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My First CTD Deployment – Without losing the Equipment or Getting Hurt!

Apr 14, 2013 | Gulf of Alaska Project | 0 comments

By Morgan Ostendorf
This morning we saw a dozen or so humpback whales breaching in Sitka Sound. We saw them feeding by using their pectoral and caudal (tail) fins to splash the water. There were multiple humpback whales doing this in order to corral either small fish (pacific herring) or euphausiids (krill) to eat. It was a great start to the day.
Mt. Edgecumbe (A volcano located in Sitka Sound) (Photo: Morgan Ostendorf)
This evening I had the chance to help deploy and recover the CTD (it was my first time). CTD stands for Conductivity, Temperature and Depth. It is a tool that is used to measure the very basic properties of seawater. It is made up of a bunch of probes, attached to a wheel. The wheel is then lowered to the ocean floor and scientists can measure stuff in real time.  When deploying the CTD, the main goal is to make sure it doesn’t bang into anything on the deck. A CTD costs over $100,000, so we don’t want the electronics to be ruined. Also, if you are deploying or recovering the CTD, you have to wear a safety belt and be hooked to a safety line. This is done for safety reasons because we don’t want anyone to fall in the water. 
Morgan O. and Nancy deploying the CTD just outside of Sitka Sound (Photo: Morgan Busby)
Greenling from the bongo net (Photo: Morgan Ostendorf)
Pelagic (mid-to-surface water) Shrimp from the bongo net (Photo: Morgan Ostendorf)
Octopus larva from the bongo net (Photo: Elizabeth Chase)

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