North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Life on the Edge: Exploring Deep Ocean Habitats - NC Museum of Natural Sciences
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2002 Research Data  


Date: 08/08/02-08/09/02
Time: 11:15 PM-2:15 AM
Latitude/Longitude: 34°, 34 minutes N
76°, 48 minutes W
Ocean Depth: 10 m (32.8 feet)
Depth of Equipment: 1 m (3.28 feet—surface reading)
Water Temperature at Equipment Depth: 27.2 degrees Celsius
Wind Speed and Direction: 20 knots, NE
Seas: Calm

Equipment Used: Dip nets

Estimated Catch: 8 squid, 10 flat needlefish, 18 crabs, 1 Atlantic sharpnosed shark

Description of catch: Flat needlefish are shiny silver and bluish, and are very long and skinny. As their name suggests, they have long, pointed noses, as well as dark vertical bars along their sides. These fish are usually oceanic, but also occur in clean coastal waters. The sharpnosed shark was about a meter long, and it did have a sharp nose. We caught it, measured it, and released it back into the water. This size is about as big as they get, so this specimen was probably an adult. Sharpnosed sharks are rarely seen north of North Carolina, but on occasion they have been found as far north as the Bay of Fundy.

Other Observations: We can see the lights of Atlantic Beach. While at anchor, the person on the bridge keeps the lights on so it is more difficult to see the stars than when we are underway. Though we did not catch them, we saw at least three juvenile sailfish (about 50 cm long). Their blue sails were really obvious underwater. When looking into the water, schools of fish moved like clouds beneath the surface. The schools would morph into amazing new shapes over and over again. Unfortunately, we were not able to dip deep enough to catch any of these fish for identification.

Date: 08/09/02
Time: 8:12 PM
Latitude/Longitude: 34°, 25 minutes N
75°, 56 minutes S
Ocean Depth: 68.2 m (223.7 feet)
Depth of Equipment: 1 m (3.28 feet— surface reading)
Water Temperature at Equipment Depth: Unavailable
Wind Speed and Direction: 22 knots, NE
Seas: 3- to 5-foot seas

Equipment Used: Neuston Net

Estimated Catch: 260 gallons of sargassum that included fewer than 100 fish. (We do not closely count the numbers of fish. We are usually too busy getting the next net out to get quantitative data while at sea.)

Description of catch:

  • Big bermuda crab
  • Banded rudder fish
  • Trigger fish
  • Sargassum fish
  • File fish
  • Crabs
  • Shrimp

Other Observations: This was an incredible catch. Although we had an overwhelming amount of sargassum, the fish we caught were very small and only partly filled a single one-liter container. The invertebrates filled less than one sandwich-sized Ziploc bag.