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Earth Science Applications Travelogue: Day 3: Tuesday, May 13
May 14, 2014

[image-51]Seas have calmed to 3-4 foot swells. Around midday we are approximately due south of the boot of Louisiana headed east still on the shelf. Chief scientist has advised that we will begin sampling early Wednesday morning, the estimated time to reach the first station. Moving east to this location should spare us from the worst of the storm front expected to move through the northern Gulf on Wednesday. Roffer’s latest satellite image is enclosed, which is helping to determine sampling location taking into account weather and physical oceanographic features. Everyone is ready for calmer seas and to get to work collecting and processing samples.

Several of the science team brought fishing gear setup for trolling and one of the crew does longline fishing. Today three Blackfin Tuna were caught, which provided some fresh fish for all.

While this project features development of satellite data products by Mitch Roffer and team and the use of these products by John Lamkin and team at NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center, there is significant international participation and interest. The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna are managed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) and this project will enhance input to ICCAT from Gulf of Mexico and nearby Atlantic and Caribbean regions. 

One of the international researchers this year is Raul Laiz Carrion for the Spanish Institute of Oceanography. Raul is working on growth and physiology and fish larval ecology with especial interest in trophic interactions in early life stages on small pelagic species as sardine an anchovy and top predators as tunas species (bullet or bluefin) or hake. Dr. Carrion’s research activity is focused on the study of the marine fish larval and juvenile ecology, with special interest in daily growth and trophic interactions with different plankton fractions and in different apical species cohabiting Bluefin tuna. He is participating in the project “Assessment of the Atlantic bluefin tuna population breeding in the western Mediterranean (ATAME)”, where one of the objectives is to determine the effect of food availability and nutritional potential on trophic ecology of bluefin tuna larvae.” Under this scenario and in collaboration with NOAA an experiment is being developed to compare two bluefin breeding habitats: Gulf of Mexico and western Mediterranean, under the trophic point of view using stable isotopes analysis.

Finally, I am preparing and sending blogs and photos from the ship’s lab area, which is a general work area for all science team members. More later on ship operations and photos from the bridge, galley, etc. plus sampling operations beginning Wednesday. Feeling much better today and hopefully beginning to get my “sea legs.”

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Applied scientist Maury Estes poses with blackfin tuna caught off the coast of Louisiana.
Applied scientist Maury Estes poses with blackfin tuna caught off the coast of Louisiana.
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Maury Estes
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Page Last Updated: May 15th, 2014
Page Editor: Brooke Boen