We appreciate your interest. If the links below do not provide the information you need, feel free to call Erin at the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation ( 207-985-8088) or Jim at the Woods Hole NOAA lab (508-495-2211). This page is actively under development. While this project is far from over, the final report to the funding agency has been submitted (see pdf).
How to overlay drifters tracks on other variables...
Observations thus far
Analysis thus far
Lobstermen involved include, for example:
Sooky Sawyer (Gloucester, Ma.) Ed Hunt and son Ken (Phippsburg, Me) Stevie Robbins III (Stonington) Nick Lemieux and Jeremy Cates (Cutler, Me) Proctor Wells (Sebasco, Me) Billy Souza and son Joey (Truro, Ma)
- Drifter Proposal to Northeast Consortium
- Drifter Manuals: Design, Construction, & Use
- Drifter photo gallery
- Misscellaneous PowerPoint Presentations and Animations
- Either click here and follow instructions on interactive GIS mapping tool
- or, alternatively, click here, to follow instructions on another interactive GIS mapping tool
In either case, please provide feedback (508-495-2211) and note not all drifters are incorporated here yet
- Summary Drifter Tracks by Time-of-Launch
Month/Year Area Covered Launch Location ID#s TypeDrifter (Tracks) Notes click underlined items
below for "fli" animations
click underlined"gif" animation (more-easily viewed on most browsers
but lesser quality frames)
click underlined items
below for still plots
click underlined items below
for project website
multiple multiple variety archive May 2003(12) Gulf of Maine
Isle au Haut 353811-17 Brightwater w/GPS see MERHAB project May 2003
Isle au Haut 35381-10 Heather w/phoned-in fixes eMOLT test March 2004
Gloucester 43202 Rachel w/GPS prototype eMOLT test (MWRA washup) May 2004 (10)
Isle au Haut 45383:2:453811 Brightwater w/GPS drogued see MERHAB project May 2004 (1) Gulf of Maine Isle au Haut 45380:2:45312,453813:453819 Rachel w/GPS see MERHAB project June 2004
Multiple 46202,46392,46382,46472 Rachel w/GPS eMOLT for real July 2004
Multiple 47202,47392,47382,47472 Rachel w/GPS eMOLT for real August 2004
Multiple 48202,48392,48382,48472 Rachel w/GPS eMOLT for real September 2004
Mulitple 49202,49392,48982,49472 Rachel w/GPS eMOLT for real Summer 2004 (10) Gulf of Maine Multiple all lobstermen deployed Rachel w/GPS eMOLT 2004 summary Summer 2005 NE Continental Shlf Multiple 50000 series mostly Rachels/GPS 2005 summary April 2005(1)
Gulf of Maine
WHCOHH & NOAA whale/zooplankton
Rachels&Grahams WHOI Rapid Response, MWRA/Battelle
5739 & 5839 series
see Incze Lobster Larvae
Mt Hope Bay
Power Plant Outfall
Mass Bay & GSC
WHOI response to HABs and NOAA Right Whales
- Summary Drifter Tracks by Location-of-Launch (last updated mid-November 2004)
updated w/other years
Cape Small, Maine
Isle au Haut, Maine Isle au Haut, Maine Cutler, Maine
- Individual Drifter Tracks
June 2004 Launches
Launch Location Deployer (Track) ID# (Speed) Notes Cutler, Me NLemieux & J Cates 46472 looping & lost?
46474 sighted by Sooky in Mass Bay 28 July!
46471 washed ashore on Monhegan, reported 6 August stored at "Island Inn" Isle au Haut Stevie Robbins III 46382 recovered off NH Coast
Corey Roberts found it in her truck in Rockland Maine parking lot
46385 recovered off Plymouth Mass Cape Small Ed & Ken Hunt 46392 Georges Bank and lost Gloucester Sooky Sawyer 46202 washed ashore & relauched in July
46201 recovered: washed ashore in Gloucester
46204 recovered: washed ashore on Baker Island off Salem
July 2004 Launches
Launch Location Deployer (Track) ID# (Speed) Notes Cutler NLemieux & J Cates 47472 still going mid-GoM last heard 8/16
47473 ashore in Gouldsboro & redeployed in 30ftm by Dave Myrick Isle au Haut Stevie Robbins III 47382 north of Georges Bank ... no longer transmitting Cape Small Ed & Ken Hunt 47392 recovered: after washed up east side of N Harpswell after 5 days
47391 recovered: washed up Dingley Island Harpswell. Me Gloucester Sooky Sawyer 47202 recovered: after wash up on Milk Island
Sooky Sawyer too 47205 recovered: June's relaunch of 46202 landed in Truro Ma backside
recovered: washed up in Magnolia, Ma
Cape Sable NS Ashton Spinney 47362 recovered: held dockside for ransom by "Matthew" in Parker's Cove, NS
August 2004 Launches
Launch Location Deployer (Track) ID# (Speed) Notes Cutler NLemieux & J Cates 48472 recovered: after washing up in Casco Bay; Now at SMCC
48474 reported 8/3 off Swan's Island
Isle au Haut Stevie Robbins III 48382 washed up on Metinic Island on 12 Aug , redeployed by Woody Post on 13 Aug,washed up on Criehaven, and redeployed by Aston Norton ~28 Aug Cape Small Ed & Ken Hunt 48392 headed out to mid-gulf
Jason Hillman 48391 recovered: redeployed >30fthm
48391 recovered: by Brunswick Park Ranger Matt Wyman Gloucester Sooky Sawyer 48202 headed out to Georges Bank
September 2004 Launches
Launch Location Deployer (Track) ID# (Speed) Notes Cutler N Lemieux & J Cates 49472 headed to Georges Bank in early November
49474 washed up on Harbor Island on 12 Sept (near Swann's Island across from Scragg Island) & later recovered from the Swann's Island dump by Phil Dziezyk exactly one year later (12 Sept 2005) !!!
Isle au Haut Stevie Robbins III 49382
49383 washed up on the backside of Cape Cod in late October (Jeff Alberts will pick it up)
49385 washed up on the backside of Cape Cod in late October (ended up in Truro Elementary classroom!)
Cape Small Ed & Ken Hunt 49392
49391 reported by IVR phone 17 Sept at 4304N, 7013W by Paul Pelletier; recovered by Skip Webber off P-town on 7 Oct
49394 reported by IVR phone 22 Sept at 4240N, 7028W off Gloucester Gloucester Sooky Sawyer 49202 Malfunctioned after a few days and washed up on Cohasset Beach after 2 weeks
49201 recovered: by David Dow " ~200 ft from Fishermen's Statue in Gloucester"
Sooky will pick it up
49203 washed up on Sandy Neck Beach in Sandwich Ma. on 30 September
49204 recovered: by Joe Parisi "near the landing behind Gloucester High School"
April 2005 Launches
Launch Location Deployer (Track) ID# (Speed) Notes Truro, Ma
R/V ALBATROSS 54292
R/V ALBATROSS 54293
May 2005 Launches
Billy Souza 55292
Billy Souza 55293
Dennis McGillicuddy 55202
Dennis McGillicuddy 55203
Isle au Haut
Dennis McGillicuddy 55381
Dennis McGillicuddy 55382 WHCOHH
Dennis McGillicuddy 55383 WHCOHH
Dennis McGillicuddy 55384 WHCOHH
Dennis McGillicuddy 55385 WHCOHH
Dennis McGillicuddy 55386 WHCOHH
Bay of Fundy
Dennis McGillicuddy 55461 Went east of Grand Manan & ashore on White Head Island
Dennis McGillicuddy 55462 Went west of Grand Manan & died off Machias
Dennis McGillicuddy 55463 Went ashore on NW coast of Grand Manan
Dennis McGillicuddy 55465 mid-gyre & died?
Dennis McGillicuddy 55466
converged to Digby & died?
Dennis McGillicuddy 55467 converged to Digby & died?
Dennis McGillicuddy 55468 converged to Digby & died?
converged to Digby
June 2005 Launches
South of MV
Bruce Keafer WHOI Rapid Response
towards WH, around Block Island, and then south
outside Stellwagen & Ptown w/ weak signals
Matt Fitzpatrick MWRA/Battelle
Cape Cod Bay & recovered by fishermen outside Barnstable Harbor
July/August 2005 Launches
outfall outside Stellwagen & Ptown?
Matt Fitzpatrick MWRA/Battelle
Lew Incze Mid-coast Maine deployments:
dropsite (time series)
NE of Monhegan SW
West of Matinicus NE
W of Metinic NW 1
reused as 583922
N of Monhegan SE
7/28 7/31 reused as 583932
NE of Monhegan SW
7/30 7/31 sporadic fixes, reused as 583921
West of Matinicus NE
died 8/3 & later recovered by Casco Bay fisherman 573924
W of Metinic NW
reused as 583924
N of Monhegan SE
reused as 583934 583921
W of Metinic NW 3
died 8/2, flooded, recovered by Lew, and brought home
N of Monhegan SE 3
was "31" in cluster 1, reused as 583942
West of Matinicus NE 3
W of Metinic NW 4
N of Monhegan
West of Matinicus NE 4
October 2005 Launches
Spring 2006 Launches
Date Deployer (track)
Backside of Cape Cod 5 May R/V ALBATROSS 65291 ? R/V ALBATROSS 65292 Ashore on Nantucket R/V ALBATROSS 65293 Ashore on Nantucket 16 May R/V ALBATROSS 65294 Georges Bank? R/V ALBATROSS 65295 ? Boston Outfall 11 May R/V TIOGA 65201 Ashore at Cohassett, Ma R/V TIOGA 65202 Ashore on Peddocks Island inside Boston Harbor R/V TIOGA 65203 Ashore at Brant Rock, Ma Stellwagen 18 May R/V TIOGA 65204 ? R/V TIOGA 65205 intermittent fixes R/V TIOGA 65206 ? Isle au Haut 11 June R/V OCEANUS 66381 ? R/V OCEANUS 66382 ? R/V OCEANUS 66383 ? R/V OCEANUS 66384 ? R/V OCEANUS 66385 ? R/V OCEANUS 66386 ? Bay of Fundy 13 June R/V OCEANUS 66461 ? R/V OCEANUS 66462 ? R/V OCEANUS 66463 ? R/V OCEANUS 66464 ? R/V OCEANUS 66465 ? R/V OCEANUS 66466 ? R/V OCEANUS 66467 ? R/V OCEANUS 66468 ? R/V OCEANUS 66469 ? Boston Harbor 27 June R/V Key Largo 65207 (surface) ? R/V Key Largo 65208 (drogued) ?
Spring/Summer 2007 Launches
Date Deployed Deployer (track)
Truro 8 May R/V ALBATROSS 75291 Georges Bank w/intermittent transmissions R/V ALBATROSS 75292 Georges Bank w/very few intermittent transmissions R/V ALBATROSS 75293 stalled on Cultivator Shoals, moved on to SE Georges by late June, and recovered Tommy D'entremont, a Lower East Pubnico Nova Scotian swordfisherman, on 6 July.. 29 May R/V ALBATROSS 75294 Georges Bank R/V ALBATROSS 75295 Georges Bank R/V ALBATROSS 75296 Great South Channel Cape Ann 19 May R/V ENDEAVOR 75201 Mass Bay gyre, stalled on Nantucket Shoals,... R/V ENDEAVOR 75202 slow start and on to Great South Channel R/V ENDEAVOR 75203 Georges Bank w/very intermittent transmissions Isle au Haut 21 May R/V ENDEAVOR 75381 Ashore on Matinicus and redeployed by lobsterman, John Mitchell R/V ENDEAVOR 75382 core of coastal current!! R/V ENDEAVOR 75383 entrained in coastal current, sighted and reported by Mike Anderson of Rye NH, searched for by my Wellfleetian niece, Linnette Letendre and her buddy, found by Arthur Cashin of Nashville, Ten. on the beach of his Wellfleet home, and successfully recovered by my Wellfleetian nephew, Robbie Letendre, and his buddy R/V ENDEAVOR 75384 mid-gulf R/V ENDEAVOR 75385 mid-gulf R/V ENDEAVOR 75386 mid-gulf Bay of Fundy 24 May R/V ENDEAVOR 75461 Ashore at mouth of Passamaquoddy, attempted recovery by Dana of "Island Shellfish", and subsequently found be Tim Miller on south side of Indian Island R/V ENDEAVOR 75462 escaped BoF gyre, sent last transmission on 6 June off Jonesport Maine after apparently getting caughtup in gear, and found by Micah Philbrook off Rockland Maine w/out drogue R/V ENDEAVOR 75463 escaped BoF first, caught in gear, and recovered by Eric Green of Gran Manan R/V ENDEAVOR 75464 escaped BoF gyre, circled Jordan's Basin, ... R/V ENDEAVOR 75465 apparently ashore on Grand Manan R/V ENDEAVOR 75466 escaped gyre; sighted and reported off Bar Harbor by Steve Brown w/drogued attached R/V ENDEAVOR 75467 retained in highly-tidal upper-BoF for 40+ days until it escaped BoF on 6 July and headed down EMCC. R/V ENDEAVOR 75468 Recovered by Albert Dickson, a fishermen out of St. John's NB, on 14 June after a few days of infrequent fixes R/V ENDEAVOR 75469 hung up on Cook's Aquaculture gear on the western side of Bay of Fundy (Black's Harbour) on 6th June, recovered by Randy Griffin and crew on 13 June, and brought to St. A's lab. Cape Ann 28 Jun R/V ENDEAVOR 76201 R/V ENDEAVOR 76202 R/V ENDEAVOR 76203 Isle au Haut 29 June R/V ENDEAVOR 76381 R/V ENDEAVOR 76382 R/V ENDEAVOR 76383 R/V ENDEAVOR 76384 R/V ENDEAVOR 76385 R/V ENDEAVOR 76386 Bay of Fundy 2 July R/V ENDEAVOR 76461 suddenly stopped transmitting on 10 July south and east of Grand Manan R/V ENDEAVOR 76462 Recovered on the west side of Bay of Fundy by Beaver Harbor New Brunswick fisherman, Reid Hatt, on 9 July R/V ENDEAVOR 76463 Recovered and brought to shore by Joey Green, a Grand Manan fishermen, on 5 July R/V ENDEAVOR 76464 R/V ENDEAVOR 76465 R/V ENDEAVOR 76466 R/V ENDEAVOR 76467 R/V ENDEAVOR 76468 recovered by scallop researcher, Mark Lundy (BIO), on 13 July 2007 since it had lost its drogue R/V ENDEAVOR 76469 Sighted and reported by a Shelbourne, NS fishermen, Johnny Jackson on 9 July Georges bank 4 July R/V ENDEAVOR 77071 backward flow (wind-driven?) on southern flank Casco Bay (Bowdoin) September? R/V SEAWAY21 79391 Casco Bay (SMCC) October? R/V Carol Ann 70301
Analysis thus far:
As of this writing (Early 2005), the Rachel GPS units have logged well over 30 thousand kilometers of ocean. Analysis of these tracks have just begun with preliminary examinations.
- Residual Flow: As a first step in the investigation, velocities were calculated and time series plots of low-passed velocities (tidal oscillations filtered out) were generated for each unit (see links to other "speed" plots in table above).
- Regional Statistics: Secondly, a analysis of each of the four regions of the coast was conducted providing statistics such as transit times and mean velocities. The results indicate a progressive decrease in both maximum advection speeds and flow variance from east to west along the coast. The mean "transit times" for the four sections of the coast are approximately 10, 12 , 17, and 21 days resulting in a total of two months travel from Cutler, Maine to Georges Bank. Much more analysis is required, however, to test the sensitivity of to defining these "regions" particularly in the southern zones where the flow is much more variable. This same analysis has been done on the May 2004 MERHAB deployment.
- Simple Wind-Driven Components: Finally, how much of the flow variance is purely wind-driven. To initiate this investigation, a very simple "Ekman" model was constructed to advect numerical particles (given a prescribed constant climatological flow) and compare with observations. The results of this simple model results will eventually be compared to the more sophisticated, time-varying, 3-d models like QUODDY and FVCOM.
- A few examples of simulations to be continued in the near future:
- september-like flow
- expected trajectories given particular forcings
- simple wind-forced Ekman model often sufficient to get most interannual variability
- In both 2003 and 2004, drifters were retained in the Great South Channel region for several days. This may provide a mechanism for concentrating right whales plankton and a support hypothesis for the cruise work in this area in 2005. See animations of this phenomenon for both 2003 and 2004.
- This same type of process may occur in the Bay of Fundy as seen in the 2004 animation.
- One of the most interesting animated events occurred just north of Gloucester where a drifter entered an estuary and subsequently left.
- Comparison with moored observations: Drifters often passed the vicinity of GoMOOS moorings. While a direct comparison of velocity observation is not possible, a cursory look at the differences was conducted nevertheless by extracting periods of time when the drifters were within a prescribed box. The overall mean Lagrangian (~1 meter) velocity in the vicinity of GoMOOS mooring "E" was 12.8 cm/s where the moored current meter (~2 meters) measured a mean 15.8 cm/s Eulerian flow. The differences can be attributed to many variations including the fact that the drifters very near the surface may be slowed compared to the subsurface due to the effects of the summer wind. In other words, the coastal current jet mave have a subsurface maximum. This hypothesis will be tested further in 2005. This same analysis was conducted at mooring "I" where the Lagragian and Eulerian flows were within 1 cm/s of each other.
- Cost comparison of manual sightings and automated GPS fixes: In order to access the cost benefits of electronic-less ("heathers") vs those with electronics ("rachels"), the total documented-distances traveled by each design was divided by the expense of the unit. While the "heather" design was 4x less expensive to build, the kms/$ figure was several times less those using GPS tranmitters. So, in the end, given all the hidden cost of outreach needed for heathers, the rachel units were more efficient data gatherers. There was far less "heather" sightings than hoped, 52 in 2004. Nevertheless, some of the electronic-less units did help document the fairly quick travel time from downeast to Cape Cod.
For further information contact: James.Manning@noaa.gov