Surveying the Depths of the Gulf of Alaska - Post 4

June 07, 2017

This summer our scientists are hoping to prove what biologists have theorized for years – that newly hatched fish use Alaska deep-sea corals as a nursery ground to safely grow.

Alaska Survey

Pavlof sunrise.

Plankton Pump Trials a Success

Our final week on Leg 1 of the Gulf of Alaska groundfish survey has been eventful. Rough seas and strong winds drove us into Pavlof Bay for an evening. Pavlof volcano is one of many active volcanoes in Alaska. We enjoyed the view while waiting to head back out to our sampling stations.

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Samples collected in plankton sieve.

On the afternoon of June 8 the plankton pump was deployed again, and it was a huge success. The pump speed was increased, and all sorts of tiny creatures were captured in the net. Rachel won’t know exactly what was collected until she gets back to Seattle. The camera attached to the pump recorded images of the habitat and fishes. Some sponge and rockfish were present at a few stations. Halibut, searchers, and sponges were also seen.

Farewells

We head to Sand Point, Alaska, tomorrow evening. On Monday many of us will depart and a new crew of scientists will take over. We would like to thank the amazing crew of the FV Sea Storm for their assistance with the plankton pump. The Captain, Jerry Ellefson, and his crew Brian, Scottie, Jay, and Sue were very patient and always ready to help. 

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Rachel and crew prepare plankton pump.

Meet the Bloggers

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Rachel Wilborn is a NOAA Fisheries affiliated biologist with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering Division. Her research focuses on what lives at the bottom of the ocean, specifically sponges and corals, and their role as essential fish habitat. Rachel received a bachelor’s degree in oceanography from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in biology from the University of West Florida.

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Pam Goddard is a NOAA Fisheries affiliated biologist with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering Division. Her recent work has focused on benthic community structure and the role it plays in essential fish habitat. Pam has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wheaton College, and a master’s degree in fisheries from the University of Washington.