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2007 Nancy Foster Cruise
Mission info 2007 Nancy Foster Cruise
 

Introduction

What are the biogeographic patterns of benthic fish within NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary?  Or, in plain English, what bottom-dwelling fish species are present, how many of each species are there, and where are they?  NOAA scientists will be busy finding answers to these questions during an expedition in the Gulf of Mexico September 8-15, 2007.  The team will SCUBA dive in the parts of the sanctuary that are less than 130 feet deep.  They will conduct surveys to learn about the fish populations. 

Black Jacks
Scientists will record observations of the fish species, such as these two black jacks. Information gathered will include numbers of species, numbers of individuals, and location on the reef. (Photo: George Schmahl)
The project is part of an on-going effort to learn about all of the plants and animals in the sanctuary and how they interact with each other and their surroundings.  This process of figuring out how all the pieces fit together is called “ecological characterization.”  It takes years to complete.  As each piece is fit into the puzzle, more of the picture is revealed.  As the picture becomes more complete, resource managers are able to make wiser decisions.  That means this national treasure is better protected for the enjoyment of current and future generations.

The expedition is a team effort between three NOAA entities: the Flower Garden Banks NMS, the National Center for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) and the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.

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