Sunday, June 12, 2016

Armstrong Cruise - Preparations

The sailing date is approaching (Friday 6/17).  The biological sampling in this cruise will involve optics, acoustics and net hauls. In addition to the scientific objectives, a thorough evaluation of the sampling capabilities of the new R/V Neil Armstrong is expected. Therefore it is important to get all the instruments ready for deployment before setting out. After several pre-cruise meetings at WHOI, the preparations are getting more intense as the sailing date approaches. Gareth Lawson, the PI of the survey makes relentless efforts to make sure everything runs smoothly and in line with the calendar.
The brand-new research vessel of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Gareth describes the aim of this cruise as folows "The overall objective of this cruise is to test and evaluate the R/V Armstrong for inter-disciplinary bio-physical-acoustical research. We therefore plan to collect a variety of acoustic, biological, chemical, and physical data near the Pioneer Array and adjacent survey locations at the New England shelf break and slope. If successful this will allow us to characterize the abundance, distribution, and vertical movements of zooplankton and micronekton concurrent to observations of physical processes and chemical conditions, with particular focus on krill, meso-pelagic fish, and ichthyoplankton (i.e., larval fish)."
Installation of the the MOCNESS frames

For net sampling three different systems will be used including mid-water trawl and ring net and two sizes of MOCNESS. MOCNESS is a multiple zooplankton net with a remotely operated closing mechanism. This net enables stratified sampling with a real-time depth control. It also carries a CTD which provide also real-time measurements that are valuable for decision making during the sampling. The communication with the MOCNESS and data acquisition is made through the cable which is also used to haul the net. Two types of MOCNESS will be tested during the cruise: 1mopening and 10 m2 opening. The large MOCNESS is particularly effective in collecting micro-nekton samples. During the first and second week of the June, these nets were installed and tested at the dock prior to embarking. Peter Wiebe, a senior scientist at WHOI, meticulously led the preparations of these net systems
Christy and Alex are  tightening the bolts.
See the details in the video below.
Peter worked enthusiastically during the installation of the MOCNESS and taught the essentials to Christy, Alex and Serdar. Although Alex is not joining to the cruise, he kindly helped for the installation of the 1mMOCNESS. He used this net for collecting his Pteropods in earlier cruises (see the earlier blog posts!) that he attended for his PhD project.

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