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You are here: /main/research expeditions/CReefs 2006/journals/Day 4

Day 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
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 traps, suction, algal collections, rubble brushing and extraction, sand sampling, microbial collections, and light traps, in addition to retrieving the deeper baited traps set last night.

Leslie Harris holds a shrimp captured in one of the deep traps.
Leslie Harris holds a shrimp captured in one of the deep traps.
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.

Click 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.

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Highlights or special information such as interesting discoveries or related research.

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