Arctic Whale Ecology Study/Chukchi Acoustics, Oceanography, and Zooplankton Study-extension (CHAOZ-X) 2015 Cruise Plan
These findings will be useful for formulating designs of mitigation for human activities in the region. In particular, these data will be used to support National Environmental Policy Act analysis and documentation for Chukchi Sea Lease Sales, Draft Proposed Programs, and monitoring, as well as ESA consultations, Marine Mammal Protection Act permitting, and preparation of Biological Evaluations and Biological Opinions. The main components of both studies include satellite tagging (ARCWEST only, in 2013 and 2014), passive acoustic recorder and oceanographic instrument deployments, and biophysical (CTD and plankton tow) sampling stations. In addition, a passive acoustic survey (using sonobuoys) and a visual observation survey will be undertaken throughout the survey. Although 2015 is the last year of field work for both ARCWEST and CHAOZ-X, a subset of moorings will be redeployed in order to continue the long time series; tentative plans have been made to retrieve moorings off the NOAA Ship Ronald Brown in 2016.
For 2015, field work will be split between the R/V Aquila and the NOAA Ship Ronald Brown to reduce costs. The R/V Aquila will conduct the main survey activities from 6 to 26 September 2015: mooring retrieval and deployment, passive acoustic and visual observations, and occasional CTD casts to calibrate moorings. The NOAA Ship Ronald Brown will conduct ARCWEST and CHAOZ-X biophysical (CTD and plankton tow) sampling from 6 August to 4 September as part of a vessel sharing effort with other NOAA funded work.