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Scientists integrate data in three dimensions to study climate effects on young fish
Date:7/7/2008

udy site is south of the Hudson Raritan River estuary and plume, the other about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north and east off Long Island. The scientists aboard the NEFSC's 50-foot research vessel Nauvoo for the first cruise were surprised by what they saw, especially the differences in bottom life in study areas just a few miles apart with similar bottom structure.

"Based on side-scan sonar data and other information, we selected two study areas that had similar sandy bottoms because we were towing a video camera close to the seafloor," Manderson said. "You would think they would look similar on video because they were not far apart, but what we found was more temperate marine life species like fluke, anchovies and sea robins off New Jersey, and scallops, squid egg mops and winter flounder more typical of New England off Long Island. The differences in the two seascapes were striking."

Technology has been a huge help to the ECOS project. The Nauvoo is equipped with side-scan sonar, fisheries hydroacoustics, a Wi-Fi link to shore that receives real-time satellite and high-frequency radar imagery of data collected by a regional ocean observing system, GPS, an underwater video camera, and environmental sensors that measure water temperature, salinity and other conditions.

Each day during the two-week cruises, the team of six scientists and ship's crew head out from the Atlantic Highlands Marina to the study sites, approximately 5 to 10 miles offshore. Working in depths up to 60 meters (about 100 feet), they use the various real-time data they receive from above and below the surface to develop a track line or sampling route of the ocean floor within their study areas. They tow a small video camera sled, stop at stations along the track to sample from the surface to the seafloor with a CTD (conductivity, temperature, density) recorder, and collect other environmental data. A beam trawl is used to collect specimens and to groundtruth the vide
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Contact: Shelley Dawicki
shelley.dawicki@noaa.gov
508-495-2378
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Source:Eurekalert

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