Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Cruise Planning Questionnaire

VPRII Survey Gulf of Mexico


R/V Oceanus


Cruise Party

Cabell Davis: Chief Scientist, Principal Investigator
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Redfield 2-20, MS#33 Woods Hole, Ma. USA 02543
+1 508 289 2333

Departure: WHOI on Mar 1, 2011

Arrival: WHOI on Apr 18, 2011

Mobilization Date: Mar 27, 2011

Demobilization Date: Apr 18, 2011

Supporting documentation:


Operations Area: Northern Gulf of Mexico shelf/slope from Tampa to Galveston.

Lat/Lon: 29° 0.0′ N / 88° 0.0′ W

Depth Range: 0 / 1000

Will the vessel be operating within 200 NM of a foreign country? no

Science objectives

The primary objective of the proposed March/April 2011 R/V Oceanus plankton imaging sampling cruise is to collect high-resolution data on plankton and marine snow together with environmental variables using the VPRII.  A high-speed survey of the shelf and slope waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico will be conducted, with the transect lines running through the standard SEAMAP stations and extending beyond them into the slope sea (Figure 2).  The occurrence, abundance, biomass, and vertical distribution of plankton and marine snow, together with ocean temperature, salinity, chlorophyll fluorescence, PAR, and turbidity in the Gulf of Mexico will be quantified in real time.  This sampling will allow direct comparison of data from traditional samplers used in the SEAMAP surveys and the current NRDA MOCNESS surveys with optical imaging of the VPRII.  The VPRII sampling will extend the spatial resolution of the present sampling and will allow quantification of fragile plankton and marine snow.  It will also allow comparison between deeper DAVPR optical-based sampling in the slope region with net-based sampling of shelf and slope regions.  The proposed Oceanus cruise is part of the over-arching plan to conduct sampling in each season, utilizing several sampling methods (e.g. MOCNESS, bongo net, neuston net, and imaging systems).  The duration of the program with respect to the number of years is to be determined.  Because plankton are transported over wide areas, and populations are connected across the northern Gulf of Mexico, sampling plans need to be broad in geographic scope. 

Science Activities

We wil conduct 10-knot surveys using the VPRII.  We will have 3 watches, 8-on and 16-off for the 24/7 ops.  We will start samping off Tampa and continue along the proposed grid until reaching Panama City, FL, on about March 19, where we will exchange some of the science party.  We then will continue the survey until reaching Galveston, TX on about April 9.
Shipboard ops will involve primarily towing the VPRII.  Depending on time, weather, VPRII malfunctions, we will also bring the DAVPR and the Holocam for sampling at fixed stations along the grid at depths up to 1000m.  These operations are considered as a backup plan to the main VPRII mission.  In the event we use the DAVPR/Holocam, we will have it mounted on a small CTD frame, with the DAVPR frame mounted to it.

Pre-cruise planning meeting: Visit WHOI


  Station 1
  Distance: 2000
  Days: 33d
  Latitude: 27° 30.0’ N
  Longitude: 83° 30.0’ W

Funding Agency: NOAA #TBD

- added NOAA #TBD on Jan 28, 2011 1:36 PM by Cabell S. Davis

R/V Oceanus

Shipboard Equipment

Bathymetry System 12 kHz
Bathymetry System 3.5 kHz
ADCP 150 kHz
ADCP 75 kHz

CTD/Water Sampling

911+ Rosette 24-position, 10-liter bottle Rosette with dual T/C sensors

Critical CTD Sensors: 

MET Sensors

Barometric Pressure
Air temperature
Relative Humidity
Wind speed and direction
Short Wave Solar Radiation


Will you be using Long Base Line (LBL) navigation? no

Will you be using Doppler/GPS navigation? yes


CTD Winch with .322" Electro-mechanical wire

Winch Notes: We will be using the VPRII which has it's own 0.322" fiber optic cable, winch, slip rings, and block.
Slip ring required? no Number of conductors: 
Non-standard wire required? no Type: 
Traction winch required? no Describe: 

Other Science Vans:

Specialized Deck Equipment

Mooring Deployment/Recovery Equipment Required: no Type: 
Cruise Specific Science Winch Required: yes Type: VPRII with winch
Nets Required: no Type: 

Over the Side Equipment

Will you be bringing any equipment (winches, blocks, etc.) that lowers instruments over the side? yes

Details: VPRII has its own winch and block

Special Requirements

Elecrical Power: yes Identify: 440 3-phase for winch and 120VAC 30amp clean power inside main lab
Equipment Handling: no Identify: 
Inter/intraship Communications: no Identify: 
Science Stowage: no Identify: 
Water: no Identify: 

Additional Cruise Items/Activities

Explosive Devices: no
Portable Air Compressors: no
Flammable Gases: no
Small Boat Operations: no
SCUBA Diving Operations: no

Hazardous Material

Will hazardous material be utilized? no

Radioactive Material

Radioiosotopes: no

Additional Information

Is night time work anticipated on this cruise? yes

Specialized tech support (Seabeam, coring, other): We will do 24/7 VPRII towing operations as we have done in the past on the Oceanus.

Other required equipment and special needs: 
Date Submitted: Jan 28, 2011 1:44 PM by Cabell S. Davis