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Another Successful Journey

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By- Heather Judkins

Well, that's a wrap!  We finished processing our last station in the wee hours of Friday morning and headed bock to Gulfport, MS.  It's been quite a successful trip with many new finds and exciting new questions to look into as we continue to explore this region of the Gulf of Mexico!

At the last station, we had quite a haul of crustacean species as well as lots of hatchetfishes- both of which scatter sound.  We did acoustic work using the multibeam sonar to locate the DSL and towed the MOC10 system within these layers to get an idea of which animals may be found. This region is of the ocean is important because it represents the transfer of energy from the upper epipelagic to the deeper benthic systems.  Many of the fish and crustaceans in the DSL are prey for benthic invertebrates and predatory fishes. (see Haley G's blog for more on acoustics).

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Various hatchetfish species and lots of crustaceans collected at the last station

Friday was a flurry of activity with packing up the lab, washing down the nets, and preparing samples for their journey home. 

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Nets drying out before being packed up with the R/V Point Sur in the background.

We could not have done any of this without the amazing work by the R/V Point Sur crew which included feeding us morning, noon, and night; celebrating birthdays with us, and providing a safe and successful trip all around.  This is the last of the three DEEPEND/RESTORE cruises for this grant award and now we switch to analyzing all the data we've collected and producing products in the next year that can be used by resource managers.

This morning, the DEEPEND team members packed up their vehicles and made their way back home with so much to work on-  Until the next time!

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DEEPEND Team photo

 

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Dr. Heather Judkins is an associate professor in the Integrative Biology Department at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She received a Bachelors degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island, Masters degree in Science Education from Nova Southeastern University and her PhD in Biological Oceanography from the University of South Florida. Her research focuses on understanding the evolution, ecology, and biogeography of cephalopods with a main focus currently in the Wider Caribbean. Her role in this project includes the identification of deep-sea cephalopods, examining genetic diversity, and analysis of cephalopod ecology and distribution in the water column.
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