eMOLT Phase III: Data Management
DRAFT proposal to NEC
last updated: 8 Mar 2002 0910
(Expecting to change very little over the next week. Due in the mail on ~15 March )
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 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 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 as follows.
Reviewers can view all the previous 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 modellers 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 11-13.6o C bottom water (Fogarty and Lawton, 1983) resulting in planktonic surface concentrations in May through September. Harding et al. (1983) noted a 12.5o 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 15o and 18o C had significantly greater dry weights and carapace lengths than those reared at 10o , 12o , and 22o 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 >20 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 o C and abrupt changes of 16 o 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 oC. 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.
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 modelling groups have recently developed at various universities around New England. In additiona 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), Harding et al (2002), and . One of the primary purposes of eMOLT, as explained in the rationale section above, is to provide these individuals with insitu data for intializing and validating their models.
Interest in the longterm consequences lobster larvae drift has recently
surged due to the ominous predictions. The 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).
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 a large scale climate signals such as the North Atlantic Oscillation. As depicted in the figures above, 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 2, 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?
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 AOLA tables of site and set are independent from others but have the same basic structure.
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 (see figures 3 above) 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.
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 CTDs. 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 (Bourne, Ma) 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.
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 has 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
a eMOLT status report will be presented by the industry representatives.
As participants, they are required 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 for each
lobstermen will be prepared for this meeting in hardcopy form.
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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 a) merging of handwritten documentation in to standard spreadsheet format. In Manning's case, "routine eMOLT tasks" involves 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.
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||8|
|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 (Figure A1a) and in time over the last several months (Figure A1b) locations. 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 A2).
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 occuppied for multiple year so that interannaul comparisons are possible. Marc Palombo, for example, has occupied site "TA15" for nearly two years 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 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. Because of a recently scheduled cruise
in early April and a presentation of eMOLT results on April 19th at the
Marine Institute in Dublin, Ireland, the abstract to the National Shellfish
Meeting (14-18 April) in Mystic, Ct. will be withdrawn.
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.