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TOPIC: 2018 field work!

2018 field work! 01 Jan 2018 10:22 #1

I think most of you know I'm a marine biologist by trade and focus on shark research. Every January for 2 weeks though I head out to a little island off Nova Scotia called Sable Island to conduct some field research on grey seals ( always good to look at the prey species too!). A bit of a working vacation for me.

We typically travel out to the island by Canadian Coast Guard chopper (typically this has been on Messerschmidt Bo 105's, Bell 212's or Bell 429's) or by a Twin Otter. I just found out that we'll be taking a brand new Bell 412 this year. Should be fun!

:geek
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2018 field work! 01 Jan 2018 10:27 #2

Sable Island, that's cool. They have wild horses that were shipwrecked years ago don't they?
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2018 field work! 01 Jan 2018 10:28 #3

Lucky dog.

In a related note, I was surprised to hear about the Threshers washing up off of Cape Cod this past week. I thought seawater never got colder than 36 F to begin with (it rises as ice forms, but I may be confusing this with water at depth or even freshwater at depth) as well as the Gulf Stream and then the bit about ice forming on gills all took me by surprise.

Is this a common issue?
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2018 field work! 01 Jan 2018 10:55 #4

moon puppy wrote:
Sable Island, that's cool. They have wild horses that were shipwrecked years ago don't they?

That's correct Bob, there are wild horses there but it is a common myth that they are descended from shipwrecked horses. The horses were brought there intentionally as they had a small settlement there for years to man several life saving stations to helped shipwrecked sailors and to try to recover cargos and materials from the ships.
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2018 field work! 01 Jan 2018 11:05 #5

Interesting Warren! Keep Warm!
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2018 field work! 01 Jan 2018 11:08 #6

ausf wrote:
Lucky dog.

In a related note, I was surprised to hear about the Threshers washing up off of Cape Cod this past week. I thought seawater never got colder than 36 F to begin with (it rises as ice forms, but I may be confusing this with water at depth or even freshwater at depth) as well as the Gulf Stream and then the bit about ice forming on gills all took me by surprise.

Is this a common issue?

I just checked out the news article because this was the first I heard of it. Looks like the White Shark Conservancy on Cape Cod and my colleagues in MA checked them out. They said they likely had suffered from cold shock.

Threshers are a "warm water" species, generally migrating in waters and staying in the 15-20 C range (60 - 70 F). I believe they can tolerate waters as low as 10 C (48 F) but that is rare. The waters off the Cape are typically around 38 F this time of year so if they happened to come in off a warm eddy from the Gulf Stream and they strayed into the cooler waters it would have been too much of a shock for them.

The ice probably formed on the gills after they were beached and sea water doesn't freeze until a few degrees below freezing because of the salt content. I've seen it as low as 34 F. I'd have to check with an oceanographer about what happens at depth, water can do a. lot of weird things at depth!
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2018 field work! 01 Jan 2018 11:30 #7

sharkman wrote:
moon puppy wrote:
Sable Island, that's cool. They have wild horses that were shipwrecked years ago don't they?

That's correct Bob, there are wild horses there but it is a common myth that they are descended from shipwrecked horses. The horses were brought there intentionally as they had a small settlement there for years to man several life saving stations to helped shipwrecked sailors and to try to recover cargos and materials from the ships.

Ahhh..thanks, I might be thinking of another colony of wild horses off NC coast.
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2018 field work! 01 Jan 2018 11:45 #8

sharkman wrote:
ausf wrote:
Lucky dog.

In a related note, I was surprised to hear about the Threshers washing up off of Cape Cod this past week. I thought seawater never got colder than 36 F to begin with (it rises as ice forms, but I may be confusing this with water at depth or even freshwater at depth) as well as the Gulf Stream and then the bit about ice forming on gills all took me by surprise.

Is this a common issue?

I just checked out the news article because this was the first I heard of it. Looks like the White Shark Conservancy on Cape Cod and my colleagues in MA checked them out. They said they likely had suffered from cold shock.

Threshers are a "warm water" species, generally migrating in waters and staying in the 15-20 C range (60 - 70 F). I believe they can tolerate waters as low as 10 C (48 F) but that is rare. The waters off the Cape are typically around 38 F this time of year so if they happened to come in off a warm eddy from the Gulf Stream and they strayed into the cooler waters it would have been too much of a shock for them.

The ice probably formed on the gills after they were beached and sea water doesn't freeze until a few degrees below freezing because of the salt content. I've seen it as low as 34 F. I'd have to check with an oceanographer about what happens at depth, water can do a. lot of weird things at depth!

Thanks for the info.

What I had in me head was from dive training. I know I've read 36 on a gauge at around 100 feet and was told any cooler and it starts to rise, that 36 was the threshold, but again, it might be freshwater as I most of my cold water diving was fresh and the beginning of the training season was in March, so no thermoclines, brutal from the surface on down.

Years ago (may still be there), there was a chain link cage setup off the Rockaways in NYC that divers could go and sit in the fall/early winter months and watch the parade of all these tropicals on their one way Gulf Stream trip to the North Atlantic. I never went to it, I prefer my tropical watching to happen in nice bath water temps where all I need is a BC. I never got comfortable in dry suits, always felt too much of my life depends on a zipper, I'd almost always prefer shorter dives wet in a quarter inch suit.
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2018 field work! 01 Jan 2018 12:36 #9

Brrrrrrr :sick: Send me somewhere tropical instead . :)

Cheers, Christian B)

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2018 field work! 01 Jan 2018 14:21 #10

When will you ever be coming to look at the seal population at Shark City near Cape Town? :bgrin
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2018 field work! 02 Jan 2018 06:12 #11

SA Dave wrote:
When will you ever be coming to look at the seal population at Shark City near Cape Town? :bgrin

I'd like to Dave, but to look at the sharks there!

Maybe someday! :hmmm
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2018 field work! 02 Jan 2018 07:53 #12

Just a reminder shark city is where the great whites go to play with theyr food

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