Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Cruise Planning Synopsis

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OC 468-2


R/V Oceanus

Cruise Party

Joseph Montoya: Principal Investigator, Chief Scientist
Georgia Institute of Technology EST Bldg, 311 Ferst Drive Atlanta, GA USA 30332
+1 404 385 0479

Departure: Aug 21, 2010

Gulfport MS

Arrival: Sep 16, 2010

Gulfport MS

Operations Area

Gulf of Mexico
Depth Range: 0 / 3000
Will the vessel be operating within 200 NM of a foreign country? NO
Are visas or special travel documents required? no

Science Objectives

This project has the following specific goals:

1.            Identify the major diazotroph groups in the Gulf of Mexico and characterize their distribution and activity in different regions and water masses. 

2.            Quantify the impact of advective processes, mesoscale features, and riverine inputs on nutrient limitation and N2-fixation in the Gulf, and evaluate the controls on N2-fixation and the degree of spatial and temporal niche differentiation among diazotroph assemblages in different regions affected by these processes.

3.            Use satellite data and physical models to scale up our measurements spatially and to evaluate the regional significance of N2-fixation in the Gulf of Mexico.  We will also use a coupled physical/biological model to explore variability in the physical forcings and the potentia l impact of likely land use and climate change scenarios in altering nutrient dynamics and N2-fixation in the Gulf of Mexico.

This cruise will provide critical field data for goals 1 and 2, as well as ground-truthing for the modeling effort of goal 3.

********************* NEW MAY 17 ,2010 ********************************
Over the last few days, we've rethought our fall cruise as it's become evident that much of the oil from the Deep Horizon leak isn't reaching the surface and that the 5000 bbl/day official release rate estimate could be low by an order of magnitude or more. The  bottom line is that an awful lot of oil is getting into the water column and we really don't know much about where it's going or what it's impact is/will be on ecosystems in the Gulf. 
We discussed this situation with Dave Garrison on Friday and he was very supportive of us changing the focus of our cruise and using it to survey and assess the spread and impact of the oil.  Dave asked us to try to assemble a team that could attack the problem of the physical spread of the oil and its impact through the food web.  We're working on this but wanted to let you know of this change in plan and to start a discussion of what the revised cruise plan would look like.
Our current thinking is that we would make use of the two ships in complementary ways:
  • The Oceanus will focus on the vertical distribution of oil and its impact on phytoplankton and zooplankton.  We envision running a series of stations along a roughly E-W transect along the slope and one or more transects running out into deep water.  We would be using a CTD-rosette system to sample the water column and both meter nets and the mocness to sample zooplankton.  We'll also want to use a LADCP system to measure flows in deep plumes of oil.  We're talking to Andreas Thurnherr at LDEO, who has experience in these measurements and expect that he'll have someone on board to carry them out.  We would carry out deck incubations to assess productivity, nutrient dynamics, and toxicity of hydrocarbons in the water column.  Finally, we would like to take box and gravity cores at selected stations.
  • The Cape Hatteras will focus on mapping the spatial extent of oil in the upper water column through a broad survey of the northern Gulf.  This would involve mostly towed instrumentation and in-line analyses complemented by CTD profiles and net tows at selected stations.  A limited amount of experimental work would be done on this ship.

Science Activities

CTD casts, mocness tows, meter net tows, surface pumping for collecting large volumes of water, deck incubations, floating sediment traps, moored sediment trap (1), multicoring (if no multicore then box and gravity core), camera deployment, radioisotopes, possible small boat ops for personnel transfer between R/V Cape Hatteras and sample collecting.

Additional Info

Pre-cruise Planning Meeting: Teleconference


Supporting documentation:

Notes: This cruise has changed considerably due to the Deep Horizon Oil Spill.  Our staging / operating port is still TBD (as of 7/13/10). 
**NEW 7/26** GULFPORT MS is confirmed as the operational port for this cruise. (eb)


1)Scientist will require the 8 hour HAZWOPR Trainging. 
2) Scientist will be required to to take the RESPIRATOR GASMASK FIT TEST. (sci will supply their own)
3) TYVEC suits will be reuired for everyone on board (sci will supply their own)
4) Expect observers from USCG, EPA, BP and SIMOPS
5) Restricted area w/in 15 nm of Deep Horizon well head.


Funding Agency: NSF
Grant or contract number: OCE-0928495

Scientific Instrumentation for R/V Oceanus

Other Science Vans:

Shipboard Equipment

ADCP 75 kHz
ADCP 150 kHz
Science Underway Seawater System
Deionized Water System
Fume Hood

CTD/Water Sampling

SBE43 oxygen sensor
Wet Labs ECO-AFL fluorometer
Wet Labs C*Star transmissometer (660nm wavelength)
Biospherical underwater PAR (1000m depth limit) with reference Surface PAR

Critical CTD Sensors

Still looking for PH sensor, C-DOM Flurometer. These may not be found in time for cruise.

CTD-Related Equipment

Lowered Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (LADCP)

Hydrographic Analysis Equipment

Salt Bottles (2 cases of 125 ml provided)
Oxygen Sample Bottles (available in 150 ml sizes)

MET Sensors

Wind speed and direction
Air temperature

Sediment Sampling


Sample Storage

Refrigerator 8.6 cu. ft.
Chest Freezer (Household type) 0°F
Freezer -70°C 3.2 cu. ft. ea.


Will you be using Long Base Line (LBL) navigation? no
How many nets? 0
How many tansponders? 0
Will you be using Doppler/GPS navigation? no


CTD Winch with .322" Electro-mechanical wire
Hydro Winch with .25" hydro wire
Trawl Winch with 9/16th trawl wire
Winch Notes: CTD/.322 will be used for CTD casts
Com 15 will be used for the mocness deployments
9/16th Trawl wire for multicoring.
* iF camera is mounted on multicore, .322 would have to be method of deployment which would be very difficult due to space contraints.
**7/26/10 - NO muliticore camera. 
They will provide a separate camera that will be deployed off the 9/16th trawl wire in crane crutch.
Seamac 800? will be used for 1000 meter hydro wire for nets and for floating sediment trap deployments.
Wires Notes: Metering block needed for the meter net deployments.

Standard Oceanographic Cables

  Instrument(s) Instrument Weight(s) Maximum Depth
Conducting Hydro: mocness 1000 m
Hydro: meter nets 100 lb (incl wt.) 250 m wire out
Slip ring required? no Number of conductors: 
Non-standard wire required? no Type: 
Traction winch required? no Describe: 

Portable Vans

Isotope Van
Science Van 1
Type/size: Berthing Van Location: 01 deck
Water: no Power:yes

Specialized Deck Equipment

Mooring Deployment/Recovery Equipment Required: yes Type:  1 sediment trap mooring
Cruise Specific Science Winch Required: yes Type: Net tows & sediment traps
Nets Required: yes Type: mocness, meter nets

Over the Side Equipment

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

Special Requirements

Elecrical Power: yes Identify: power for seamac winch
Equipment Handling: no Identify: 
Inter/intraship Communications: yes Identify: we'll need to coordinate operations with the Cape Hatteras
Science Stowage: no Identify: 
Water: yes Identify: Will need to devise another way to collect UCSW vs the normal intakes due to possbl. contamination

Additional Cruise Items/Activities

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

Hazardous Material

Will hazardous material be utilized?yesDescribe deployment method and quantity:
Chemicals and Gases used.  Joe Montoya will submit a HAZMAT INVETORY FORM

Radioactive Material


Additional Information

Is night time work anticipated on this cruise?yesSpecialized tech support (Seabeam, coring, other):
Other required equipment and special needs:
1) Rad van will need a MULTI CELL COUNTER.  DF will see if van pool has a unols rad van for this cruise.

2) Acoustic optical plankton counter
3) Laster optical palnkton counter will need to be mounted to rosette.? SIZES?


Checklist & Notes


U.S. Customs Form: no
Diplomatic Clearance: no
Date Submitted:
Date Approved:
Agent Information:
Master R/V Ship Name
Attn: Scientist's Name - OC468-2
c/o WHOI
266 Woods Hole Rd.
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Contact: Eric Benway
Phone: (508) 289-3770
Fax: (508) 457-2185
Email: ebenway@whoi.edu



Master:  R/V OCEANUS
Attn:  Scientist's Name - OC468-2
Fillette Green Shipping Services (USA) Corp.
261 N. Conception Street
Mobile, AL   36603

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 1842
Mobile, AL   36633
Phone:  (251) 375-2224
Fax:  (251) 423-6813
Email: mob@fillettegreen.com

Contact:  John Chaulk
Cell:  (251) 379-6597

Port of Gulfport address:

Mississippi State Port at Gulfport
30th Avenue South Extension West Pier
Gulfport, MS. 39501


WHOI NOTE:  Agent and WHOI contacts should be copied on all communications.  It is requested that shipping information of any equipment be communicated to the Agent and
WHOI contacts.

Isotope Use Approval: yes
Isotope Notes:
Authorization requests need to be submitted
SCUBA Diving: no


SSSG Tech:
Catie Graver (female)
Some pre loading at WHOI:  AUG 9 & 10. 
  - Chems, gases, Argos floats, portable winch, mocness, sed trap mooring
1 scientist will ride transit down to GOM from WHOI to measure UCSW and hydrocarbons as vessel nears the coast of FL to determine drifting effects of plumes.

Loading at Gulfport MS:
Unols Rad van, multicore, camera, nets, floating traps, chems, rads.
Multicoring will replace the box core and gravity core.
SPACE will be extremely tight so deploying the multicore w/ cameras off the .322 wire and hydroboom would require relocating the CTD and Mocness each time.  We explained that this would be dangerous to personnel and equipment due to lack of deck space.
Uta Passow will be deploying floating sediment traps and WILL have 1 time series sed trap to be deployed. Uta's sediment trap arrived WHOI and will be loaded Aug 9.