Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Oceanography Branch

Ship of Opportunity Transect Surveys


Ship of Opportunity (SOOP) Transect Surveys have been conducted monthly with the Hardy Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) across the Gulf of Maine since 1961, and from New York towards Bermuda since 1971. This unique towed body samples zooplankton and larger phytoplankton organisms at a depth of 10 meters. The resulting time series rank among the longest for the northwest Atlantic. Links to the plankton data are posted here.

Expendable bathythermographs (XBT's) and surface salinity measurements were added in 1977 and are operated in cooperation with Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML). Inter-institution agreements since the early 1990s have resulted in the acquisition and installation of an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) and flow-through thermosalinograph.

Route MC extends from the Massachusetts/New Hampshire coast to Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, a distance of approximately 450 km, crossing Massachusetts Bay, Wilkinson Basin, the central Gulf of Maine ledges, Crowell Basin, and the western Scotian Shelf. Sampling along this route began in 1961.

Route MB extends from Ambrose Light off New York City toward Bermuda for a distance of approximately 450 km crossing the continental shelf, passing through shelf water, and usually extending in Gulf Stream water. Sampling along this route began in 1972.

Cruises on the MB route last one week and are aboard a merchant vessel. Anyone wishing to volunteer should contact Jon.Hare@noaa.gov.

Water Column Temperature to a maximum depth of 750 m is measured at 19-63 km intervals via expendable bathythermograph (XBT). Near-surface temperature and salinity measurements are made and recorded digitally while the vessels are underway utilizing a thermosalinograph. AOML provides equipment, software and computers in support of the TSG and XBT data collection as part of a much larger global observation program (AOML GOOS Center). AOML also provides logistical assistance for the SOOP program.

See "Monthly Ecosystem Indices" page for products derived from this project.



For further information contact: Jon.Hare@noaa.gov

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(File Modified Sep. 10 2012)