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Interview 14:44 - 51:08 Play 14:44 - More
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P.J. Auster, P. Donaldson, L. Watling  







Peter J. Auster, Paul Donaldson, Les Watling; Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary; ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle)  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
30 Jul 1997

  • United States
  • Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
  • 42.35   -70.5
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Equipment Note
  • Stereo=1; Decoded MS stereo; Sennheiser MKH40 Cardioid Mid Mic and MKH30 Bidirectional Side Mic through Sonosax Preamp into Sony TCD3


Paul Donaldson (Paul)
Peter Auster (PA)
Anthony Brooks (TB)
Les Watling (LW)
Chuck Thompson (CT)

background chatter.

1:37 ct "ambiance of sled launch of phantom S2."

2:35 pa talking about ROV's in program. joking about duct tape as 4th law of thermodynamics

4:30 ambi water, bg chatter, electrical humming .. .lass talking (@ 6:00) voice over radio in/out, eventually just humming and soft water

10:09 "okay, coming up" giving directions of movement, "down." (off mic)

13:11 "1107" "1106" doors slamming (going into control room) printers in/out

14:20 someone over radio talking to paul (nice sequence) ... shop talk etc ...

14:44 tb "so paul. .. could you narrate what's happening right now with the ROV'

14:48 paul "currently what we're doing now is we're descending down to the bottom while we're doing that the deck crew is deploying the down weight and marrying the tether to the lift line what that allows us to do is get a reference point for the ship. Uh as to exactly where the tether is and then they'll see us on the screen and they'll have a reference to us as well visually on the computer monitor and then what they'll do is I just talk to him and let him know where we're going to go.
We'll head south first ... "

15:32 pa "we've got a sophisticated computer program that allows us to use the gps satellite to fix the ship's position on the surface 'of the planet and then we've got an acoustic ultrasound baseline tracking system which uses sound to send a signal to the underwater vehicle to the ROV and then the ROV responds in this ultrasound baseline tracking sys. And then the compo Uses the range in bearing as well as the latitude and longitude to actually produce the lat and long of the ROV."

Talk about depth.

16:43 "right now we're prob the depth here is 250"
pa off-mic.

20:09 tb "when you talk about the fragility of the ocean bottom can you sort of look at these pictures and relate to that?"

20:17 pa "yeah we'll talk about them as we go through the dive a little bit."

21:37 tb "Paul you're operating with a couple of joysticks" "yeah"

22:05 tb "are we looking at a bottom that has been disturbed or is it pretty virgin?"

22:14 pa "based on the amount of? growth on the boulders this does not look like its seen a lot of disturbance."

22:24 lw "even there is just a small rock that has v large sponges growing on top of it and those are the kinds of things that would be removed readily by fishing gear."

Talk about growth on boulders ...

23:03 pa "based on what we saw eleven years ago and today it doesn't seem to have seen a lot of disturbance ... "

24:42 lw "I think the most important thing to note on a bottom like this is everybody's attention is gravitated toward the large boulders with the bright yellow sponges but in fact this bottom has a huge # of organisms that you don't see in a video just because they're so small ... there's probably a very high density of a lot of small invertebrates ... "

25:16 pa "There's two perspectives on looking at fishing gear impact: one is the structural component of the habitat. In terms of its ability to support fish both harvested and non-harvested and the other is biodiversity issues that don't necc relate to production ? persay ... and some low diversity areas ... "

25:59 lw "pointing to screen look at bottom of? tubes--see them contracting they are actually little worms ... so tubes become part of the habitat structure for maybe another 30 or forty species ... so you have habitat structure being created by the substrate and you have habitat structure being created by other organisms."

26:55 tb "we all hear about depleting stocks in this area of the country, what evidence do you see that makes that clear?"

27:16 pa "in some heavily trawled areas there's virtually nothing on the surfaces of the rocks that provide additional cover for fish ... there's a high diversity of animals that grow attached to those surfaces and from a fish's perspective those additional animals provide habitat like small animals in open fields ... in areas that are heavily trawled, we've been able to measure the reduction in cover by the removal of those types of animals and in areas that are not impacted ... we see the same thing on soft bottom habitats as well"

29:09 lw "what you see with mobile fishing gear is that there's a leveling of the bottom the bottom becomes uniformly smooth ... problem visualizing because all these things are really tiny. So anything is an inch high is really important ... "
30:23 most people can picture whales swimming in the water ... but these are the kinds of areas that people don't know much about their level of experience is going out and fishing ... and the types of habitats that support them are rel foreign ... they're not as charismatic as coral reefs.

31:05 pa "what makes the gulf of Maine so interesting is the fact that it has such a wide diversity of habitats on it. wide div of hab types supp an even wider diversity of life forms. And 1 think that most people are completely unaware that there is such a range of living things that they could see ... "

32:00 Iw "it was completely in a mile of ice until 12,000years ago and about 8000yrs ago it began to fill with seawater so we're dealing with a relatively new body of ocean... but that glacial history that's produced this incredibly diverse habitat...if it were not for that we would be dealing with a pretty standard straightforward sandy continental shelf that you normally see on the south side of George's bank..."

34:26 lw "this is reasonably similar to what we saw back in 1986

35:18 tb "if we were watching the progress ofa trawling net scraping along the bottom scraping along the bottom floor"

pa "you'd see linear striations ... the net would be moving along .. .if the net hit a boulder, the epifauna most of the epifauna would be removed ... "

39:54 pa "one of the constraints in understanding the effects of change both natural and human caused in the gulf is that there's not lots of sites where there's not any kind of long-term data such as you can gather using these kind of vehicles."

41:08 tb "do you feel like we know enough now about how to preserve these habitats."

41:18 pa "absolutely, we know enough now to begin making recommendations .. .1 think we need to proceed cautiously ... "

41:53 lw "I mean when you look at this, . .it must be fairly obvious that there's a huge amount of stuff ... one of the frustrating things is that we feel that if enough people saw this they would see as well that--... "

42:48 lw "anybody that saw this bottom they would see that there's a huge number of diff kinds of living organisms here and the problem is that they don't get to see this so the range of life-but they would be able to see that the removal of this stuff would be a loss ... if they saw this w/o any marine training at all I think they would be appalled at what they would see if they went to an area that had basically been cleared by mobile fishing gear."

@46:43 talk about need to explore, emphasis on what could be discovered if effort went into studying them closely ...

47:40 pa "I think we need to rec in gen contain 99% of the living space on the planet. 1 mean we tend to be terrestrial in what needs to be protected and conserved and the ocean-and yet we occupy as humans a relatively minor part of the living space on the planet... but in the oceans we're only begin to develop more ofa conservation ethic beyond that related to harvesting resources"

... talking about volume of living space ...

@50:22 ct

50:32 pa "yeah, I think there is an onus on the scientific comm. to communicate the results of their work to the public for the most part they are the ones that pay for this work ... I think we have an obligation also to make the public understand what we're doing has some importance-what we know and what we don't know in a language that public can understand-"

51:08--51:32 ambi., printers, humming,

52:17 ambi. Inside ROV lab

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