Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Cruise Planning Synopsis

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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: Mar 9, 2011

St Petersburg FL

Arrival: Apr 8, 2011

Galveston TX

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.

Additional Info

Pre-cruise Planning Meeting: Visit WHOI


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

Supporting documentation:

Notes: Dead head transit from WHOI to St. PETE
March 1 - March 7

This cruise will have a port stop on MARCH 19 into Panama City FL. Departing March 20 for sea.

Dead head transit Galveston to WHOI
April 10 - April 18.


Funding Agency: NOAA
Grant or contract number: TBD

Scientific Instrumentation for R/V Oceanus

Shipboard Equipment

Bathymetry System 12 kHz
ADCP 75 kHz
ADCP 150 kHz

CTD/Water Sampling

Biospherical underwater PAR (1000m depth limit) with reference Surface PAR

Critical CTD Sensors

MET Sensors

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


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? yes


CTD Winch with .322" Electro-mechanical wire
Other Portable Winch
Winch Notes: VPR II WINCH for VPR
Wires Notes: We will be using the VPRII which has it's own 0.322" fiber optic cable, winch, slip rings, and block.

Standard Oceanographic Cables

Slip ring required? no Number of conductors: 
Non-standard wire required? no Type: 
Traction winch required? no Describe: 

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
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
Describe deployment method and quantity:

Radioactive Material


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:

Checklist & Notes


U.S. Customs Form: no
Diplomatic Clearance: no
Date Submitted:
Date Approved:
Agent Information:

Attn: Scientist's Name
c/o Fillette Green Shipping Services Corp.
3333 West Kennedy Blvd., Suite 207
Tampa, FL 33609

Contacts: Christian Pundsack, General Manager, Mobile: (813) 356-8744
                 Jozef Pachcinski, Operations Manager, Mobile: (813) 624-3954
                 Marcello Provedel, Agent, Mobile: (813) 624-3953
Phone: (813) 348-1481
Fax: (813) 348-1400
Email: tpa@fillettegreen.com

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


Attn: Scientist's Name
Biehl & Co. LP
600 Gulf Freeway
Suite 230
Texas City, TX 77591

Tel  : 409-763-6451 (24 hours)
Fax : 409-763-2026
Cell : 281-702-7245, Craig Crawford
Cell:  409-789-7561, George Christie

Contacts: Craig Crawford, George Christie

The above address is for mail and small packages only. For larger items, (over 40 pounds) please use the following:

Master R/V Ship Name
Attn: Scientist's Name
Biehl & Co.
c/o Danner's Inc.
1828 Mechanic St.
Galveston, TX 77550

Phone: (409) 762-9638

Note: Agent and WHOI contacts should be copied on all communications. It is requested that shipment information of any equipment be communicated to the Agent and WHOI contacts
Isotope Use Approval: no
Isotope Notes:
SCUBA Diving: no


SSSG Tech: