It’s happening again! Tomorrow I get the chance to get out from behind this computer and do some field work. I am joining the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) Fisheries Oceanography for Recruitment, Climate, and Ecosystem Studies (FORCES) Lab and some of their collaborators on their annual survey of the larval ecology in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. This survey will be done using the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster, which I am flying out to meet in the US Virgin Islands on Sunday. The Nancy Foster also has a blog which you can view here.
How is this year different from two years ago? Good question. First, it’s a different ship and different location. Two years ago we explored the Gulf of Mexico on the University of Miami Ship the Walton Smith. Feel free to check out that blog here. This year we are in the Caribbean. This year is also different for me because I’m starting a new research project. I’m in the proposal writing stage. This means I need to take all the things I’ve learned and propose a project that will advance the field of fisheries science. I am specifically interested in advancing the field by exploring the connection between the environment (e.g., ocean currents) and changes in fish population sized, but to do this you need lots of information. On this cruise we are collecting lots of different types of information on everything from larval fish, to plankton, to currents and salinity. I’m hoping this cruise will help me wrap my head around some of the information out there, how it is collected and how it can help me advance the field of fisheries science. Sounds like a huge task? I know, don’t remind me, but it's all part of the fun of research.
That’s enough of the educational stuff, what about the fun stuff? What do I take on a research cruise? Well, I pack like I’m going to do house work all day, every day for two weeks. I have the usual basketball shorts and tee shirts, those things that I don’t mind having drenched in sea water. I also have some fun stuff like rain boats and more snorkel gear. Yup, you read that right, SNORKEL GEAR.
We might get a chance to see some cool reefs at some point during this trip so stay tuned. Even if I don’t get to snorkel there will still be lots of cool things to blog about so keep checking back for updates. If you like what you see and would like to know more, please feel free to contact me with your questions.