My name is Debbie Quintero. I am a teacher of earth science at Saint Lucie West Middle School in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. As a participant in the ARMADA project I spent five days on the NOAA vessel the Nancy Foster researching biological, geologic, and human induced processes that effect benthic habitats in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Long term study sites located both inside and outside an area close to fishing represent a variety of sea bed habitats including mud, sand, gravel, and boulder ridges. Working with a team of five scientists and myself we are continuing research to evaluate the impact of commercial fishing and placement of an underground fiber optic cable on benthic habitat. The Hibernia Fiber Optic Cable runs under the sea floor from Boston to Ireland. In this research we will use a Smith-McIntyre stainless steel grab to collect three sediment samples from each site location. We will also be using the SEABOSS observation and sampling system designed by USGS for collection of sea bed images and collection of sediment samples. The "Sea Boss," as it is known, will allow observation from video and still cameras as the system drifts over the sea bed.
The Stellwagon Bank National Marine Sanctuary is located approximately 25 miles off the east coast of Boston, Massachusetts and covers 842 square miles. Established November 4, 1992, it encompasses both Stellwagon and Tillies Banks and portions of Jeffrey's Ledge. Water depths at the top of the bank range from 20 to 30 meters whereas surrounding basin range from 40 to 80 meters. SBNMS is of high significance because it is an immigration feeding ground for the endangered right whale. Stellwagon Bank is still open to the use of mobile fishing gear. One of the biggest sources of anthropogenic disturbance to the oceans is that from mobile fishing gear. It is important to investigate the impact trawling has on benthic environments. The aim of this study is to provide information that is useful for future management decisions.
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