Log Post: Equipment Testing and Calibration

Our first night at sea was spent offshore about 140 kilometers (88 nautical miles) south of Pascagoula mapping the seafloor. R/V Falkor has a state-of-the-art multibeam echosounder that is designed to map almost all of the ocean floors excepting the deep trenches (up to 7 kilometers or nearly 4.5 miles). During mapping, the ship transits along … Continued

Log Post: Departing Pascagoula

For the past two days, the science team has been busily unpacking boxes, assembling instruments, and getting oriented on R/VFalkor in preparation for the upcoming cruise. Lists were checked and rechecked to ensure that all the necessary supplies were on hand. Scientists send or pack all their sample bottles, experiment supplies, computers, measurement tools, batteries, and … Continued

Log Post: Barotrauma

Red snapper is recognized as the most important (and controversial) reef fish species in the entire Gulf of Mexico.  Its popularity as a recreational sportfish coupled with its economic value as a commercial commodity give this species unparalleled attention from fishermen, scientists, and fishery managers alike.  The Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery is split … Continued

Log Post: Discovering Lionfish

The DSSI Global Explorer MK3 ROV (remotely operated vehicle) operated from R/V Falkor captured video of an invasive venomous lionfish on an artificial reef. This is the second lionfish that has been spotted by the Harte Research Institute (HRI) Fisheries Group.  Both sightings took place on artificial reefs, but it is believed that once these … Continued

Log Post: “Rigs to Reefs”

In just a few days after being placed in the ocean, rigs (also known as platforms) have already attracted its first residents.  In time, a full ecosystem develops supporting fish populations in the range of an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 fish.  The fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico know this and frequently go “rig-hopping” in … Continued

Log Post: A student perspective on research at sea

We are studying the oceanography of the Texas coast, focusing specifically on the distribution of phytoplankton and nutrients in the water column. High nutrients often set the stage for growth of phytoplankton. One particular species that we are interested in is the toxic phytoplankton called Karenia brevis. These algae could be identified in samples taken … Continued

Log Post: Micro-ROV dives at the Liberty Ships site

Today, the Fisheries group at the Harte Research Institute (TAMU-CC) deployed their micro remote operated vehicle (ROV) at the Liberty Ships reef site MU-802. The Fisheries group normally uses their micro ROV for fish surveys at their artificial reef sites along south Texas. However, given the presence of a working-class ROV on the R/V Falkor, … Continued

Log Post: Fish Populations on Artificial Reefs

The Gulf of Mexico has several “habitats of particular concern” (HAPC) for marine sea life. Essentially, HAPCs are those ecologically bountiful environments that are extremely sensistive to human impacts. Many of these HAPCs are represented by natural hard surfaces, or “reefs”, such as natural coral or algal banks. Fish will stay close to these hard … Continued