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Posted by on in News

 Hi!

My name is Hannah Johnson and I am currently pursuing my Master’s of Science degree in Marine Science under Dr. Tracey Sutton at Nova Southeastern University. I am lucky enough to attend my first DEEPEND/RESTORE cruise on R/V Point Sur this year. While the focus of my thesis project relates to the reproductive habits of the deep sea fish genus Chiasmodon (Scombriformes; Chiasmondontidae), my predominant purpose on this cruise is to help record the collection of all the deep sea fauna we find.  

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The MOC coming onboard from a night tow (Photo: H. Johnson)

I work with Dr. Rosanna Milligan and April Cook to weigh, measure, and preserve each specimen.  We log the specimens into the database to be able to document various notes, along with the measurements, site collection, and much more.

It is extremely important that we ensure each speciment gets preserved properly as many scientists and students will use our specimens for projects, even years later.  For example, the fish genus Chiasmodon I work with was caught and documents 10 years ago!  Thanks to great preservation techniques, I am able to do kinds of analyses with their reproductive tract as well as gut and diet analysis by my colleague Travis Kirk.

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We were able to catch a Chiasmodon sp. with a full stomach!

 It has been an amazing experience to see first-hand what goes on during the DEEPEND cruises. It helps to give insight into how the lab specimens from years ago were collected.

Thanks for reading!

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Posted by on in News

By Lisa Rose-Mann

Hi! I’m having a great time on my first research cruise. Having worked with samples from previous cruises I have longed to be able to join the DEEPEND crew. I really wanted to see the MOCNESS in action!  This is a net system that opens and closes at different depths (for this cruise, 0-1500 m down).  The diversity of life we are finding is amazing and I’m completely blown away by the cool deep sea creatures and their adaptations I’ve been able to see firsthand.

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From left to right:  Loosejaw, hatchetfish, viperfish, black dragonfish (photo: L. Rose-Mann)

My current research is performing chemical analysis on the tissues of squid and their predators for signs of contaminants from things like oil spills, pesticides, plastics and other persistent organic pollutants. As part of this crew I am collecting samples to bring back to the lab for that purpose.

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Lisa processing a sample onboard (Photo:  H. Judkins)

I’ve eaten really well on board, seen a lot of cool birds, taken my shot a Mahi Mahi (haven’t caught my own yet, but there’s still time) and learned a ton about these animals so far. Additionally, having this kind of time with some really amazing scientists and been very rewarding.  I’m beyond thrilled to have had this opportunity and hope to find a way join the crew again in the future.

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Posted by on in News

Our first stop!

This area is a deep water coral reef on the upper continental slope dominated by Lophilia species (a deep sea coral).  We explored this area briefly last year to investigate interactions between the deep scattering layer and the benthic community.  This year, we are visiting this site twice to continue exploration with our first MOC deployment and retrieval happening last night.

This is our most shallow site with a bottom depth of 450 m and we towed the MOC10 downslope heading deeper to a depth of 402 m as to not disturb any benthic communities.  This was a night trawl so we expected many deeper-living animals coming to the epipelagic zone (0-200 m) as there is a nightly vertical migration of animals towards the surface to feed under the cover of darkness.

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T. Frank and H. Judkins emptying the cod ends into buckets for lab sorting (Photo: L. Rose-Mann)

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J. Moore, T. Sutton, T. Frank, H. Bracken-Grissom sorting species (Photo:  L. Rose-Mann)

Once the cod ends were collected and sorted by the taxonomists, identifications were made of the various faunal groups (fishes, cephalopods, crustaceans). Highlights included our usual suspects such as eel larvae, a pseudo-oceanic hatchetfish species which is common in this habitat, Sergia hans jacobi (crustacean species), pteropods, and heteropods as well as some unexpected finds like a Star Eater fish and a snake-eel larvae that doesn’t match any known species at this time.  Exciting stuff!

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J. Moore holding an example of an eel larvae he identifies in the field (Photo: H. Judkins)

We are now off to deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico for our next deployment- stay tuned!

Heather J.

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Posted by on in News

Yeehaw!  Almost time to shove off on our next DEEPEND/RESTORE cruise which will set sail tonight just after midnight on the R/V Point Sur.  The team is busy stowing gear, repairing holes in nets, and making sure we have everything we need for the next 12 days.  We will be deploying the MOCNESS net system as we have on past cruises and will be getting to out our first station tomorrow afternoon.  We will be posting blogs throughout our journey so stay tuned!

Cheers- Heather J

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R/V Point Sur, docked in Gulfport, MS (photo: L. Rose-Mann)

 

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Posted by on in News

Hi Everyone!

We are heading back to the dock today and can't believe the trip is almost over!  All we have left is to enter data, clean the nets, clean and pack everything in the lab and disassemble the acoustics equipment- all by 8 am tomorrow morning!  This post is all about the animals as we wanted to share just a few images of the amazing creatures we have collected during this trip.  

We can't thank the crew of the R/V Point Sur enough for this safe and amazing research cruise.  We also would like to shout out CSA, Continental Shelf Associates for our MOC10 operator, Gray- without him, we wouldn't have animals to work with!  The support from our organizations and universities has been consistent throughout the DEEPEND program which we truly appreciate. 

See you next year for our next adventure!

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Left: Sergestids

Right:  Deep Sea Shrimp

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Left:  deep sea luminsecent squid

Right:  Seven-arm octopus

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Left:  Atolla jellyfish

Right:  deep sea crab on pyrosome

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Left:  Octopus

Right:  Anoplogaster cornuta, Fangtooth fish   

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Left:  Stylephorus chordatus

Right:  Chauliodus sloani, Viperfish

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Left:  Serrivomer lanceolatoides, Sawpallet Eel

Middle:  Zenopsis conchifer

Right:  Omosudis lowii, Hammerjaw fish

 

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