Blog on ocean conditions along the Newport Line and the northern CA Current.
We've recently returned from a 10 day research survey aboard the NOAA ship Bell M. Shimada. We boarded the ship in San Francisco and sampled a series of transects on our way to Newport, OR. Sampling along the way included CTD casts to monitor changing water properties; plankton nets to monitor zooplankton, fish larvae, pyrosomes and microplastics; benthic beam trawls to monitor newly settled flatfish; and continuous marine mammal observations.
Unfortunately, the slow Internet precluded real-time blogging, so we've compiled a short summary here with some picture highlights below.
The water column was well mixed, cool, and clear along the CA transects but transitioned to a stratified water column, heavy phytoplankton production inshore, and relatively warm water north of the Rogue River transect.
The copepod community appears to be in a transitionary state. While, we've encountered NW winds signaling upwelling, the copepod community has not yet transitioned into the summer cold water community. Centropages abdominalis is the dominant species in the copepod community with a few cold water species, but not the high densities that signal the community has completely shifted from a warm water dominated winter community to a cold water dominated upwelling community.
Pyrosomes were encountered at most of the Oregon stations beginning ~10 miles from shore. The colonies were quite large (100 - 300 mm) and appeared robust and healthy. We observed the pyrosomes hanging out inches from the seabed along the inshore stations during the day from the beam trawl video footage, while they were observed on the surface at some stations during the night. Dead/decaying pyrosomes were collected at the inshore stations with the beam trawls.
Dungeness crab megalopae were collected in high abundance at many of the stations and newly settled juveniles were collected in high densities with the beam trawl at the inshore stations off the Newport Line.