Thursday, September 23, 2010

Georges Bank Krill

Gareth here, writing from Georges Bank, where we're at sea on a 10-day cruise on the R/V Endeavor, a 185-foot research vessel operated by the University of Rhode Island. We have reason to believe from observations made by our colleagues at National Marine Fisheries Service that there are large aggregations of krill that form on the northwestern slope of Georges Bank and in the southern Gulf of Maine during this time of year. The goal of our work out here is to understand the interplay of physical and biological factors that lead to the formation of these krill aggregations, and to understand how they interact with higher predators, including fish, marine mammals, and seabirds.

R/V Endeavor tied up in Narragansett, Rhode Island

To address these questions, we are doing survey work to map out the distribution of the krill and their predators. For the krill, we have a number of different instruments to map them, including two kinds of echosounders (multi-frequency and broadband), a video system, as well as a plankton net. Then to understand the krill's physical environment, we have a Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) instrument to measure the salinity and temperature of the water, as well as an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) to measure currents. And finally for the higher predators, we have two marine mammal observers and one bird observer. All told we have a lot of gear -- just getting the instruments to the ship required a 20 foot truck!

Over the next few days, myself and others in our team will be posting about what we're learning and life at sea. Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment