Zooplankton sampling on the NES-LTER Summer 2018 Transect

Undergraduate student Julia Cox (shown in photo with mentor Dr. Joel Llopiz) is participating on the NES-LTER Summer 2018 Transect (R/V Endeavor cruise EN617). Julia is majoring in Biology at UMass Amherst and is sponsored by an NES-LTER Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). Julia writes from sea: “We are on our fourth day of the Summer 2018 NES-LTER cruise, and have conducted 11 bongo net tows to collect millions of zooplankton. To use the net, we attach a cable to its bongo-drum-shaped frame, raise it with the winch, and slowly lower it into the water. As we steam forward at a speed of two knots, the bongo’s two cone-shaped nets capture any copepods, jellyfish, amphipods, and small fish that drift into their paths.” She continues, “Attending this research cruise has been an unforgettable part of my WHOI Summer Student Fellowship. As an LTER Summer Fellow at WHOI, I have been analyzing historical zooplankton data from the Southern New England continental shelf to decipher long-term ecological trends. Studying plankton is important because the entire ecosystem depends on them. Phytoplankton feed zooplankton, which in turn feed small fish, larger fish, whales, seabirds, and humans.”