The cruise has come to a close after 9 days of productivity, one day earlier than was scheduled because of further equipment problems in combination with rough seas along the Newport, Oregon transect. We were fortunate to have completed nearly all intended sampling, due in large part to the tireless effort put forth by the R/V Sally Ride research technicians, who worked with the science crew around the clock to keep the cruise on schedule and make up for time lost at the outset. We were also fortunate to have experienced extraordinarily calm waters in both the Newport, Oregon and Trinidad, California transect lines for seven of the nine days at sea. This was made doubly apparent when compared to the experiences of the crew of the Winter, 2018 cruise who had to work around consistently rough seas while handling heavy sampling equipment. The ship docked early on the morning of July 12thand, by the end of the same day, all of the equipment used during the cruise had been dismantled and sent off to storage or repair and the science crew settled down for a well-earned drink at the local brewery. Now, by the morning of the 13th, we prepare ourselves for the coming months of analysis that will give purpose to the physical and fiscal cost of running a large research vessel from Oregon to California and back.
The frequent equipment issues that plagued the cruise were mostly involved with the operation of the MOCNESS and ISIIS systems, and, in spite of a camera lost overboard near the end of the cruise, we were able to collect several hours’ worth of camera footage in the water column during CTD sensor operation. The footage revealed a variety of jellies and fish that inhabit the waters outside of Oregon and California, but surprisingly few pyrosomes were encountered in the beginning few days of the cruise. Many more pyrosomes began to appear towards the end of sampling and quickly began to fill our MOCNESS nets, where they packed in like Vienna sausages. There were enough to necessitate a dedicated pyrosome counting and measuring station! During a night with especially calm, almost glassy seas, hundreds of the creatures floated by the ship in a leisurely way so that they could be picked out of the water with hand-held net. I found it absolutely bizarre to see hundreds of pink pickles floating by the ship, passively filtering microscopic meals out of the water. More were seen when reviewing footage of the water column and, while the footage has not yet been compared to the accompanying CTD sensor data, evidence of daily vertical migration of pyrosomes appear to be consistent with previous findings, as well as their tendency to aggregate at the lower end of the surface mixing layer. With luck, more trends will emerge when analyzing the footage that might help us better understand these tubular invaders.
Hello there! My name is Matthew Gimpelevich and I am currently an undergraduate student in my third year of oceanography and engineering at Seattle Central College in Seattle, Washington. I’m lucky enough to be working in the Sutherland lab at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology where I get to formulate my own methods of studying the pyrosome, Pyrosoma atlanticum, which has recently migrated up the Pacific coast from warmer waters! As an REU intern, I look forward to developing research techniques and methods of organizing and maintaining my own projects!