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Dispatches from the field

Surveying the depths of the Gulf of Alaska


 

Recording fish lengths.  Photo: NOAA Fisheries

 
GOA Bottom Trawl
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Second Week of Gulf of Alaska Survey

June 5, 2017 -- This week we traveled along the south side of Unalaska and Akutan Islands all the way to Unimak Pass. We spent one night in Morzhovoi Bay seeking refuge from rough seas and high winds.

 

How we collect data

Along the way we collected numerous fish and invertebrate data for the groundfish survey. The team also is testing new technology this year that will help streamline data collection. We record fish lengths and otolith information using tablets in waterproof housings, bluetooth headsets, scanning wands, and keypads. This is a huge improvement over our previous manual method of data collection. So far all of the new equipment appears to be working.

 

What are we seeing?

We encounter many species of flatfish during our survey, but the juvenile northern rock soles have a particularly remarkable color pattern. You can see how they would blend in well with a sandy bottom.

 

Juvenile northern rock sole   Photo: NOAA Fisheries

 

Invertebrates such as crabs, snails, and clams, are present in almost every net. Sometimes we are able to identify them and sometimes we are not. When we can’t identify an invertebrate or fish we preserve it and bring it back to Seattle for further examination. The snail in this image is an example.

 

 
Photo: NOAA Fisheries

 

Throughout the trip we’ve seen many interesting seabirds, but the short-tailed albatrosses have been a real treat. We are seeing both adult and sub-adults together.

 

Short-tailed albatrosses 
Photo: NOAA Fisheries

 

As we enter our last week, we plan to deploy the larval fish pump a few more times to continue our discovery of larval benthic communities.

 


Post by: Rachel Wilborn




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