Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 5

Visiting the liberty ships
      aboard the R/V Falkor

Today, we focused on getting two CTD transects complete. We visited seven sites today and deployed the CTD to gather the water samples and filtered them back in the wet lab for each site. This kept Dr. Wetz and his students, Lynn and Kelsey busy throughout the day and have only two transects left to complete. These data gathered will be instrumental for finding out more information on red tide and its harmful effects each season in the waters off the Texas coast.

Overnight the ship mapped one of the liberty ships at site MU-802. Megan Robillard and Dave Tupaj worked to process the map this morning with marine tech, Nathan. The shot on the left is of the Dwight L. Moody ship used in WWII. In the 1970s, twelve liberty ships used to carry supplies and oil in the war were sunk in the Gulf of Mexico at five different sites to be used as artificial reefs by Texas Parks and Wildlife's Artificial Reef Program. These reefs provide habitat for numerous fish species including reef fish and sport fish and we wanted to take an even closer look.

Late in the afternoon we gathered the equipment to launch the micro ROV (Video Ray Pro4). The challenge of doing this in particular was getting the sub over the side of the ship and into the water because of the rough seas and such a small ROV.  Several precautions were taken and the ROV was successfully launched!  The crew gathered to watch the feed on the laptop (pictured to the right). A GoPro was mounted on the ROV to capture better video quality. The ROV made it into the water and began recording. Dr. Ajemian maneuvered the ROV around the submerged ship and gathered good video for about twenty minutes.  The visibility was not great, but the team was still very happy with the data gathered. The video was downloaded after the dive and the team will be able to determine fish species and abundance, as well as fish size using the lasers mounted on the front of the ROV.

Shortly after a few more CTD casts and ROV clean-up, the SOI team hosted a BBQ on the second deck and everyone got the opportunity to take a break and enjoy the company of all on board. This is an impressive ship but the crew are amazing and without their help in facilitating this research it would not be possible.

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