Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank:
Overview of Project

GLOBEC (Global Ecosystem Dynamics) is one of the U.S. Global Climate Change Programs. The Northwest Atlantic program of GLOBEC is in the middle of a focused multi-year effort studying the planktonic production, climate, and circulation of water on Georges Bank that supports the large commercial fisheries for which this region is known. In 1997, GLOBEC hosted a number of research cruises to the bank. This is an abbreviated story of one such cruise conducted in May 1997, aboard the research vessel Oceanus out of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), its mission was to study plankton dynamics and circulation that affect the growth and survival of the egg and larval stages of cod and haddock.

This particular cruise used plankton nets, underwater video, and plankton pumping systems to sample zooplankton, fish eggs, and larval fish. It also used satellite-tracked drifters to follow movements of water. On board Oceanus, a number of experiments on the biology of particular zooplankton and larval fish were conducted using fresh specimens. The scientists first conducted a survey to map the distribution of fish larvae and zooplankton and concentrated their efforts for two weeks in a small area of the bank. Computer models and satellite data were used in real time (at sea) to help guide the experiments.

GLOBEC is a collaborative project of the International Geophysical Biological Program (IGBP). This effort is being funded in the United States, but is coordinated and collaborative with similar efforts in other parts of the world. Similar programs conducted elsewhere in the world allow scientists to exchange information on findings and develop new ideas and methods

The following pages detail various aspects of the cruise, and include many pictures and sketches. You may look at them in any order, but we suggest starting with Cruise Preparations. From there, you can continue with

  • Current Meter Mooring: Reporting water data via satellite.
  • Satellite-tracked Drifters: Following water (and plankton) movements.
  • MOCNESS: Multi-level underwater net sampling system for collecting plankton.
  • Plankton Research: How plankton are stored and studied on board.
  • Conductivity, Temperature, Depth Testing: Obtaining water samples to determine conductivity, temperature, and depth.
  • Links to more research-related sites, as well as detailed, live data from buoys in the Gulf of Maine.
  • Content information and photography for this site are provided by Lewis S. Incze, Ph.D., University of Washington, Research Scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences since 1988. To learn more about this and other areas of his research, see his Data Page.


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