Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Data Buoy Science
 

Expeditions

NOAA operates a fleet of ships that are used to conduct scientific missions around the globe. Each year, Gray's Reef receives ship time on board one of the NOAA ships in order to conduct expeditions in and around the sanctuary. Gray's Reef science staff coordinates these expeditions, which usually last several days to several weeks. Numerous partner scientists are invited on board to conduct a variety of activities. Information on some of the recent expeditions is available below. Gray's Reef staff also participates in expeditions aboard other vessels and in other areas. Examples of these activities are also available below.

2013 Nancy Foster Cruise

Hydroid

Hydroid
(Photo Credit: Greg McFall, GRNMS)

The 2013 research cruise, from June 2 - June 15, aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster focuses on five research projects at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. These include Acoustic Fishery Survey, Fish Censuses, Invertebrate Density & Abundance, Monitoring of Ecological Conditions and Multibeam Mapping. Simultaneously a sixth project, Piscivore Ecology, will be occurring with scientists aboard the Gray's Reef R/V Joe Ferguson. More information on all of these projects, the organizations that are helping, and how day to day operations ran, are available on the mission info logs or via the above link.

2012 Nancy Foster Cruise - Leg II

Black seabass on Sparsely Colonized Livebottom

Black Seabass on Sparsely Colonized Livebottom
(Photo Credit: Greg McFall, GRNMS)

Leg II of the 2012 research cruise, from May 28 - June 8, aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster focuses on three research projects at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. These include fish censuses, invertebrate density & abundance, and multibeam mapping. More information on the projects on this cruise, the organizations that are helping, and how day to day operations ran, are available on the mission info logs.

2012 Nancy Foster Cruise - Leg I

Painted wrasse and sargassum

Painted wrasse and sargassum
(Photo Credit: Greg McFall, GRNMS)

Scientists, staff and volunteers will be conducting a research mission within Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary, aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster May 14th through May 24th, 2011. During this year's cruise, scientists will concentrate on five research projects: multibeam mapping, Arc shell collections, marine debris monitoring, fish telemetry - fine scale fish movement, and lionfish surveys and removal efforts. For more information on these research projects and the daily operations aboard this cruise please visit the mission info logs.

2011 Nancy Foster Cruise

Turtle and Diver

Turtle and diver at Gray's Reef
(Photo Credit: Peter Auster, UCONN)

Scientists, staff and volunteers conducted a research mission within Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary, aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster May 17th through May 29th, 2011. During this years' cruise scientists concentrated on five research projects: 1) Fish Censuses, 2) Invertebrate Density and Abundance, 3) Piscivore Ecology, 4) Multibeam Mapping, and 5) Dye Tracer Studies. For more information on these research projects and the daily operations aboard this cruise please visit the mission info log.

2010 Nancy Foster Cruise

Seastar and Tunicates
(Photo Credit: Greg McFall)

Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary will utilize the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster beginning May 16th thru June 8th to support critical management driven research. The cruise is planned to support eight separate projects, involve ten organizations (federal, state, and university) and over fifty individuals. In addition to the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster and her three launches, these projects require support from four research vessels deployed from Savannah and Brunswick, Georgia. GRNMS, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the University of Georgia's Marine Extension Service will deploy day-use vessels in support of this mission. In addition to the science objectives of this cruise, numerous education and outreach objectives are planned. Media visits to the cruise have been scheduled; an Open House aboard the ship is to be held in Savannah over the Memorial Day weekend; two documentary films are scheduled to be made of the operation; and numerous community partners have been invited to observe and participate in the expedition. For more information on these research projects and the daily operations aboard this cruise please visit the mission info log

2010 Pisces Cruise

Boarfish from 200m
(Photo Credit: NOAA)

The 2010 research cruise aboard the NOAA Ship Pisces will cruise in water 1,000 to 3,000 feet deep, and mysterious mounds of deepwater corals that provide important habitat and feeding grounds for a diversity of fishes, many of which are economically valuable fishery species. Sampling will occur with remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) , grab sampler , and water sampler to map and describe bottom features, faunas and ecology of the Blake Plateau blank off Georgia. With modern sonar and navigation technology blank such as GPS, they will be able to pinpoint sonar targets that can then be examined with the video and still cameras mounted aboard the ROV. George Sedberry, superintendent of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary, will be among the scientists aboard the PISCES and will send back periodic reports about what the cruise discovers. For more information on these research projects and the daily operations aboard this cruise please visit the mission info log.
In collaboration with the staff at NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center , a collection of photos and 'virtual tours' simulating the individual dives of a remotely operated vehicle on deep coral sites off South Carolina and Georgia are now available to the public via Google Earth. To view these photos and 'dive along' with the researchers, click here , then select any of the Virtual Tours.

2009 Nancy Foster Cruise

Ship based science team
(Photo Credit: NOAA Ship Nancy Foster)

The 2009 research cruise aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster focused on four research projects at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. From June 8-19, 2009, scientists from several organizations gathered to conduct four projects. These included an acoustic tagging study on snapper and grouper species, a marine debris study, a piscivore ecology study, and multibeam mapping of areas adjacent to GRNMS. More information on the projects completed on this cruise, the organizations that helped, and how day to day operations ran, are available on the mission info log.

2008 Nancy Foster Cruise

Greg McFall surgically implants the internal acoustic tag into a scamp grouper
(Photo Credit: NOAA)

The 2008 Nancy Foster cruise was separated into two "legs" or parts, where separate teams were conducting different research. For the first leg of the cruise, scientists conducted seafloor mapping and dive operations to identify bottom habitats of an area to the north of the sanctuary. One project conducted during the second leg of the cruise focused on capturing red snapper, gag, and scamp to be tagged with acoustic tags and to deploy the receivers that track these tags. The second objective of leg 2 was to monitor bottom dwelling invertebrates inside Gray's Reef. For more information on these research projects and the daily operations aboard this cruise please visit the mission info log .

2008 Oculina Cruise

Reeffish on Oculina Head
(Photo Credit: NOAA)

During this cruise, Gray's Reef Research Coordinator, Greg McFall and other scientists monitored the Oculina reefs off the Southeast U.S. (90 km stretch of pinnacles, mounds, and ridges (5-35 m above bottom and 100-300 m in width) from Fort Pierce to Cape Canaveral). For more information on this research project and the daily operations aboard this cruise please visit the mission info log .

2007 Nancy Foster Cruise

Paul Gayes and Jamie Phillips deploy the CHIRP subbottom profiler
(Photo Credit: NOAA)

Several researchers teamed with scientists at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary to take part in the 2007 research cruise aboard the NOAA ship Nancy Foster. This expedition had four primary objectives: 1) to conduct sub-bottom profiling in Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary, 2) to complete studies of benthic invertebrate populations and population dynamics on hard bottom reefs of the South Atlantic Bight, 3) to conduct a paleontological and geologic structure survey, and 4) to contribute to Southeastern Regional Taxonomic Center's benthic invertebrate collection. Research was conducted throughout the day and night and required SCUBA diving operations, multibeam mapping, benthic sampling, a sub-bottom profiler and sidescan sonar equipment. For more information on these research projects and the daily operations aboard this cruise please visit the mission info log.

2006 Nancy Foster Cruise

Reefscape
(Photo Credit: Greg McFall)

In May of 2006, a team of scientist embarked on a two week cruise in Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. Their mission: to conduct research operations around the clock, designed to gather information that will help managers better understand and protect the unique resources of Gray's Reef. These operations included: habitat characterization, invertebrate characterization, a visual fish census, an invertebrate dispersal and recruitment study, and a multipurpose study on sponges. Scientists also used the expedition as an opportunity for photo documenting GRNMS and surrounding waters. For more information about the cruise and the projects completed aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster, please visit the mission info log.


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