CFRF - WHOI Shelf Research Fleet
The CFRF, in partnership with scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), operates a fishing vessel research fleet to conduct bi-weekly oceanographic sampling across the continental shelf and slope south of Rhode Island. The purpose of the project is to study changes in oceanographic conditions, particularly temperature, in order to better understand how these changes may impact the distribution and abundance of key fisheries resources.
The project aims to: 1) Measure the seasonal transitions and stratification patterns over two years to examine the development and breakdown of the seasonal thermocline, and 2) Assess the frequency, timing, and extent of onshore penetration of warm, saline intrusions of slope and Gulf Stream waters onto the continental shelf. The long-term goal is to understand how changes in large scale forcing, including Jet Stream position, affects seasonal stratification and transitions, annual temperature and salinity extremes, and cross-shelf exchange processes during a period of rapid change.
Glen Gawarkiewicz, WHOI
Frank Bahr, WHOI
Anna Malek Mercer, CFRF
Aubrey Ellertson, CFRF
F/V Brooke C - Point Judith, RI
F/V Cailyn Grace - Sakonnet Point, RI
F/V Debbie Ann - Point Judith, RI
F/V Erica Knight - Point Judith, RI
F/V Excalibur - Newport, RI
F/V Mister G - Point Judith, RI
F/V Virginia Marise - Point Judith, RI
Data Collection Strategy:
Fishermen participating in the Shelf Research Fleet deploy a CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth instrument) over the side of their vessels on a bi-weekly basis to collect vertical profiles of temperature and salinity from designated zones within the study area. The data obtained is available for viewing onboard the fishing vessel using iPad tablets. Fishermen have the option of entering notes regarding general observations, such as: tides, weather conditions, bottom type, and targeted species in the fishing area to submit as supplementary information to the scientists receiving the CTD data. Participating fishermen will have a chance to participate in workshops with WHOI scientists to share their on-the-water observations about fish movements in the study area, discuss the data collected, and help interpret the results.
- July 2014 - May 2017 – Phase I of the Shelf Research Fleet, focused on training fishermen how to collect oceanographic data, testing equipment and sampling protocols and, establishing a data management system and online data portal (supported by The MacArthur Foundation).
- June 2017 – May 2019 – Phase II of the Shelf Research Fleet, focused on bi-weekly collection of oceanographic data by fishermen, analysis of data in the context of changing ocean conditions, publication of peer-reviewed manuscripts, and communication of project approach and results to coastal communities (Supported by The van Beuren Charitable Foundation).
Project Data & presentations:
- Shelf Research Fleet data access and visualization - Available HERE
- Shelf Research Fleet - Preliminary Results from 2015 - Glen Gawarkiewicz, WHOI and Anna Malek, CFRF
- Summary of Recent Oceanographic Changes in Southern New England - Glen Gawarkiewicz, WHOI
- Bottom Water Temperature Monitoring in Southern New England (CFRF Lobster Research Fleet) - Anna Malek, CFRF
"Project will develop science-based climate change adaptation solutions for coastal communities" - WHOI Press Room, September 2014
"Fishermen, Scientists Collaborate to Collect Climate Data" - WHOI Press Room, May 2016
"WHOI Scientists Partner with Rhode Island Fishermen" - Marine Technology White Papers, February 2017
"Scientist-Fisherman Partnership: Collaboration Spurs Mutual Benefits for Research And Industry." - Oceanus Magazine WHOI Press Room, March 2017
"Concerned Citizens and Fishermen Help Scientists Track Ocean Changes In Effort To Fight Climate Change." - Boston NPR (WBUR), August 2017