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Earth Science Applications Travelogue: Day 9: Monday May 19
May 19, 2014

[image-51][image-78][image-142][image-94][image-110][image-126]Today is my next to last day to work with the day watch science team sampling for Atlantic Bluefin tuna larvae. The previous 9 days have gone by quickly, especially after calmer seas were found and we were able to sample regularly.

Early Sunday evening six more Bluefin larvae were found that continue the pattern of finding small numbers of the Bluefin tuna larvae at some sampling stations. The chief scientist continues to search for a location with larger numbers of the Bluefin larvae (100 or more) that would confirm a spawning “hotspot.” Sunday night into early Monday morning efforts to find significant Bluefin spawning activity (large number of larvae) were unsuccessful.

Yellowfin and Blackfin larvae were found and several interesting species such as the unique and mysterious Louvar fish (thanks to Joel Llopiz). The Louvar fish is pink in color and has a bulging forehead. Louvar is seldom found in fish markets and typically is caught as a bycatch (caught in net randomly), however, it is prized as an eating fish.

Monday afternoon 14 Bluefin larvae were found near the edge of an eddy feature approximately due south of the Mississippi River outflow off the continental shelf (coordinates 28 18.31 N 088 15.68 W). An additional 22 Bluefin larvae, including 19 at one station, were collected in nearby regions of this eddy shown in Roffers’ satellite imagery (see image).

The best success is occurring just outside the chlorophyll plume where the water begins to change from a greenish blue to a deep blue color. We hope to continue building on these successes with additional sampling Monday evening and Tuesday.

Research cruises offer great opportunities for students to contribute to research efforts and gain valuable experience in marine field operations. Three students and one recent graduate are on board supporting the 2014 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Larval Ecology cruise. Three students are from the University of Miami, Sarah Privoznik, Justin Suca, and Kathryn Doering and one student from Oregon State University, LaTreese Denson. 

Sarah is pursuing a Masters of Professional Science in Marine Biology and Fisheries at the University of Miami. She has worked in Dr. Lamkin’s Early Life History lab at the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) in Miami, FL for five years and is currently the lab manager. Sarah enjoys evaluating live samples and especially likes to find the colorful Ribbon Fish. She also previously served as a bat girl for the very successful Hurricanes baseball team.

Latreese is a graduate student at Oregon State University seeking a Master’s degree in Fisheries Science and plans to pursue a doctorate. Latreese was previously the recipient of the NOAA Hollings Scholarship and is being sponsored on this cruise by the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center. On this cruise, she is gaining valuable marine field experience and enjoys meeting and learning from the diverse members of the science team on board.

Kathryn Doering is a recent graduate of the University of Miami with a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science and Biology.  Kathryn works for the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) at the University of Miami and supports Dr. Lamkin’s NOAA Early Life History lab. She enjoys participating in sampling cruises and especially likes to evaluate live marine samples to make the connection between laboratory research and the living marine environment.

Justin Suca is an undergraduate student at the University of Miami majoring in Marine Science and Biology with a minor in chemistry and math. He is a 2014 recipient of the NOAA Hollings scholarship. While part of the cruise science team, Justin is particularly interested in physical oceanographic conditions and how these features relate to Bluefin tuna and other fisheries. 

As a souvenir for the cruise and activity to demonstrate the effects of water depth on pressure, everyone on board was invited to apply artistic designs of their choice to one or more 8.5-ounce Styrofoam cups. The Styrofoam cups were attached to the CTD (science instrument measuring physical conditions in the water column) and lowered with the instrument to a depth of 1500 meters at a sampling station. The cups shrank to miniature size and provided a nice keepsake from the cruise for the science team members and a souvenir to share with family and friends (see photos of cups before and after the pressure of 1500 meters of sea water). 

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Map of May 19 sampling area in the Gulf of Mexico.
Roffers’ satellite image. Black oval denotes sampling area for Monday afternoon/evening.
Image Credit: 
Maury Estes
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Sarah Privoznik working S10 net tow.
Sarah Privoznik working S10 net tow.
Image Credit: 
Maury Estes
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Kathryn Doering collecting water samples from CTD at sunrise.
Kathryn Doering collecting water samples.
Image Credit: 
NOAA/Aras Zygas
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Denis Ilias preps Styrofoam cups for deployment to 1500 meters on the CTD.
Denis Ilias preps Styrofoam cups for deployment to 1500 meters on the CTD.
Image Credit: 
Maury Estes
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The effect of pressure at 1500 meters on a 8.5-ounce Styrofoam cup.
The effect of pressure at 1500 meters on a 8.5-ounce Styrofoam cup.
Image Credit: 
Maury Estes
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LaTreese Denson and Justin Suca preparing to launch a WOCE drift buoy.
LaTreese Denson and Justin Suca preparing to launch a WOCE drift buoy.
Image Credit: 
Maury Estes
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Page Last Updated: May 20th, 2014
Page Editor: Brooke Boen