Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Newportal Blog

A gateway to oceanographic adventures from the Newport Line and beyond

Blog on ocean conditions along the Newport Line and the northern CA Current.

Surfing with the plankton

By Ric Brodeur and Jessica Luo
June 16, 2016

We are making progress on our second full day of sampling.  We worked off of Gold Beach (lat. 43.5 N) in Southern Oregon under mostly clear skies and light winds so we are thankful for that.  Not too much in the way of avian activity on the birding transects but we did see a large aggregation of humpback whales as well as some Orcas that passed by fairly close to the ship. 

Figure 1. We sampled from inshore to offshore so inshore is to the right and offshore is to the left on this plot. We sampled some distinct thin layers of high productivity in the inshore waters, and went through some dense doliolid (salp) and shrimp patches (images below).

The In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (with the unfortunate acronym of ISIIS) that was described in the last posting has been generating some interesting data as it undulates up and down across the shelf region on its daily run.  The deployments have been accomplished with excellent skills by the deck crew and officers. Curtis Roegner of NOAA took a great time-laspe video of a deployment that we'll post once we overcome a couple technical difficulties (on the land-side). The video that the instrument provides us shows amazing clear images of small and medium sized plankton and their spatial orientation and distribution patterns providing a new tool for looking at plankton in ways never before possible with traditional nets. 

Figure 3. Two crustaceans in the middle of a patch. Top left: Euphausiid (also known as krill, probably Thysonoessa spinifera), and bottom right: Pandalid shrimp. 

Figure 2. Larval fish in the middle of a patch of doliolids and diatom chains. We consistently saw a very thin layer of doliolids at ~10-20 m depth throughout the transect. At times, the patch was so thick that it would take up the entire frame.  












Trawling continues at night with still low numbers of rockfish juveniles and flatfishes, but we did hit a patch of hake collecting both young-of-the-year and even some adult individuals nearshore. The age-0 hake do not always occur in our surveys and suggests perhaps some more northerly spawning activity this past winter. We continue to catch lots of midwater fishes (especially offshore) and gelatinous zooplankton in the tows but few crustaceans and larger fishes.

Morale is good so far and the scientists did very well in the Texas Hold ‘Em Poker tourney last night, but I am sure the crew will get them back soon. Food has been outstanding and we may need to indulge in some self-control by the end of the cruise. 

Tagged: Prerecruit

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