Trawling in the Southern California Bight

In summer 2013, the Vantuna Research Group conducted otter trawl surveys of the soft-bottom marine habitats in southern California.

The 2013 Southern California Bight Regional Monitoring Program trip included crewmembers from Occidental College aboard the R/V Yellowfin: three Oxy scientists and three undergraduate research students. Leg one of the trip took place July 22-27, 2013 and Leg 2 was August 20-23, 2013.

August 24, 2013

In summer 2013, the Vantuna Research Group conducted otter trawl surveys of the soft-bottom marine habitats in southern California.

August 23, 2013

This trip truly flew by, and today especially. We finished three trawls by 11:00am (go team!), despite being again flooded with fish. We did have a very exciting first trawl with the catch of a three foot long California torpedo ray. Charged with electricity, these guys have the capacity to knock a man unconscious.

August 22, 2013

Work hard, play hard seems to be the motto of today. Before the trawls began, we woke up bright and early to Adrienne pondering whether she could microwave a metal mug and Ryan recounting a harrowing experience of almost peeing in his bunk (there is an unfortunate drip above him).  However, we got a great start to the day and managed to successfully carry out four consecutive trawls.

August 21, 2013

Before we delve in, we must recap the events of last night. Chelsea, Ryan, and Adrienne took a chance at some night fishing under the full moonlit seas. While they didn’t catch anything, it was a great night to see some "floating squid", as John put it, at the surface of the waters.

August 20, 2013

Hilarious, am I right?

July 26, 2013

The crew set out for our last day of work around Santa Cruz Island with hopes of completing our final four trawls. The marine layer lifted to reveal a beautiful windy but sunny day. We worked up the first trawl in record time and moved on to the deepest trawl of the whole trip. At 460m with deeeeeep continental slopes, this site turned out to be the most challenging.

July 25, 2013

the crew decided to celebrate it by completing 6, yes SIX, sites today. After a night anchoring off Cojo Anchorage with only claustrophobic showers and toilet on the R/V Yellowfin, we set off at 5:30am again and started the first of the SIX trawls promptly at 7 am.

July 24, 2013

Since we anchored at Cojo Anchorage at Point Conception last night, we were without internet, and uploaded the post as soon as we were back within range of civilization.

July 23, 2013

The crew was joined by Steve and Don, our inverts experts, and Jeremy, our other VRG family member/fish-butcher. Dana threw a fit after being told to go sleep in the wheel house to make room for Steve. We did five trawls between Isla Vista, south of UCSB and San Miguel Island. Our net hit 460 meters, possibly the deepest spot yet.

July 22, 2013

Knowing this was a 14-hour boat trip we expected plenty of down time. On our way we collected two bottom trawls off the coast of Malibu around Point Dume—much more diverse and bountiful than we expected. We identified, measured, weighed and preserved over twenty species of fish that numbered in the thousands and 16 different species of invertebrates totaling a few hundred organisms.