NOAA researchers are getting a comprehensive view of the ocean floor using a new instrument, and have confirmed that there are high numbers of young sea scallops off of Delaware Bay.
Unofficially dubbed the "Seahorse" because of its curved and spiny profile, the instrument is the latest and most sophisticated version of a survey system developed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and used on sea scallop resource surveys conducted by NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). This is the first year that the sea scallop survey has used both a dredge and the Seahorse's multisensory, integrated, benthic ecosystem sampling capability concurrently.
"The Seahorse results from nearly a decade of commitment to research and development by the fishing industry, our academic partners, NMFS, and other specialists working toward a mutual goal using a variety of funding sources," said Bill Karp, science and research director at the NEFSC. "Joint efforts like this take advantage of each party's strengths. We get good results, and I intend to continue engaging fishermen, academia, and other experts to help us make progress on a range of scientific and technical issues important to better managing our fisheries."
The Seahorse is equipped with stereo cameras and strobes (to take color images), a CTD (to measure conductivity, temperature and depth), fluorometer (to measure chlorophyll), spectrometer (to measure water color and trace chemicals in the water), dissolved oxygen sensors, and a high resolution side scan imaging system, among other instruments.
"We are excited about this new system because it gives us a way to make a significant leap forward in understanding scallop biology, ecosystem effects, and how well resource management is working," said Deborah Hart, a mathematical biologist at the NEFSC's Woods Hole Laboratory who also leads the agency's sea scallop stock assessment effort.
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|Contact: Shelley Dawicki|
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center