The NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada has left Newport to begin the 2019 Integrated Ecosystem and Pacific Hake Acoustic-Trawl Survey. This survey supports the Pacific hake (Merluccius productus) stock assessment, provides biological data and specimens for other assessments/research, and collects key environmental/oceanographic information used to model the distributions of fish and invertebrates.
After calibrating the acoustic echosounders (somewhere between Newport and Monterey Bay), the ship will steam south to Point Conception, CA and being surveying acoustic transects, and collecting biological information with nets, as they head north (Leg 1-4). This year, four unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) operated by Saildrone, Inc. will also collect acoustic data along the Bell M. Shimada's transects in U.S. waters. On board the Bell M. Shimada, researchers will sample for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) throughout the survey (Legs 1-4), collect water for environmental DNA (i.e. eDNA) of Hake (Legs 2-4), and study phytoplankton using a CytoBot (Legs 3-4). We'll post more on these topics in the weeks to come, but for now, let the science begin!