MSC 111 Lab # 1 August 31-Sept 4, 2015
Charts and Navigation:
In this exercise you will be introduced to charts of the ocean and the art of navigation. These are fundamental tools in the marine sciences. The resources you are given are marine charts and some basic charting tools (dividers and parallel rules). The charts include the United Nations General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) series that provide a global set of charts showing the major bottom topographic features in the ocean and a selection of navigational charts. These charts are produced by several navies and the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). All the charts are projections of the surface of the approximately spherical earth on to a two dimensional map. The common method of doing this developed in the 1500’s is the Mercator or equatorial cylindrical orthomorphic projection. These charts have the advantage that they preserve direction for a navigator. They also have the local attribute that distances can be measured by taking the distance on the chart to the latitudinal scale (in degrees) and then using the conversion that one degree of latitude is 112 km or 60 nautical miles (1 degree of latitude is 60 minutes, 1 minute = 1 nautical mile = 1.151 statute miles).
For this exercise you have access to several charts and a navigational pack consisting of dividers and parallel rules. Dividers allow you to transfer distance measures from one part of a chart to another while parallel rules provide a means for a similar movement of compass headings across a chart. This lab exercise consists of three parts: 1) Evaluating the topography of an ocean basin and doing at least one bathymetric profile from a GEBCO chart, 2) Using local charts to navigate in Biscayne Bay and across the Straits of Florida and 3) Tracking some marine animals on a chart. Parts one and two of the exercise need to be done in class while you have access to the charts and plotting tools although the final graphics can be prepared afterwards. Part three of the lab can be done outside of lab as all necessary data is provided in this handout. For part 3 you can also use the website http://whale.wheelock.edu to chart a larger choice of marine mammals and turtles. The website provides charting software that is acceptable.
Exercise 1) Description of a portion of an ocean basin.
Choose one of the charts provided and a particular portion of it that is approximately the size of a notebook page (8.5 x 11 in). Describe the features in your chosen region and then construct a topographic profile.
To construct a topographic profile outline a rhumline between two points, A and B, approximately 8 to 10 inches apart on the chart, by folding a piece of paper in half lengthwise and aligning it with your course. Do not write on the chart, instead begin by labeling your paper at the crease with your origin, “A”. Measure the latitude and longitude of both of these points since they define your transect across the topography, and write these coordinates below the A. In general you want to choose a line perpendicular to the topography. For example, a line perpendicular to a continental shelf or a mid-ocean ridge. Now mark the end of your rhumline on the paper crease with a “B”. Holding the paper steady against the chart, make a substantial tick mark along the crease at every point where an isobath (a contour line of constant depth) crosses the paper edge between your two points A and B. Next to each isobath write the depth in meters of that contour from the chart (make the tick marks of varying length so you can fit in the depth notation). A good strategy it to let your lab partner write the isobath values while you carefully hold the paper against the chart and read off the values. Then take the strip of paper to the latitude scale on the chart at a location that is roughly at the middle of your section from A to B. With a different color pen mark off a latitude scale starting on a relevant latitude mark for point A. (question to test your methodology: why aren’t we using longitude to make this scale?)
1) Produce a cross section chart of the ocean bottom depth along your rhumline for the results section of your lab report. From your folded paper use the latitude numbers as x, and depth as y-axis points to plot a depth profile of the bottom as shown in the example below. Add a second x axis for distance in km to the top of the graph by converting latitude to distance (using the formula provided above). Your plot should look like the one below.
2) Briefly describe the location and topographic features of your cross section in the discussion section of your lab report.
Exercise 2) Navigation Exercise (using charts on next two pages)
1) You are planning a sailing trip in Biscayne Bay and you want to get from Black Point Marina in South Dade to Elliott Harbor on Elliott Key. What’s the distance? What course will you set? At a speed of 5 knots (1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour), how long will it take? Use the Biscayne Bay chart, compass rose and parallel rule to find the answers.
2) You are planning to sail from Miami to Bimini across the Straits of Florida. Your boat makes 5 knots and the Florida current moves north at 4 knots. What course should you sail to make landfall at Bimini?
Exercise 3) Using Satellite Tags to Track Marine Animals
In order to make more knowledgeable decisions about our uses of our environment, we must better understand it and the organisms that use this environment. Recent innovations and improvements in a number of technologies are allowing scientists to answer more complex questions about animals in their natural environments. The advancement of these technologies comes at a critical time when scientists want to monitor many different animals around the world because of concerns about their populations, health, or issues related to international disputes.
To better understand animals we need to obtain information about their life histories including their long and short term movements, as well as how their movements may be affected by changing environmental conditions. We need to study the factors relating to their migrations. In order to protect highly migratory animals we must know the locations of all their habitats, how they use each habitat, when they travel between them and the routes they take.
However, this information is difficult to obtain particularly for marine animals. Until recently much of the information about marine animals was from catch and incidental kill data, strandings or direct observations. The recent technological developments of radio and then satellite tags, as well as satellite images, have provided rich new information about marine animals and their habitats. For example, in 1996 a group of Marine Biologists aboard a ship in the Gulf of Mexico used maps of ocean currents, produced with satellite gathered data, to help locate and count sperm whales. Based on evidence that whales prefer to feed in the edges of cyclonic eddies, they viewed satellite data which provided them with a picture of where these oceanographic features were located. They used this information to find the whales quickly, which aided them in taking a visual and acoustic census of these marine mammals. They were then able to learn more about their habitat in areas potentially affected by oil and gas activities. The satellite gathered data, developed to study global ocean circulation, provided a bonanza of information for these marine biologists. Scientists are continuing to find new applications for this satellite data.
Satellite tagging is a relatively new method in the study of organisms in their own habitat. It allows scientists to investigate animal movements, particularly in the case of animals that travel long distances or dive to great depths; as well as animals that are difficult to observe. The use of satellite linked transmitters has enabled field biologists to overcome many of the difficulties associated with studying cetaceans and other marine animals at sea.
If we can determine where the whales and marine mammals travel, where they feed and where they give birth, more informed decisions can be made about how humans use these same areas. For example, war games and other military maneuvers can be moved from critical habitats. Commercial uses of the ocean can be managed more effectively, such as moving navigation channels, controlling when the channels are used, limiting the speed of vessels or providing early warning information for mariners so they can avoid disturbances or collisions. Learning more about the diving behavior of marine animals can reveal whether an animal is at risk of becoming entangled in certain types of fishing gear. Fishing management decisions can then be made about where and when to fish to minimize incidental catch and mortality of whales and other marine mammals. With the recent advances in electronic sensors and transmitters, marine mammal tags have taken a quantum leap in the amounts and types of data they can provide. Tags with a variety of sensors can be attached to animals to learn about the biology of the animal and about the environment in which the animal lives.
In addition, satellite tag studies have been conducted on released rehabilitated animals that were rescued after stranding. Although these animals may not behave as if they are fully wild, the tags can provide information about the animal after release, such as its survival. Also these tags provide an opportunity to test the satellite transmitters, and to correlate the tag’s data with oceanographic and remote sensing data collected from other sources. With the use of satellite tags, we gain important insights into the animal’s use of its habitat, range of movements, birthing areas and more. This gives us more insights into the natural history of the animal and enables more intelligent and meaningful decisions about our uses of the oceans. Understanding the full range of an animal’s habitat requirements can allow us to better manage and protect those areas, which will increase the potential for recovery and for an improved coexistence in this shared marine environment.
Note two informative websites with numerous satellite tracks (and datasets) for marine animals at:
Lab Exercise on satellite tracking:
1. Choose one of the following organisms and plot its trajectory (track) on the chart at the end of the handout. Note for animals with a large number of tracking points, it is NOT necessary to plot every point, try using every 3rd or 5th point.
2. Estimate the velocity that the individual is moving at. Note, after you have made the track chose several points that appear to represent maximum velocity to make your estimate. Include the tracking chart and velocity estimate in the results section of your lab report.
3. Discuss the movement of this animal relative to the currents in the region and the bottom topography in the discussion section of your lab report. What do you think the organism(s) is (are) doing? This should involve a brief discussion of the particular organism you have chosen using materials off the web or from the literature (a short paragraph). Carefully reference all of your sources.
Northern Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis)
The northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is the most endangered of all the large whales with fewer than 350 animals left in the North Atlantic. On 01/01/96, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FL DEP) sighted right whale #1707, about 20 miles northeast of Jacksonville, FL. Approximately 300′ of line and a set of buoys were trailing behind this animal. Each year static fishing gear entangles right whales, sometimes fatally. Therefore, plans were made to “tag” this whale with a tracking device so that it could be relocated and hopefully disentangled. Such an effort would be especially worthwhile because #1707 is known to be a 9 year old female. In an extremely diminished population, there is no more valuable animal than a female entering her reproductive years. On 1/23/96, scientists and crew of the Coast Guard cutter METOMPKIN tied on the satellite tag. At this time #1707 was dubbed METOMPKIN.
The data represent positions (latitude/longitude) of Metompkin between January and July, 1996. Plot the daily positions on the accompanying chart. From this plot, what can you determine about Metompkin’s movements? What physical and biological features seem to act as cues for this movement pattern?
Date, Lat., Long., Time Date, Lat., Long., Time
Jan 6 ’96: 30 N., 81 W. Apr 18 ’96 38.2N 40.1W 09:12
Apr 20 ’96 38.5N 40.6W 04:30
Jan 11 ’96: 29 N., 81 W. Apr 21 ’96 38.3N 40.5W 19:27
Jan 15 ’96: 30 N., 81 W. Apr 23 ’96 38.5N 39.9W 17:06
Jan 17 ’96: 29 N., 80 W. Apr 25 ’96 38.4N 39.5W 07:00
Jan 19 ’96: 30 N., 81 W. Apr 28 ’96 37.8N 39.0W 17:53
Jan 20 ’96: 31 N., 81 W. Apr 30 ’96 36.9N 39.1W 17:30
Jan 21 ’96: 31 N., 80 W. May 02 ’96 36.8N 39.8W 05:46
Jan 22 ’96: 31 N., 80 W. May 04 ’96 36.8N 40.4W 05:21
Jan 23 ’96: 32 N., 79 W. May 05 ’96 36.8N 40.9W 19:22
Jan 24 ’96: 32 N., 79 W. May 09 ’96 36.8N 41.1W 11:34
Jan 30 ’96: 34 N., 75 W. May 16 ’96 37.0N 41.5W 06:32
Feb 3 ’96: 36 N., 71 W. May 18 ’96 37.1N 42.1W 04:31
Feb 9 ’96: 37.4N 68.6W 23:59 May 19 ’96 37.4N 42.6W 20:55
Feb 10 ’96: 37.4N 68.3W 5:32 May 21 ’96 37.6N 43.0W 15:22
Feb 11 ’96: 37.5N 67.4W 23:11 May 23 ’96 37.5N 43.0W 06:56
Feb 13 ’96 37.4N 66.6W 12:51 May 25 ’96 37.5N 43.0W 04:55
Feb 15 ’96 37.5N 65.6W 6:17 May 26 ’96 37.4N 42.7W 17:48
Feb 18 ’96 38.2N 63.9W 18:02 May 28 ’96 36.9N 42.8W 17:26
Feb 22 ’96 38.4N 63.5W 11:14 May 30 ’96 36.7N 43.5W 08:58
Feb 23 ’96 39.8N 61.8W 23:54 June 02 ’96 37.6N 43.9W 22:32
Feb 24 ’96 40.0N 61.6W 04:37 June 04 ’96 37.2N 43.6W 12:06
Feb 25 ’96 40.7N 60.2W 21:28 June 04 ’96 37.2N 43.7W 14:32
Feb 27 ’96 40.3N 58.7W 12:43 June 04 ’96 37.2N 43.7W 14:54
Feb 29 ’96 39.9N 55.8W 07:06 June 06 ’96 36.8N 44.1W 06:08
Mar 3 ’96 39.6N 54.3W 17:57 June 08 ’96 36.8N 44.6W 05:44
Mar 5 ’96 38.8N 53.6W 15:53 June 09 ’96 37.0N 44.6W 19:58
Mar 7 ’96 38.8N 52.2W 05:49 June 11 ’96 37.1N 44.8W 16:36
Mar 8 ’96 39.6N 50.4W 23:47 June 13 ’96 37.4N 44.4W 10:31
Mar 9 ’96 39.6N 50.4W 03:45 June 15 ’96 37.1N 44.3W 04:29
Mar 10 ’96 39.3N 49.6W 23:04 June 16 ’96 36.9N 44.1W 20:44
Mar 12 ’96 37.9N 49.7W 12:38 June 18 ’96 36.7N 44.2W 16:56
Mar 14 ’96 35.6N 48.2W 10:12 June 20 ’96 36.7N 44.0W 06:53
Mar 17 ’96 37.1N 47.1W 20:31 June 23 ’96 35.7N 44.3W 21:30
Mar 19 ’96 37.1N 46.9W 16:43 June 25 ’96 35.5N 44.3W 15:42
Mar 21 ’96 36.8N 46.8W 06:36 June 27 ’96 35.6N 44.3W 10:27
Mar 23 ’96 36.9N 46.9W 04:36 June 29 ’96 35.7N 44.6W 03:37
Mar 24 ’96 37.3N 46.6W 21:15 June 30 ’96 36.1N 45.6W 22:20
Mar 26 ’96 36.9N 46.2W 17:07 July 2 ’96 36.3N 46.1W 11:55
Mar 28 ’96 36.4N 46.2W 07:03 July 2 ’96 36.4N 46.1W 14:28
Mar 30 ’96 35.6N 45.3W 05:01 July 4 ’96 37.4N 46.7W 06:03
Mar 31 ’96 35.4N 44.4W 17:52
Apr 02 ’96 35.9N 43.3W 17:33
Apr 04 ’96 36.2N 43.3W 05:49
Apr 06 ’96 36.6N 42.8W 05:27
Apr 07 ’96 36.9N 42.0W 19:32
Apr 07 ’96 36.6N 42.0W 22:52
Apr 11 ’96 36.4N 40.9W 08:27
Apr 16 ’96 37.5N 40.0W 16:04
Species: Green (Chelonia mydas)/ Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Date Stranded: June 19, 2002
Location of Stranding: Bower’s Beach in Delaware
Final Disposition: Bower was released November 15, 2002.
Members of the Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP) at the National Aquarium in Baltimore have become very familiar with an animal that can best be described as one of nature’s mysteries. Stranded off of Bower’s Beach in Delaware, this animal appeared to be no ordinary sea turtle. On June 19, 2002, volunteer rescuers from the MERR Institute, a state-designated stranding and response team, responded to a call about a sea turtle that was found near marina dock. It appeared to have been hit by a boat and had been pulled up onto the dock. The rescue team contacted MARP and made arrangements for the animal to be transported to Baltimore for long term rehabilitation.
At first glance, the sea turtle appeared to be a Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). The animal had the similar size and coloration of a traditional Loggerhead. Upon further investigation, however, the MARP team noticed that there were some discrepancies in the shape of its carapace, or shell, and its head. These features more closely resembled a Green sea turtle (Cheylonia mydas). When the animal was brought to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the veterinary staff seemed to think that it could possibly be a hybrid, or combination, of the two species of sea turtles. The genetic evidence proving this theory is still pending.
The “Logger/Green”, as it was referred to as by the MARP team, had suffered injuries on its head that appeared to be caused by a boat strike. It also had injuries to its right eye, and on the back left side of its carapace, right in front of its back left flipper. This injury had lead to infection in that area. The prognosis for this turtle was not very good when it first arrived. The wounds seemed to be very deep and the veterinary staff was unsure of the possibility for this animal to survive. This was compounded by the fact that for the first 2 months of its stay, it did not eat anything. This is not unusual for sea turtles, especially Loggerheads, as they have a slow metabolism and do not need to eat on a regular basis. The fact that this turtle was injured, however, made the rehabilitation team concerned about its eating habits. The vet staff and MARP team administered IV fluids to the animal to sustain it, but still wondered if the animal was going to make it.
Then it happened…the Logger/Green began to eat. Each day the staff fed the animal a variety of food items such as herring, squid, crabs, romaine lettuce, and sea grass. The fascinating thing was that the turtle ate both vegetation and meat. This is not typical of a pure Loggerhead sea turtle, which is carnivorous (eating meat). Green sea turtles, however, are herbivorous (eating vegetation), and the fact that the turtle was eating both encouraged the MARP team’s belief that the turtle was a hybrid. Over the course of the following 3 months, the turtle began to eat readily (1 head of romaine, 4 lbs herring, 2lbs squid, 1 whole crab per day) and gained over 7 pounds. On November 5, 2002 the turtle was given one final exit physical and was deemed releasable back into the wild.
The turtle was transported to the South Carolina Aquarium on November 14, where it was observed and held for the night. The turtle was fitted with a satellite tag that would track its travels and behaviors once released into the ocean. On November 15, 2002, the turtle was released in the waters off the coast of Charleston, SC.
The tracking data will give us an idea of what types of environment this mysterious animal inhabits, it success in acclimating to a second chance at life in the wild, and may shed insights regarding the ever decreasing habitat available to these ancestral creatures.
Date Lat Lon
d.m.y degrees degrees
15.11.02 32.564N 79.703W
20.11.02 32.633N 79.562W
25.11.02 32.477N 79.252W
30.11.02 32.074N 79.321W
05.12.02 31.638N 80.077W
10.12.02 31.023N 80.703W
15.12.02 30.740N 80.626W
20.12.02 30.158N 80.722W
25.12.02 30.016N 80.961W
30.12.02 29.398N 80.992W
05.01.03 29.097N 80.655W
07.01.03 29.041N 80.660W
24.01.03 28.066N 80.291W
05.05.03 41.572N 57.268W
10.05.03 40.219N 53.306W
15.05.03 41.036N 53.160W
20.05.03 40.335N 51.464W
25.05.03 39.812N 50.315W
01.06.03 41.369N 51.170W
05.06.03 41.056N 49.897W
11.06.03 40.975N 48.290W
18.06.03 41.310N 45.965W
27.06.03 42.271N 42.097W
20.07.03 38.965N 41.769W
25.07.03 38.537N 42.608W
30.07.03 38.674N 42.428W
05.08.03 35.956N 44.230W
10.08.03 34.993N 46.051W
18.08.03 35.850N 47.306W
21.08.03 36.319N 47.690W
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