4 - First Day of Field Operations
October 11, 2006
By Andy Collins,
NOAA, NOS, NWHIMNM -
Education and Outreach Specialist
The baited epifauna traps are deployed off the fantail of the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette
We arrived at French Frigate
Shoals (FFS), Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge and Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, last night around 8:30 PM.
So far the weather has been quite good, and seas have been calm, with
only a few short rain squalls during our entire transit from Honolulu.
Just after arriving at FFS we deployed three strings of baited epifauna
traps (modified lobster traps), each with 8 traps and buoys at each end.
The first string was set in deep water, about 750 feet, and the second
and third strings were deployed in 450 feet, and 300 feet, respectively.
All the traps were modified with zip ties across the large opening to
exclude spiny and slipper lobsters, as well as ˝ inch mesh to exclude
larger organisms. See baited epifauna
traps page for details on the method. The traps
are intended to sample small crabs, shrimp, and other bottom dwellers.
Each trap also
has a baited minnow trap inside it to select for even smaller organisms
that could escape through the ˝ inch mesh, such as small hermit crabs.
The rest of the evening was spent preparing for the first day of field
work – preparing cameras and collection gear, filling scuba tanks, organizing
the data sheets, and organizing the survey teams.
Today, Wednesday 10/11, three launches deployed from the ship for a full day
of surveying in the field. Invertebrate and algae teams, as well as associated
working divers, conducted dives in the intertidal area at La Perouse Pinnacle,
a lagoon patch reef site, and deployed the shallow water traps and light traps
at a sandy site in the lagoon. Several collection methods were employed
today, including hand
collecting, sand seiving, shallow
algal collections, rubble
brushing and extraction, sand
sampling, microbial collections,
traps, in addition to retrieving
the deeper baited traps set last night.
After the launches left the Sette, the ship returned to the baited deep traps
to retrieve them. The majority of organisms found in the traps were crabs and
shrimp, with the most interesting animals found in the deepest of the three strings – several
odd crabs, including anemone hermit crabs. The traps were baited with several
mackeral each, and the scent of the bait attracted animals that specialize in
scavenging, such as the crabs and shrimp. The traps also contained a few moray
eels, and small fish (ta’ape, or blue-lined snapper, scorpionfish, and soldierfish),
which were promptly tossed overboard.
Leslie Harris holds a shrimp captured in one of the deep traps.
here for a selection of some
of the organisms found today
*All images and information from French Frigate Shoals are provided
courtesy of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument,
Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, the Northwestern Hawaiian
Islands State Marine Refuge, and NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries
Science Center in accordance with permit numbers NWHIMNM-2006-015,
2006-01, 2006-017, and DLNR.NWHI06R021 and associated amendments.
on one of the following areas to follow the expedition.
activities of the ship: what research is being done that
day, what the weather is like, what's for dinner, etc.
or semi-daily personal journal entries by the particpants
in the expedition. These journals do not necessarily reflect
the positions of any of the agencies connected with this
Interviews with expedition participants, scientists,
vessel crew, educators, etc.
Highlights or special information such as interesting
discoveries or related research.