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Into the Green

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We’ve had some exciting visitors in the past 24 hours.  Last night we saw two pygmy whales, and a sperm whale and this morning a pod of dolphins.

b2ap3_thumbnail_whale.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_dolph-2.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_dolphin.jpg

Onto the fish!  Picture the excitement of pulling up a Mahi mahi, the same thing happens here, but instead of holding up the fish with two hands these guys fit on a finger. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_mini-mahi.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_Mahi-juv.jpg

 

This tuna is distinguishable by the dark mark on its dorsal fin.  When the fish is too small determine the species by sight scientists rely on DNA analyses. 

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The fishes below didn’t need DNA identification.  The sailfish on the left, and swordfish on the right are starting to display characteristics of the adult fishes.  

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Each sliver of silver below is a fish to be sorted and collected. 

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Scattered in the samples are these copepods.  Familiiar shape, but a striking color!

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I’ve previously written about the large amount of sargassum in the water around us.  As Jay Rooker, PhD predicted before we towed, when we were in clear water with a high salinity we started to see the billfish. On the left is clear blue water where we found mahi, tuna, and billfish.  On the right the water in this picture is heavily influenced by the freshwater input of the Mississippi river which gives it a greenish hue.  The salinity in this area has dropped down to 21 ppt even though we’re still quite a ways offshore (remember you can see where we are here). 

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Water from rivers brings with it nutrients creating prime environment for algae.  We’ll be in this “green water” for the rest of the trip.   

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Guest Friday, 15 November 2019