Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Representing the conventional 'top predators', Mitch Rider from the UM Shark Lab joins the #NF1802 blog

One of our graduate students, Mitch Rider, joins us for another post #ontheblog!

Mitch, John and Chief Survey Tech deploy the CTD  rosette
"My name is Mitchell Rider and I am currently a Master’s Student at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Miami, FL. I work as a Laboratory Technician in the FORCES Lab tracking eddies using satellite imagery supporting the MBON project, while my graduate research investigates shark movement ecology in relation to urbanization. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to join the lab on this cruise.
Mitch discovers plankton!
My goals were to gain experience working in the open sea (since shark tagging trips last up to six hours) and to participate in the process of taking plankton samples. One of the most significant things I experienced was sorting through plankton samples collected from bongo and neuston nets. I was fascinated to find a plethora of organisms I have never seen before in addition to the larval forms of fish that I am very familiar with such as mahi-mahi, pufferfish, and lionfish. I was most excited in my newfound ability to identify larval bluefin tuna since that was one of the target species of this cruise. I would like to thank the FORCES Lab and the crew of the Nancy Foster for this opportunity to participate in the RESTORE NF1802 Cruise. This experience opened my eyes to a different field of study that is both fascinating and worth looking into for a future career as a marine scientist.
Zooplankton typically encountered in the Gulf of Mexico in May! Magnification is 10x
Sarah, Raul and Mitch with the plankton net



Survey track for leg 2 aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster #NF1802

Mitch in his Shark-Life. Image by M. Bernanke
"As I mentioned before, my work as a lab technician for the FORCES Lab consists of tracking and measuring the sizes of mesoscale and submesoscale eddies along the Florida Channel. This entails running through daily chlorophyll and sea surface temperature satellite imagery and identifying potential eddies. In addition, I am also pursuing my Master of Science degree at RSMAS where my research is investigating the relationship between shark movement and boat traffic. This is achieved
through analyzing the residency patterns of sharks detected on our acoustic receiver array in relation to boat passages that are recorded using passive acoustic hydrophones or ‘underwater listening stations'".

If you are interested in more shark-y research, check out the UM Shark Lab on FB!


"The National Marine Sanctuaries serve as sentinel sites for monitoring marine biodiversity of the nation’s coastal, shelf and deep-sea ecosystems. The Sanctuaries MBON project includes Monterey Bay, Flower Garden Banks and Florida Keys ecosystems to assess: 1) the deep sea (pelagic realm and seabed); 2) continental shelves; 3) estuaries and nearshore regions; and 4) coral reefs." (source: MBON website)

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