Processing and Interpretation of Video Plankton Recorder and Other Optical Data Collected in the Gulf of Mexico

Cabell S. Davis, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

As part of the overall NOAA/NRDA plankton-sampling program to assess the possible impact of the DWH oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, new optical sampling methods were used to obtain digital images of oil droplets, fragile forms of plankton, and marine snow, none of which are sampled adequately using traditional net and bottle collection methods.  In addition, the optical methods allow acquisition of high-resolution along-track survey data. Such information is critical for assessment of the pelagic ecosystem of the gulf.   Following the DWH spill, a series of cruises to the Gulf were conducted using digital optical imaging systems.    Data from the Digital Autonomous Video Plankton Recorder (DAVPR) and the second generation Video Plankton Recorder (VPRII) now have been largely processed.  The work proposed here is to finalize the processing and for collation and delivery of the data, and initial interpretation of the results.