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MBNMS and NMFS AUV Cruise in MBNMS July 10th - 18th

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From July 10th to 18th, 2017, a NOAA team comprised of staff at the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) are conducting surveys using an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) to image ecologically sensitive areas in the Sanctuary. The project is funded through restoration settlement funds and the focus is to collect baseline data and/or comparative data on the distribution, abundance, and condition of deep sea corals and sponge communities.

map of transect locations for AUV cruise in MBNMS 2017 The SeaBED AUV is unlike other, more traditional AUV’s, in that its twin-hull design provides greatly enhanced stability for low-speed photographic surveys. The SeaBED is designed to autonomously follow the terrain approximately 3-4 meters above the seafloor providing high resolution color imagery and optical validation in support of multibeam benthic habitat mapping.
click for a larger view (1056 x 792 JPG, 496K)


Elizabeth Clarke with NMFS and Karen Grimmer with MBNMS are the cruise leaders, and the science team includes Sophie De Beukelaer, Curt Whitmire, Jeff Anderson and Erica Fruh. A number of observers will also be aboard such as staff from the local Oceana chapter, a graduate student from Northeastern University and a COAST intern.

The AUV will collect high resolution color imagery up to 8 selected sites including Voluntary Management Areas (VMAs) and Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) areas, which were proposed by fishermen during the recent process with the Pacific Fishery Management Council to modify EFH areas, as well as some of the recently established “Sanctuary Ecologically Significant Areas (SESAs).” These special areas encompass remarkable, representative and/or sensitive marine habitats, communities and ecological processes and the Sanctuary is focusing research efforts into these areas. The research cruise will also gather some chemical oceanography data such as dissolved oxygen.

map of transect locations for AUV cruise in MBNMS 2017 Sites 1 though 8 include Voluntary Management Areas, proposed Essential Fish Habitat closures and openings, and SESAs and were selected for further study based on the need for the collection of baseline and/or comparative data.
click for a larger view (1100 x 1436 JPG, 736K)

 

URL: http://montereybay.noaa.gov/includes-interface/footertop.html    Reviewed: July 26, 2017
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