Environmental Monitors on Lobster Traps

Phase III: Data Management

Proposal to:

Northeast Consortium

James P. Manning

Northeast Fisheries Science Center


Bonnie Spinazzola

Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen Association

Executive Director

Patrice Farrey

Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation and

Maine Lobstermen Association

Executive Director

Clare Grindal

Downeast Lobstermen Association

Executive Director


David Casoni

Massachusetts Lobstermen Association



Having completed the distribution of temperature probes in phase I and salinity probes in phase II, the eMOLT project is now fully operational with nearly one hundred monitoring sites throughout the Gulf of Maine. The objective now is to simply maintain these long-term sites and fine-tune our record keeping procedures. We strive to minimize the effort required by lobstermen in accurately, systematically, and efficiently documenting deployments. So that data can be collected, processed, and archived for many years to come, we now propose "Phase III: Data Management ". The goal will be to setup small computer stations at several locations along the coast where eMOLT participants can get help in downloading, documenting, and viewing their data. Industry representatives will be trained in all aspects of the eMOLT operations including hardware and software. They will train participants (ie lobstermen) to document data in paperless media (ie with electronic logging devices and web-based forms). With a minimal amount of equipment (laptops connected to the internet), the industry representatives will ensure that all deployments are formally documented in a standardized way so that all environmental records are properly stored in the publicly-available eMOLT database. These industry representatives will report on a quarterly basis to their respective lobster association representatives (MaLA, MeLA, DELA, or AOLA) on the status of the local eMOLT records. As in the previous two phases, the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation will act to distribute the funds and equipment to the associations. While most of the funding will go to the industry representatives and individuals to train those representatives, administrative support will also be provided at the association and foundation levels. Travel money is requested for all "representatives" to attend quarterly meetings.

We are committed to this project. The participating lobstermen have demonstrated tremendous enthusiasm for the study . We hope to sustain that interest and provide them with data products in exchange for their efforts.


The reality of climate change on a global scale becomes more evident each year but the degree to which it affects our local marine ecosystem is largely unknown.  With a set of  inexpensive monitoring stations at a variety of depths off our coast, we hope to build an archive of  multi-year observations.  We hope that this dataset will contribute to our understanding of  the long-term variability of  temperature and salinity, the most important  physical oceanographic parameters. In order for this dataset to be useful however, it needs to be well documented and accurate.  In order to detect a scientifically significant variation in these quantities, the source of error must to be kept at an absolute minimum.  The lobster industry and the scientific community can overcome these limitations given a concerted effort to systematically document data.  This is the general rationale of eMOLT Phase III.

The importance of data management can not be overstated.  As an example, our recent  eMOLT efforts to compile and archive the historical temperature records from various labs around New England found information stored in very haphazard and disjointed ways.   Data collected from various state and federal labs were received in a variety of forms including ascii files, spreadsheets files, and handwritten logs.  Prior to this effort each lab had conducted their own sampling with little knowledge of the other's efforts.  Data collection was conducted with a variety of equipment, regularity, documentation, and degrees of  accuracy.  In some cases, the person responsible for collecting the data in years past had retired and left little documentation of their efforts.  Even in the case of Woods Hole Harbor temperature data,  the near-daily records from 1880 through 1960 are apparently lost for good.  The only information we have from most of that period is a table of monthly mean values from a particular publication (Bumpus, 1957). We are working with a group from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to digitize and analyze that data and continue to search for the lost log sheets.

As with any oceanographic mooring, the internally-recorded data is of little or no use without a proper "mooring log".   Mooring-deployment cruises aboard scientific research vessels typically employ an individual whose sole duty is to document the details of  each event underway:  location of instrument on mooring line, serial numbers, date and time of anchor drop, etc.   This critical information needs to be carefully transcribed to digital form and stored along with the actual time series of information.  Any physical oceanographer having gone to sea and being familiar with moored observations knows the value of these logs.   While the physical act of attaching the instrument to the mooring is relatively simple,  the process of recording accurate information on a mooring log is actually a  more time-consuming effort.  In the first few phases of eMOLT,  we have put conscious effort into the development of a standard eMOLT log sheet which has fields for all the pertinent information.  It was developed in the simplest possible form to minimize the effort needed to record the necessary information.

The second step in the documentation protocol  is to merge mooring logs from various participants.  This requires a considerable effort on the part of the association representative and/or,  as we are proposing here, the "industry representative" .  It is important that this merging process be conducted by a trained individual who is a) comfortable with basic spreadsheet functions,  b) is familiar with basic principles of the internet , and c) is well known and trusted by the local participants.  It is not the responsibility of the scientific party to compile the individual log sheets from  participants.  The scientific party should receive compiled log sheets from the various eMOLT representatives.

It is possible to bypass the requirement of both handwritten logs and compiled spreadsheets when participants make use of the electronic logger option.  We have implemented this option with the majority of the bigger offshore operations and some of the Maine boats (thanks to DMR funded projects), but it may be year or two before most of the inshore boats incorporate these units as standard gear.   As noted in the project plan below, the Mass Lobstermen Association, in particular, are in need of electronic loggers.  The advantage of having time-stamped GPS fixes automatically archived during each haul is obvious.

If the participants in this project are going to commit to the degree of effort required to document deployments, they need to be provided with frequent feedback.  A significant amount of outreach is necessary to contact each participant personally on a regular basis to demonstrate to them that the data they collect a)  is received and processed  and  b)  is available on the web in both graphical and digital form, and c) is appreciated.  We have found that it is necessary to frequently remind participants that their data is important and that they need to be conscious of the location(s)/depth(s) of their standard eMOLT sites.  It is necessary to find ways to display the data and to make note of the most interesting features of the data.

No amount of technological advance can be useful without the work of trained individuals to implement the technology and to properly validate the output.  If this was not the case, the next phase of eMOLT would be to deploy oxygen and fluorescent sensors along with the temperature and salinity probes.  If  this was not the case,  we might propose to buy  many more probes and could easily find new participants to deploy them.  However, the rationale of eMOLT is to gradually progress towards a system  for collecting quality data.  It is first necessary to get instruments in the water, set up the infrastructure to handle large quantities of data, and then set up the ability to report on that data with an effective strategy.

No amount of electronic emails will replace the quality of personal visits.  Dockside discussions with individual lobstermen have been the most effective form of communication in eMOLT phase I and II.   Hotel lobby conversations with participants at annual forums and weekend retreats are far more informative than any web site ever posted.  Not all lobstermen want to log on the computer when they get home each night.

One difficulty in communicating  with the lobster community is their dispersed geographic distribution.  No one individual can make personal contact with each of the nearly 100 participants without incurring prohibitive travel expenses and hence  the need for a team of industry representatives at strategic locations along the coast.  These industry representatives need to be readily accessible to the participants either in a waterfront office setting or willing to travel to the participants individual homeport.

Another difficulty in communicating with the lobster community is the real sensitivities of site information (lat/lon).  Many lobstermen are understandably uncomfortable in revealing trap locations to anyone and hence the need for local  industry representatives to convince them of the importance of the site information for science sake.

Individuals involved in the day-to-day operations of the lobstermen associations have little time for eMOLT tasks.  The "association representatives"  (Spinazzola, Farrey, Grindal, Casoni) are typically busy with important regulatory issues that involve their members. They are often on the road, tied up in council meetings and legal matters with little time to devote to eMOLT data processing.  Since most of them are executive directors of their respective organizations, they obviously have little time for simple office work such as data entry and phone calls to participants.  It is hoped that the "industry representatives" will cover these task for  the "association representatives"  but that the two will communicate regularly.  It is expected (see dissemination of results below) that  eMOLT results will be reported at an association meeting on a quarterly basis by the industry reps.

(The scientific "rationale" of the eMOLT project was developed in the  previous proposals and  a portion is repeated here. Reviewers can view complete rationale sections by clicking on "proposal documents" under the www.emolt.org web site.  As with the rest of the proposal, the most important words or phrases in each paragraph are highlighted in bold font.)

A network of strategically-located bottom temperature and salinity records in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank region would make an important contribution to operational oceanography.  Recent numerical modeling efforts  to characterize the important physical processes of our coastal ocean are limited by a lack of near-bottom data for both initializing and validating simulations.  Just as weather forecast modelers need a large expanse of data to initialize and assimilate the atmosphere,  oceanographers will require continuous readings of temperature and salinity to monitor the mixing and advection of multiple source waters. Recent observational programs like GLOBEC and ECOHAB have documented numerous "anomalous" events due to unexpected displacements of water mass boundaries.  These "events" are episodic in nature.  In the case of Georges bank (Manning et al, 2001; Bisagni et al, 1996)  the episodic residency of two water masses (Gulf Stream and Greenland ice melt origins, respectively) results in very dynamic living conditions for organisms residing in this area. In the case of the Maine coast (Lynch, et al. 1997, Mountain and Manning, 1994; Schofield et al.1998) variability is often related to a combination of upwelling/downwelling, river runoff, and influx of remote source waters.  A  long-term inexpensive monitoring strategy is necessary to document the frequency and extent of these events. While satellite imagery has provided a mechanism to describe the spatial variability and complexity of the thermal structure in our coastal waters it is hampered by clouds and fog in these areas and only provides a temperature associated with the very skin of the ocean.  Deep near-bottom temperature has less bias associated with short term processes making it better suited as an indicator of  longer-term climate variability than the seasurface value.

Understanding the relationship between bottom water properties and behavior of Homarus americanus off the coast of New England may be an important byproduct of this study.  What are the scales of variability and what degree of variability can initiate a migration of the lobster population? Given the economic importance of Homarus americanus, very little seems to be known about what factors govern the distribution and migration of the New England stock.  As reviewed by Factor (1995), there are only a few studies in the past decades that have specifically examined the dynamics of lobster habitats in the vicinity of the shelf edge. References are made to Cooper and Uzmann (1980), for example, who demonstrated an on-shore migration to warmer waters in the summertime after releasing several thousand tagged lobsters and recapturing 12%.  These studies were conducted nearly thirty years ago. The hydrographic data that was used to correlate with lobster migration was a monthly-mean bottom temperature record averaged over a few decades (Colton and Stoddard, 1973).  They conclude that the lobster migration maintains a 8-14 oC thermal regime.  Can we resolve that range more accurately?

Much of the migration apparently is driven by the animal's life history and reproductive cycle.  Peak hatching of stage 1 larvae occur at temperatures in the vicinity of 11-13.6C bottom water (Fogarty and Lawton, 1983) resulting in planktonic surface concentrations in May through September.   Harding et al. (1983) noted a 12.5 C surface temperature associated with the first arrival of stage 1 and other, more detailed, conclusions in all areas of its range.  Larval release occurs in burst of up to 2000 individuals and results in swarms within the top two centimeters of the water column (Herrick, 1895).  After about four molting cycles/stages the animal will reach its juvenile stage with carapace length increasing from 2-5mm. The rate of growth depends largely on temperature (faster in warm conditions) but this transformation generally occurs in less than a few months. MacKenzie (1988), for example, finds that stage 5 lobsters reared at 15 and 18 C had significantly greater dry weights and carapace lengths than those reared at 10 , 12 , and 22 C.   In the wild environment, the highest survival rate is associated with rapidly increasing surface temperatures which provide a relative short planktonic period of life.  While, "temperature is the most important factor affecting growth and survival of larval and postlarval lobsters" (Factor, 1995),  high salinities >30PSU may be detrimental to lobsters in warm >20C water (Sastry and Vargo, 1977).  The optimal salinity reported by Templeton (1936) is 30-31 ppt.  Post-larval lobsters, however, have a tremendous swimming ability and are able to move to different environments with speeds of 15cm/s for up to five days resulting in 65 km excursions(Cobb et al, 1983).

What regulates the abundance and distribution of adult lobsters?  Relationships of lobster concentrations to environmental factors cover a wide range of natural variability. Some reports such as Boudreau 1991, show relationships with windy conditions just after hatching and year class strength 8 years later.  On the other hand strong stratification and thermocline trapping may expose post-larval lobsters to longer periods of predation.  The dominant factor is not clear. Lobsters can sustain a wide range of temperatures -1 to 30 C and abrupt changes of 16 C (Harding, 1992).  The temporal variation of lobsters at a single location is governed by the degree of movement. Movements come in the form of migrations, homing, and nomadism.  Much of the information on migration of offshore lobsters comes from Cooper and Uzmann reports on tagging experiments in, for example, 1971 and 1980.  The overwintering strategy offshore tends to keep the animals in preferred temperature range of 8-14 C.  Uzmann et al. 1977 estimates migratory speeds of these lobsters of 7.4-9.3 km/day.  While there is little doubt that the animals migrate great distances, the unknown parameter is what triggers the initial response.

Hence, we hypothesize that there is an annual migration of lobsters that is triggered by oceanographic events.   The two-fold objective of this study is to better understand  1) the frequency and degree of thermal regime shifts in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank region and 2) what effect these shifts may have on the migratory lobster populations in that area.

The multiple scales of variability in both time and space necessitate a multi-year data set to make conclusive arguments.  Given the relatively minor expense of the monitoring equipment relative to traditional oceanographic moorings, a multi-year deployment is feasible. The intent of this project however, is to simply introduce lobstermen to the probe technology so that over the course of a few years they become familiar with using the probes and comfortable with the operation. In years subsequent to the funded period, it is anticipated that some fishermen will continue to use probes, buy new probes, and contribute to an ongoing data pool.  In the very longterm, it is hoped that the information obtained in this project will benefit the aquacultural community in describing the physical  environments  lobster in the wild.

Review of Previous Work

The physical oceanography of New England's coastal waters has been under investigation at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center for decades.  Recent studies of temperature and salinity (Manning, 1991; Mountain and Manning (1994); Bisagni etal. 1996; Bascunan et al, 2002) as well as current velocity (Manning,  1989; Manning et al. 1994; Manning and Beardlsey, 1996; Schlitz et al, 2001) variability  have provided background information to examine the biophysical processes (Manning, et al, 2001, Lough and Manning, 2002).  While attempts have been made to numerically model the physical mechanisms, the overriding conclusion of most of these investigations is that the environmental processes of our continental shelf are far too complex to simulate yet with any confidence. Observations are needed.

Nevertheless,  numerical circulation modeling is bound to be an important tool for fisheries oceanography in the future.  A set of modeling groups have recently developed at various universities around New England.   In addition to Dartmouth College, there are now efforts underway at state colleges of Massachusetts (Chen et al. 2001),  Maine (Xue et al, 2000), and New Hampshire (Pringle). The latter individual has specifically addressed the lobster larval drift problem as has  Katz et al. (1994), Incze and Naimie (2000), and Harding et al (2002) .  One of the primary purposes of eMOLT, as explained in the rationale section above, is to provide these individuals with insitu data for initializing and validating their models.

Interest in the longterm consequences lobster larvae drift has recently surged due to the predictions announced last year by the region's lead marine biologist.  Numbers of planktonic and settling lobsters that apparently began to decline several years ago, given a 6-7 year lag time for development,  would not be enough to sustain a healthy adult population (Steneck, 2001).

Discussion of "previous work", as conducted in the first two phases of eMOLT, is appended below in a section called "Description of Prior Results".

Project Objectives and Scientific Hypothesis

 There is unlikely a group of people more interested in the environmental condition of Gulf of Maine bottom water than the New England lobstermen  The eMOLT objective is to tap into that resource and provide these individuals the information they have evidently been after for generations.  While there are many regulatory and territorial issues that tend to cause divisions among the various factions, the one issue that unites them all is a real curiosity and wonder of what governs the deep.  What are the natural causes of environmental change?  Can we someday predict the onset of a cold freshet? How long will it last and does it affect the lobster populations?  The four largest lobstermen associations in New England have come together and collectively proven in the first two phases of eMOLT  that they can collect data needed to help answer some of these questions.

If interannual variations in temperature and salinity are limited to a few degrees and PPTs, can we document these changes with scientific accuracy?  What is the source of error in comparing the conditions at one site with the same site the following year? What constitutes a "site" and how precise must one be in reoccupying that site/depth?

As noted above, the primary objective of eMOLT is to document the spatial and temporal variability of water mass properties off the coast of New England.  By monitoring the temperature and salinity at dozens of fixed sites around the Gulf of Maine region, we hope to quantify the scales of variability.  One of the long-term scientific goals is to distinguish between advective and locally driven events that influence the bottom water conditions.  Given multiple time series along the coast and within different basins, we expect to track the influx and transport of remote source waters.  In subsequent years, with enough empirical information, one may build confidence in predictive models.  We envision a time in the future when eMOLT data will be used by local numerical modellers to both initialize and validate their simulations.

In addition to the physical  oceanographic perspective,  eMOLT also provides important environmental information to New England lobstermen.  Do changes in bottom water temperature and salinity explain the migration patterns and activity of Homarus americanus?  Our hypothesis regarding this aspect of eMOLT has evolved slightly from its initial form.  In Phase I we were interested in "weekly-to-monthly events" but, after a year experience, we have shifted the Phase II time scale of interest to a longer "seasonal-to-interannual"  viewpoint.  Many of our colleagues are interested in a correlation of lobster abundance and large scale climate signals such as the North Atlantic Oscillation.  As depicted in the records thus far (see figures in appended section), there are several episodic events over the course of the year but the dominant feature in this series is the longer trend.  After further investigation of historical temperature records,  it has become clear that the interannual and even decadal changes in temperature may be the more significant influence on lobster populations given that  the temperature effects may be most important during reproductive and larval stages of development. While episodic events may certainly be important in understanding the displacements and redistribution of lobster abundance,  the coverage of data necessary to resolve these  smaller scale phenomenon  would be cost prohibitive.  We are now committed to maintaining the eMOLT sampling and have consequently adjusted the focus of our investigation to both longer time scales and a larger region.

Having said that, however, there is a potentially important attribute to capturing short time scales variations. Given the hourly records of temperature in a variety of places, we have often documented a large degree of temperature variability due to the semi-diurnal tides. How does the tidal variation in temperature affect the lobster? Do they search for frontal features in the temperature and salinity field rather than an absolute value of a particular variable? This is a particularly interesting question that has come up regularly in discussions of the data collected thus far.   The lobstermen have evidently often focussed fishing activity on thermal fronts as regions of high abundance and  capture.  As shown, for example, in Figure 1 below, the variations due to the tide can be depicted at any one site and the degree of variation changes due to a combination of the lunar cycle and weather events occurring at the time.  Is there something associated with a thermocline (food and prey availability, for example) that attracts the animals to that zone?

Project Plan

The eMOLT organization is presented in Figure 2 below. As in the first two phases of eMOLT,  the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation will act as the central office for distribution of funds and equipment.  They will:

The association representatives (Casoni, Grindal, Spinazzola, and Farrey) will conduct the administrative details as in previous phases of eMOLT  as follows:
  At least one industry representative  per association will be involved in outreach operations. They are charged with training the individual participants and enforcing requirements to document data on either the electronic logger or in prescribed formats.  This will require:


While association representatives should have been trained in all aspects of eMOLT operation during phase I and II, they will be refreshed at quarterly administrators meetings in the future.  Industry representatives will be trained by  both the scientific party at  administrators meetings as well as by association representatives at special sessions prior to each monthly association meetings.  The participants themselves will be trained/briefed  by industry reps at a)  special quarterly sessions prior to monthly association meetings and b) at their own home or boat on a semi-annual basis.  Participants will also be trained by all administrators at the annual fishermen forums  (Jan and March).   Phase II participants, in particular,  need extensive training and refreshers. They are being taught to take water samples, upload data, email data, change batteries, clean cells, and setup the Seabird Microcat electronics for subsequent deployments. All administrators will be briefed on the salinity process on a quaterly basis.

The quality control of the temperature and salinity data is conducted in a series of steps.  First, the instrumentation are  deployed  together  both prior to and after each download session to determine any offsets/bias of the sensors (the conductivity cell in particular). These multi-probe experiments are conducted under controlled conditions and the results are reported.  A series of five multi-probe test deployments, for example, were conducted in Phase I of eMOLT.  Even more testing and care of the sensors will need to be done in the case of salinity (Taylor, 1992).  Calibration of the salinity probe will be conducted with near-monthly water samples and are analyzed at the NMFS Narragansett facility.  To supplement these samples all other projects conducting CTD samples in the study area will be notified of eMOLT locations and asked to conduct cast in those locations.  The NMFS, DMR, and GOMOOS cruises are three sources of potential calibration sampling. It will be mutually beneficial to all projects to collaborate in this effort to obtain the maximum amount of sample overlaps. Finally, the data will be quality controlled  in a post-processing mode after it is loaded into the ORACLE database.  The purchase of salinity probes in phase II was restricted to six (instead of the original nine) in order to fund a set of recalibrations in 2004.  It is uncertain as yet how these instruments will hold up under near-bottom trap deployments.  The degree of fouling and frequency/necessity of cleaning has not been determined at all sites.

The database management will be conducted by Jim Manning using ORACLE and web based forms.  The data structures have already been developed but will undoubtedly evolve as the project progresses.  There are currently four separate ORACLE "tables" setup to house the various levels of information.  The first table, for example, stores all the information about the participants (email, home port, etc).  The second table stores the information about the fixed sites (id, nominal lat/lon, depth).  This later table includes the set of "historical" sites  such as Boothbay, Woods Hole,  and the Mass DMF sites.  The other two tables include information about particular deployments and the data collected on those deployments.  Since this is a relational database, each of the four tables have "key" variables in order to link to each other.

The protocol to be followed by the actual participants has been developed over several years.  It is fully documented in a web served "getting started manual" with various details on setting up the probe, where to deploy the probe, documenting the deployment, downloading the data, and emailing the data.   The protocol  has been designed to minimize the effort on the part of the lobstermen but, at the same time, to obtain accurate and consistently useful forms of data.  In many of these steps there are multiple options to the protocol. In "documenting the deployment", for example, there are four methods to enter data depending on the participants experience with computers and electronincs:

In any case, the critical  information includes serial number,  consecutive probe setting#, consecutive site code, Lat, Lon, time (in&out),  and water depth.  Participants may optionally record  number of pots, total pound kept, total pounds of shorts, and total pounds of eggers but this information is automatic in the case of the electronic loggers. All eMOLT participants are encouraged to attend at least an hour training session each year. As noted above, these training sessions will be offered on a quarterly basis and will likely be scheduled on the same day as the association meetings.

Probes are deployed to maximize the following parameters: length of deployment at fixed sites, depth of deployment, distance between deployments, and likelihood of returning to the site in subsequent years. The first parameter , "length of deployment", is probably the most difficult criteria for lobstermen to follow since they often move their gear.  Despite this restriction, we have found that  some lobstermen do maintain some fixed sites for months at a time and many have opted to deploy a special  mooring station for eMOLT instrumentation.   All  interested participants have been informed of this limitation and  are encouraged to comply with it as much as possible. In the end, we expect to have some fixed sites, especially in the coastal waters of Maine, that may have less than a month of data from a particular location but that these exact sites will be revisited in subsequent years.

Available Resources

As a government agency, the NEFSC is mandated to collect, process, and serve information associated with local fisheries.  As a physical oceanographer employed by that agency for the past 15 years, Jim Manning, while primarily occupied for the last decade with the Georges Bank GLOBEC project, is now responsible for managing NEFSC datasets associated with the physical water mass conditions. He  is now tasked with developing an  integrated operational oceanographic system.  With help from a few others at the Woods Hole Lab, the physical oceanographic sampling on research  cruises by NOAA vessels (including observations with Conductivity, Temperature and Depth recorders and various other shipboard sensors) are processed, analyzed, and web-served.  An effort is underway to load all of these on-going data collections together with historical archives into the same ORACLE database.  The computing power and support is provided by the NEFSC Data Management Systems.  While maintaining both hardware and software for the entire center, DMS continually integrates the newest technological advances.  The latest developments include an upgrade to ORACLE 8i  and Arc Internet Mapping Services.

Patrice Farrey, as interim director of the GoMLF, Patrice has very close contact with the lobster industry. Her primary task now is to maintain communications between the various lobstermen associations and ensure that projects like eMOLT are merged with related efforts around the entire Gulf of Maine Region.  As both interim director of the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation and executive director of the Maine Lobstermen Association, she has extensive knowledge of the industry and has near-weekly contact with many of the eMOLT participants throughout the state of Maine.  Many of the eMOLT participants are also involved with issues addressed regularly by MeLA.  David Sleeper, the manager of the Spruce Head Coop, has near-daily contact with many of the participants in that area, a dockside office, and  computer skills. David exemplifies the person required to act as an eMOLT industry representative.

Bonnie Spinazzola, the executive director of the Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen Association, has been involved with all aspects of  fisheries fifteen years.  Well aware of the needs and concerns of the lobster industry,  she represents dozens of individuals.  She is involved with  research efforts other than eMOLT and is committed to integrating projects in order to maximize the benefit for her constituents. Marc Palombo, a lobsterman out of Sandwich, has been involved with eMOLT for several years.  It was his phone call back in the fall of 1995, in fact, that started it all. He has made over 100 deployment and recoverys of  instrumented moorings in waters deeper than 200m with 99% success and some of these have included Seabird Microcats.  He downloads his own temperature data and documents electronically.  He will act as the AOLA industry representative.

Clare Grindal, retired from 35 years of teaching at  Deer Isle Maine and now executive director of the  Downeast Lobstermen Association, is a strong advocate for all lobstermen in her zones. Further down the coast in Cutler, Charlene Cates also has both the computer skills of a school administrator and, being the wife of a well known lobstermen Jeremy Cates, is quite knowledgable and capable of conducting the duties of an industry representative.

Dave Casoni is both a lobstermen and a retiring school teacher with near-weekly contact with many of the eMOLT participants.  He and  Bernie Feeney, the president of the MaLA, are quite capable of assuming eMOLT responsibilities at the association and industry level, respectively.

Given that many of the above mentioned representatives are closely connected to local school systems, the collaboration of eMOLT with the NEC -funded "Adopt-a-Boat" program is under consideration.   In the advent that some associations get significant quantity of handwritten logs submitted by those participants not using an electronic logger, the assistance of high school students in data entry activity may be possible.  It will be up to the industry representatives to build this relationship with local schools and provide in-school presentations on the eMOLT project.  The scientific party could deliver ready-made presentations to the industry reps in the form of either Power Point files and overhead transparencies.  Discussions with Cliff Goudey and Brandy Moran will continue in the coming months concerning the potential integration of projects.

Dissemination of Results

All eMOLT participants will contribute to the same centralized database regardless of association or project affiliation.  Many of the AOLA/eMOLT participants may be involved in other projects (such as the "Automated Monitoring of Offshore Lobster Fishery") and many of the MLA/eMOLT participants  may be involved with in other projects (such as the "Ventless Traps Survey"),  but the environmental monitoring information will be stored in a common archive.  The lobster catch information will NOT be shared between participants  The data will be served by users entering information on a web-served ORACLE form.  Specific criteria such as time or position (lat/lon) will be used to extract user-selected portion of the time series.  Prepared plots as well as user-requested plots have been and  will be generated with a combination of ORACLE, perl,  MATLAB, and Java programming at www.emolt.org.

In order to work towards an "operational oceanography",  we have begun to coordinate activities with the Gulf of Maine Oceanographic Observing System (GOMOOS).  Several meetings and discussions have taken place to ensure that  eMOLT data along with all the other physical oceanographic data collected at NEFSC be accessible to GOMOOS and vice-versa. Individuals at Maine's Division of Marine Resources have also been involved in this process and, in fact, take the lead in some aspects of the project such as incorporating GIS.

Individual lobstermen will have the opportunity to meet with eMOLT representatives on a monthly basis at their  respective association meetings where an eMOLT status report will be presented by the industry representatives.  As participants, they are encouraged to do so on at least an annual basis for training purposes. Special eMOLT sessions will be conducted prior to association meetings on a quarterly basis to discuss the project and, on at least a semi-annual basis, to download batches of data and test for probe bias/accuracies.  Individual lobstermen will meet  one-on-one with  industry representatives on a semi-annual basis and with Jim Manning on an annual basis (either at the annual forums/weekends or some other prearranged forum such as his annual trip to each association) to discuss catch data and review results.  Annual reports/plots for each lobstermen will be prepared for this meeting in hardcopy form.

Literature Cited

Bascunan, C.,  M.H. Taylor, J.P. Manning, J.P.  2002. Description of 2001 Oceanographic Conditions on the Northeast Continental Shelf. NEFSC Ref.Doc.. in prep.

Bisagni,J.J., R.CBeardsley, C.M.Rusham, J.P.Manning, and W.J.Williams, 1996, Historical and recent evidence of Scotian Shelf Water on southern Georges Bank, Deep Sea ResII (7-8):1439-1472.

Boudreau, B., Y. Simard, E. Bourget, E. 1991, Behavioral responses of the planktonic stages of the American lobster Homarus americanus to thermal gradients, and ecological implications. Mar.Ecol. Prog. Ser. 76, 13-23

Bumpus, D.F., 1957, Surface Water Temperatures Along Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Special Scientific Report-Fisheries No. 214.  153 pages.
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Colton, J.B. and Ruth R. Stoddard, 1973, Bottom-Water Temperatures on the Continental Shelf, Nova Scotia to New Jersey, NOAA Tech. Rep. CIRC-376. pp 1-55.

Cooper, R.A. and J. R. Uzmann, 1980, Ecology of juvenile and adult Homarus. In "The Biology and Management of Lobsters" (J.S.Cobb and B.F.Phillips,eds.) Vol. 2, pp.97-142. Academic Press., NY.

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Factor, J.R., 1995, Biology of the Lobster, Homarus americanus. Academic Press. New York.

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Harding,G.C., K.F. Drinkwater, and W.P. Vass. 1983. Factors influencing the size of American lobster (Homarus americanus) stocks along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Gulf of Maine: A new synthesis. Can J.Fish. Aquatic. Sci., 40, 168-184.

Harding, G.C. 1992. American Lobster (Homarus americanus Milne Edwards): a discussion paper on their environmental requirements and the known anthropogenic effects on their populations. Can J. Fish. Aquatic. Sci.,1887.

Harding, G.C., K.F. Drinkwater, C.E.Hannah, J.D. Pringle, J.Prena, A.F.Fraser, J.W.Loder, S.Pearre Jr. and W.P.Vass. 2002. Larval Lobster (Homarus americanus) distribution, condition, and drift in the vicinity of the Gulf of Maine offshore banks and their probable origins, with emphasis on the frontal zone over the northern face of Georges Bank. Submitted to Fisheries Oceanography.

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Incze, L.S. and C.E.Naimie, 2000. Modelling the transport of lobster (Homarus americanus) larvae and postlarvae in the Gulf of Maine. Fish. Oceanog. 9:99-113.

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Lynch,D.R., M. J. Holboke, C. E. Naimie. 1997, The Maine Coastal Current Spring Climatological Circulation. 1997, Cont. Shelf Research. 17(6):605-634.

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Budget and Budget Justification

It is expected that each of the project administrators (4 association reps, 4 industry reps,  Farrey, and Manning) will all be devoting at least two full days per month to routine eMOLT tasks and an additional six full days per  year in attending eMOLT meetings.  The task associated with each administrator was outlined earlier in the Project Plan section.  In the case of the representatives, nearly half of the "routine eMOLT tasks" is involved with  outreach activity and half with data processing activity.  The "outreach activity" involves training other individuals in the next level of organization.  The  "data processing activity" , in the case of association reps, involves a) merging  electronic documentation as submitted by the industry reps, b) downloading data in batches, and c) conducting calibration checks on probes.   The  "data processing activity" , in the case of industry reps,  involves merging of handwritten documentation in to standard spreadsheet format.  In Manning's case, "routine eMOLT tasks" involves a) processing the ~semi-annual batches of data from each association, b) maintaining the database, and c) enhancing the web site to provide more user friendly access and display of data. While his salary is covered by NOAA/NMFS, an overhead is now charged to the project to cover the 15% of his time involved with this project.

The only other major expenses proposed is a set of laptops and,  in MaLA's case, a set of electronic loggers.  While many of the industry reps may have desktop machines of their own, a laptop is required for the type of work needed here. While these laptops do not need to be high powered units, they do need to be fully equipped with software utilities (Microsoft Office), network capability, and printers.  The later is needed to produce hard copy plots for those participants not connected to the internet.  Where association reps got funds for laptops in previous phases, the GOMLF and NEFSC are now requesting the same in this phase.  Due to the recent budget cuts in the Mass state gov't at the Division of Marine Resources and the fact that their routine monitoring will be limited, the MaLA is requesting funds to outfit their members with electronic loggers to make up for the sampling that the state has been doing to some extent.  The MaLA is also the only association that has not recieved funding for these units in the past.

Attached Resumes of Principle Investigators


Description of Prior Results

The statistics on the eMOLT project to date is best presented in the form of Table 1.
Total number of individuals involved 104
Total number of individuals who have deployed probes 65
Total number of individuals who have returned data to date 43
Total number of documented  temperature sites 83
Total number of documented salinity sites 5
Number of  Atlantic Offshore Participants 16
Number of  Massachusetts Participants 27
Number of  Maine Participants 21
Number of Downeast Participants 12
Total Number of Temperature Observations 531495
Average Temperature Record Length in Months 8.9
Total Number of Salinity Observations 32980
Average Salinity Record Length in Months 9.1

Probes are widely distributed around the Gulf of Maine (Figures 3 and 4) and  in time over the last several months (Figures 5 and 6).  Most of the time series are several months long with many of the records documenting significant events that resulted in temperature variations of several degrees.  The five salinity probes deployed thus far are geographically separated from each other and from those of GOMOOS.  We have coordinated are efforts with the GOMOOS operation and intend to develop that relationship continually (Figure 4).



Ever since the onset of this project, the eMOLT results have been posted on the web.  We now have a registered domain name of  "emolt.org".   On entering this site, users are presented with a variety of links.  The "results from the field" link, for example, presents a map of the Gulf of Maine.  By clicking on small dots representing  individuals by homeport, links to a set of plots are listed.  The user can then view either detailed plots of  actual time series or  filtered summary  plots of the temperature time series for that particular site.  In the case of the summary plots, a  climatological seasonal cycle and  its standard deviation (based of  past NOAA-collected CTD data) is often plotted as a background reference.  In this way, users can  tell how current temperature relates to historical conditions.  While nearly all the eMOLT sites have only one year of data thus far, there are a few sites that have been occupied for multiple year so that interannaul comparisons are possible. Marc Palombo, for example,  has occupied site "TA15" for nearly two years (Figure 7) and can see, after taking a 30-day running average of the highly variable record at that location, the two years are nearly the same. Most of the effort on the part of the scientific party is developing these types of plots in a user friendly environment..  The longterm objective is to develop interactive mapping routines so that users can zoom in and view data.

While catch data is available for some of these sites on a near-weekly basis, they are, of course, not presented on publicly available web sites.  Plots of catch records are made for individual lobstermen and the data is discussed privately off-line.

The results of the eMOLT first year of sampling has been presented in a series of forums over the last several months.  The project was presented at the UMASS Dartmouth's Physics Department's weekly seminar in November 2001,  at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center  Tri-Annual Symposium (Westport, Ct) in December 2001,  at the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Annual  Weekend (Falmouth, Ma) in January 2002,  and at the Maine Fishermens Forum (Rockland, Me) in March 2002.  Much of these presentations included an analysis of the historical data collected prior to the eMOLT project.  The eMOLT abstract and presentation previously submitted to the National Shellfish Meeting  (14-18 April) in Mystic, Ct. will be withdrawn but a seminar on eMOLT will be presented instead on April 19th, 2002 at the Marine Institute in Dublin, Ireland.

Calibration and comparison of the various probes was conducted in a series of control experiments in the past year few years.  Multiple probes from various manufacturers (VEMCO, ONSET, YSI, and SEABIRD) were deployed together either in a tank at the NEFSC Aquarium or off the dock in Woods Hole Harbor in order to validate the relative response of all the thermistors.  The results of these test with complete details and plots are posted on the eMOLT web site under "Administrators Manual". Biases between probes were often more than twice the value specified by the manufacturer.  As a consequence of this result,  we contracted the ONSET corporation to engineer a probe specifically for our needs. The new probe designed specifically for eMOLT applications, delivered in March 2001, has a temperature range of 0-20 degC and a 0.09 degC accuracy.   Since the variability of interest are often less than 1 degC, it is essential that eMOLT continue to carefully monitor the performance of these probes.  As part of our routine procedure at the end of each sampling season,  probes are gathered, deployed together in controlled environments, and tested for biases and sensor drift.  In the case of salinity probes, water samples will be  taken on a near-monthly basis as a calibration check.  A total of 43 Niskin samples have been taken thus far.

 List of eMOLT Participants (as of March 2002)

3- "has probe(s)" and 4- "has probe(s) and has returned data":


4 Bennett Paul Newport RI

4 Campanale RobRoy Pt. Judith

3 Christopher Scott Pt. Judith

4 Colbert Bob Sandwich

4 Colbert Denny Sandwich Ma

4 Cote Bro Hyannis Ma

3 HandriganTim Pt. Judith

4 Mataronas/Buffington GaryTiverton RI 4 Moore Grant Westport Ma.

4 Palombo Marc Sandwich

3 Palombo William Newport RI

4 Peabody John Pt. Judith

4 Shafmaster Jonathan NewingtonNH

4 Spencer David Newport

3 Stribley Russell New Bedford

4 Violet Jim Newport RI


3 Backman Ralph Beals Island 3 Bridges Leroy Deer Isle

3 Cates Jeremey Cutler Me

3 Cates Brian Cutler Me

4 Chipman Roger Birch Harbor

4 Chipman John Sr. Birch Harbor

2 Day Walter Vinalhaven

4 Faulkingham Michael Winter Harbor

3 Lemieux Nick Cutler Me

3 Lemieux Norbert Cutler Me

3 Robbins Stevie Stonington

2 Rosen Steve Vinalhaven



4 BEAR JR Ted&Faith ORRS Isle


4 Baines Bob&Susan Spruce Head


4 Carver Dwight Jonesport

3 Cousens David/Al So.Thomaston

4 Gamage Arnold Jr S. Bristol Me.

3 Hutchins Ed Cape Porpoise


4 Johnson David Long Island .

4 MCLAIN BRIAN/Rox New Harbor


4 Smith Jay Nobleboro

4 Tripp Jim Spruce Head

3 Tweedie Eric Spruce Head

3 White Pat York Me


3 Barrett John Cohasset Ma

4 Brown Alex Provincetown

3 Carroll Emmett Chilmark Ma

3 Carver John Green Harbor

4 Carver Steve Green Harbor

4 DauphineeFred Scituate

3 Doherty Bill Hingham

3 Driebeck Joe Green Harbor

3 Feeney Bernie Hingham Ma

3 Haviland John Green Harbor

4 Jesse Todd Plymouth Ma

4 Kandrick David Sandwich

4 Keane Stephen Marshfield Ma

3 Mahoney Chad Hull Ma.

3 Manning Chris Hull

3 Marcella Bob Hull Ma

4 Martin Bobby/Rob Plymouth Ma

3 Oehme Kurt Sandwich

4 Ryan Skip/Chris Squantum Ma

4 Sawyer Arthur/So Gloucester

4 Sousa Billy Provincetown

3 Trowbridge Larry Scituate Ma.

4 Tufts Mike Glouchester

4 Tupper Mike Nahant

For further information contact: James.Manning@noaa.gov

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