Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Advanced Technologies Research Cruise to Cherry Bank

October 4-17, 2004

From October 4-17th, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) will lead an interdisciplinary team of scientists from Washington, Oregon, and California on an advanced technologies research cruise to explore a deepwater ecosystem, Cherry Bank, off the coast of Southern California. During this cruise, scientists will use in situ acoustic and optical instruments to better understand how these technologies can inform and improve assessments of fisheries and their ecosystems.

The team of scientists from NOAA's NWFSC, The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site University of Washington, The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site Oregon State University (OSU), The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site Oregon State Department of Fish and Wildlife, and The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site California State University's Moss Landing Marine Laboratories will depart from Newport, OR on October 4th and head south to Cherry Bank. Cherry Bank, about 100 nautical miles west of San Diego, is representative of deepwater rocky bank habitats that are home to a variety of commercially important fish species, including a diverse assemblage of rockfishes. Scientists from NOAA Fisheries Northwest and Southwest Fisheries Science Centers, in cooperation with geologists from OSU, mapped a number of banks in the Southern California Bight last year and identified Cherry Bank as a natural location for additional exploration.

Geologists, physical and biological oceanographers, and fisheries scientists will conduct their investigations off of the The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site R/V Thomas G. Thompson, a 274-foot research vessel owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by the University of Washington. The R/V Thompson has a variety of specialized laboratory spaces and a state-of-the-art sea floor mapping system. From this research platform, scientists will deploy a range of technologies that will sample an entire cross section of the ocean, from seafloor to surface, over Cherry Bank.

On the ocean floor, scientists will map the underwater terrain using the vessels' advanced mapping system. In addition, an advanced scientific remotely operated vehicle (ROV), with an array of sophisticated sampling equipment, will enable scientists to view benthic habitats and communities and collect specific samples of rock, sediment, and benthic organisms for later examination and analysis.

In the overlying ocean waters, scientists will use acoustic technologies to identify and track commercially important fish species and deep sound scattering layer organisms, which rise toward the surface in the evening and sink again at dawn. Scientists will also use a video plankton recorder (VPR) (manufactured by SeaScan Inc. in Falmouth, MA) to investigate zooplankton communities. The VPR is an imaging system that simultaneously collects images of plankton and information on the physical properties of the water column.

Application of this suite of advanced technologies by this interdisciplinary team of scientists will provide a unique profile of the geological, physical, chemical, and biological systems of Cherry Bank. To assist in the acquisition, storage, and future dissemination of this data, an information technology representative from the NWFSC will be onboard. In addition, while conducting the cruise, scientists will receive near real-time remote sensing data from NOAA's Pacific Fisheries Environmental Laboratory to optimize scientific operations.

After nearly two-weeks, the R/V Thompson will return to Port Angeles, WA on October 17th. Scientists will then examine the data and work with museum experts and others to ensure collected samples are accurately identified and preserved for future analysis.

3D visualization integrating the broad array data collected during the 2004 Advanced Technologies Cruise aboard the R/V Thompson at Cherry Bank, California that focused on technology and data integration for fisheries research. Multi-beam imagery acquired with both SM2000 shallow water sonar on a smaller vessel (during Fall 2003) and EM 300 mid-range sonar on the R/V Thompson. Three out of a total of five Simrad EK 60 38 kHz hydroacoustic tracks are shown; the EK60 is quantitative sonar used to measure fish biomass. Black arrows show current velocities and direction measured with an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler or ADCP (scale not shown due to the perspective view). CTD locations and vertical chlorophyll gradients are shown as vertical "sticks". Other data included are areas of operation for the ROPOS ROV. (high resolution PDF)
Image of Southern California Bight area courtesy of Dr. Chris Goldfinger and Jason Chaytor of Oregon State University's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences(high resolution jpg)
R/V Thomas G. Thompson