August 14-28, 2012
The first expedition of the Pulley Ridge- Understanding Coral Ecosystem Connectivity Project involved deployments of:
- ROV Dives
- Drifters (surface current)
- Light Traps (plankton traps)
- MOCNESS (plankton)
- Oceanographic Buoy
- Tech Dives
August 13-29, 2013
The second expedition of the Pulley Ridge- Understanding Coral Ecosystem Connectivity Project. Our 2013 cruise involved a team of 22 scientists and divers working on two ships, the R/V F.G. Walton Smith and the M/V Spree, to accomplish all of our mission objectives.
- Characterized the benthic habitat and fish communities at Pulley Ridge and in the Dry Tortugas using the University of North Carolina’s Super Phantom S2 remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
- Collected genetic and other samples from larger fish species using fish traps.
- Collected samples to characterize planktonic larval fish and invertebrates using plankton nets and light traps. We conducted five MOCNESS (Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System) tows and seven light trap deployments to collect larval fish and invertebrates.
On the Spree, the nine science divers conducted 85 dives, totaling 22.85 hours of bottom time at depths ranging from 55 to 75 m (180 to 245 ft). Additionally, the divers swapped out the instrumentation at the three Physical Oceanography moorings installed last year at Pulley Ridge and in the Dry Tortugas.
Overall, we had a very successful cruise and were able to accomplish all of our objectives. Plus, this research cruise has gotten us closer towards our ultimate goal – defining what role the reefs of Pulley Ridge may play in replenishment of key fish species, corals, and other organisms in the downstream reefs of the Dry Tortugas and Florida Keys. Our intent is to create a comprehensive understanding of Pulley Ridge to facilitate resource planning in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and allow resource managers to develop more effective strategies to protect these and other reefs.
Read More about the 2013 cruise…
August 14-28, 2014
The third expedition of the Pulley Ridge- Understanding Coral Ecosystem Connectivity Project, is focused on investigating the role that the relatively healthy deep, mesophotic reefs of Pulley Ridge (off the southwest coast of Florida) may play in replenishing key fish species, such as grouper and snapper, and other organisms in the downstream reefs of the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. Because of the well-documented decline of Florida’s reefs, it is important to identify, protect, and manage sources of larval reef species that can help sustain Florida’s reef ecosystems and the tourism economy that depends on it.
Read more about the 2014 cruise…
August 22-September 4, 2015
We successfully concluded our fourth and final field season to investigate the role that the mesophotic coral ecosystems of Pulley Ridge (off the southwest coast of Florida) may play in replenishing key fish species, such as grouper and snapper, and other organisms in the downstream reefs of the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. Our team of 16 scientists and divers working on two ships, the R/V F.G. Walton Smith and the M/V Spree, accomplished all planned objectives for the 2015 field season. The data collected during this summer will be analyzed, along with the data collected from our 2012-2014 field seasons, to determine the connectivity of reef species living in Pulley Ridge to those of the Florida Keys and describe the structure of Pulley Ridge’s mesophotic communities. The results will then be provided to resource managers to enable development of more effective strategies to protect mesophotic reefs
Read more about the 2015 cruise…