Bottom water temperature probe with real-time readout

Generations of New England lobstermen have noticed the abundance and
activity of their prey respond to oceanographic events. Episodes of
upwelling and downwelling, for example, along the coast of Maine apparently
affect the distribution and migration of animals. The bottom water
temperatures evidently change the movement and feeding cycles. With now over
six million lobster traps in the Gulf of Maine alone, there are thousands of
curious lobstermen.

We propose to develop a temperature probe that will retain bottom water
values so that, as it is hauled on deck, lobstermen (or any type of
fishermen) can determine the real-time bottom water record. Since there are
several probes on the market that internally record temperature, the degree
of engineering necessary to add a real-time display is minor. The probe can
be developed to display temperatures recorded on the previous hour, for
example, so that the reading is not biased by the upper water column or air
temperatures as it is hauled up on deck.

The development of this probe would be a significant addition to a program
already underway for the last three years called "Environmental Monitors on
Lobster Traps (eMOLT)" (see www.emolt.org). Over one hundred individuals
have attached temperature probes to their traps and have the data downloaded
1-2 times per year. Many of these participants have expressed interest in
getting a more real time readout so that they do not have to wait several
months lag before seeing the bottom water temperatures at any particular
day.

The infrastructure that has made the eMOLT project work is the set of
lobster associations. There are several organized groups throughout New
England with monthly meetings and newsletters by which notices can be
distributed to thousands of individuals. In addition to these regional
groups there are annual forums/trade shows with hundreds of lobstermen
attending. The combination of these associations and forums allows an easy
communication between fishermen, scientist, and commercial enterprise.




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

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