Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ping Pong and the Golden Dragon

Ping Pong
Tomorrow we cross the international date line and enter the realm of the Golden Dragon. As we approach the ping pong championships are getting fierce. We've had to separate Frank and Jason several times already.

We had our first planning meeting this evening to go over operations for Wake. It looks like we will have fours days in which to complete our work and, weather permitting, we should be able to get the job done. The Oceanography team will be one of the first to deploy and will be conducting CTD casts all around the island and in the lagoon to shed light on the oceanographic conditions around the island. CTDs collect data on temperature and salinity at different depths and can give us an idea of where areas of up-welling may occur. Up-wellings can be important for the ecosystem as nutrient rich deep ocean water is brought to the surface where the nutrients help feed the rest of the food chain. The Oceanography team will also deploy an Ecological Acoustic Recorder to record the underwater sounds in the lagoon which is home to the rare Bumphead parrotfish. We hope that by recording the sounds made by this species that we can use long term recorders to get a better idea of their distribution.

Next to deploy will be the REA team. Their task will be to hit several sites set up the last time we were here in 2005 to collect data on fish, coral, invertebrate and algae populations. Using a variety of different methods, the REA team will collect data used to determine the health of these populations and how their numbers and distributions are changing over time.

Next there is the Tow team. The Tow team will conduct long-range surveys around the entirety of the island collecting data on large fish populations and the overall seafloor community. The Towboard surveys which can be up to 2 km in length allow us to observe the larger and more rare reef fishes including sharks and jacks. This survey method is the one I am most involved with and is the one that gives us the best picture of the island as a single unit.

Finally there is the mapping team. In combination with the ship, the mapping team and the AHI (the survey launch) will collect bathymetric (depth) data which will be used to make a very high resolution map of the seafloor around Wake. This picture of the seafloor is critical as it is the physical nature of the bottom that plays a large roll in structuring the fish, coral, invertebrate and algae populations that live upon it.

We've certainly got our work cut out for us.

Now back to ping pong ...


At 1:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank's potential over enthusiam during ping pong is not his fault. It is a reaction from overdosing on too many ribs a few days earlier and lack of beer.

Sorry Jason.

yours truly, Frank's dad


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