Blog on ocean conditions along the Newport Line and the northern CA Current.
Last week we went out on the fishing vessel Timmy Boy as part of our quarterly sampling funded by the NOAA Cooperative Research program. This program fosters collaborations between scientists and the fishing community to share our collective knowledge. It is our 3rd year being funded by this program and we have benefited greatly from the relationships that have formed. Click here to read about a previous trip aboard the Timmy Boy and to learn more about the benefits of this program.
During this trip, we sampled both the seafloor with a video beam trawl system, looking for newly settled flatfishes, and the water column with plankton nets and a CTD to characterize the pelagic habitat and to sample for zooplankton and larval fishes.
We were lucky to get out between squalls and the ocean became flatter and flatter throughout the day. Our last beam trawl of the day sampled a recently established sand dollar bed. We have been sampling monthly since 2008, and only in the last year, have we started observing such large aggregations of sand dollars at our 30 and 40 meter stations off Moolack Beack, just north of Yaquina Head. Sand dollars were not the only thing we collected, we also caught quite a few newly-settled juveniles of commercially important flatfishes indicating that possibly the sand dollars provide good habitat for these fishes.
As the sun was setting, we'd normally continue sampling farther offshore out to 85 miles. However, this night, we headed in after going only 15 miles because it was forecasted to blow 35 kts the following day. Right now, we are constantly checking the weather to find the next window when we can get back out and finish sampling the remainder of the transect.