A great start to DP05!
Well, our first day of sampling was a success! We managed to deploy the MOCNESS twice at Station B081 (check out our home page to follow the ship!). While retrieving the night trawl we saw a lot of bioluminescence in the water which turned out to be pyrosomes, Pyrosoma atlantica, seen in the picture below. Each pyrosome is a colony of animals called tunicates which related to sea squirts. They form a tube which can pump water to allow them to vertically migrate. The longest species of pyrosome can get up to 20 m in length! We also saw some flyingfish which were being chased and eaten by dolphins!
Today we continued on to B082 and completed two additional successful trawls. Below are some images from the team processing the catch.
Here several of us are emptying the codends and sorting the catch.
Once we've sorted the catch, our team of taxonomic experts identify each organism to species. From front to back we have Dr. Tracey Sutton, Nova Southeastern University who specializes in fish identification, Dr. Jon Moore, Florida Atlantic University who also specializes in fish identification, Dr. Tammy Frank, Nova Southeastern University who specialized in shrimp identification, and last but not least, Mike Vecchione, NOAA's National Systematics Lab specializes in squid identification.
Here, Laura Timm, PhD student at Florida International University takes the species identified by Dr. Frank and samples them to run genetic analyses back in her lab after the cruise.
Travis Richards (foreground) is a PhD student at Texas A&M Galveston whose research involves stable isotope analysis, however, on this cruise he is taking tissue samples for the fish genetics team with the help of NSU graduate student, Matthew Woodstock (middle). I'm at the end of the line in this picture measuring fish lengths.
Our DEEPEND mascot, Squirt, hangs out with us in the lab making sure we're doing our job! You'll see more of him this week on instagram - @deepend_gom
The acoustics team have detected some very large animals under the ship. They will be blogging all about their new gear and what they are "seeing" with sound later this week!
Thank you for following our blog and stay tuned for more!