share when I return. The swell is running about 7 feet which makes me stagger a bit when I walk but no one is sea sick. The wind producing these swells is normal for this time of year.

Shark Feet said...

Hey everyone......
I wanted to say Happy Valentines day even though im a bit late. I wanted to find out the schedule on the ship. In the ooze cruise you had a four hour duty watch and an 8 hour break alternating with everyone. How is the schedule in thiis expedition? Are there certain duties you have to do, is there a schedule followed? Oh and hows the food! :)

Hi Mar,
I am living on Chamorro-time but the boat and this computer are on GMT so your Valentine’s wish was right on time. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) started in Greenwich, England in1884. GMT is sometimes called Greenwich Meridian Time because it is measured from the Greenwich Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. Greenwich is the place from where all time zones are measured. The ship’s crew work a set schedule so there are people working and people sleeping all the time. The science team schedules are varied. The map makers are working round-the-clock so they have specific work times. Most of the equipment is being deployed during the day so these people have more normal schedules. I too am working days and sleeping nights. This easy schedule will end soon as the AUV operations will be switching to night operations. The food? Beautiful buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner and after eating all we have to do is rinse our plates. No one will go hungry on this trip.