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.

Heceta Head line

By Jessica Luo
June 20, 2016

We sampled along the Heceta Head line today, for a little longer than usual (~30 nautical miles). The seas have been very calm throughout the duration of the cruise, though we did have a small thunderstorm passed over us at the beginning of the day (winds going from 5 to 30 kts over a few minutes). Looks like the weather will not be as nice starting tomorrow evening, which could make deployments more difficult, but the data series much more interesting.
The most striking observation from today was yet another extremely dense, very thin, sub-surface phytoplankton layer in the inshore region of the transect. Note the third panel on the plot below, showing fluorometry — these are interpolated values, and thus the highest peaks were smoothed over, but our raw data readings from the ISIIS showed a maximum fluorometry reading of ~4 V. In terms of phytoplankton concentration, that’s over 95 ug/l — virtually unheard of values! (see plot above)
This entire peak occurred over ~5 m. Right below it, there was a dense layer of this often U-shaped filamentous phytoplankton (pictured below). We’re not exactly sure what it is yet, so if you have any ideas, send it along!
Fairly sparse on the larval fish today — so no new pictures of fish to send out, but there were two great ones of other zooplankton from the Bandon line that I didn’t post earlier. Here they are: 
Beautiful Mertensiid ctenophore with a display of tentacles (shown).
Parasitic amphipod within a pelagic tunicate. These guys were the inspiration for the movie Aliens!



Bob and I are getting off tomorrow morning via the small boat transfer, and we will certainly miss being on the Shimada. Everyone — the captain and the entire crew — have been really fantastic. Totally accommodating with all of our needs, and really going above and beyond in certain cases (for example, the engineering team helped us fix a broken piston rod that controlled the wings and also fabricate a new side panel that fell off of ISIIS during deployment!) 

It’s also been really fun to also have people stop by, ask questions, and watch ISIIS images fly by during deployment. Sometimes it’s hard to explain what this instrument does, and why the data are so unique and interesting — so it’s been really awesome to share our experiences with other people as the data are flying in, in real time, 17 and 100 frames a second, as we explore the mysteries of planktonic realm.
Signing off for now,
Jessica, for the ISIIS team

Tagged: Prerecruit

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