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Kona Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Survey (SE1606, EK60)
During this cruise, small-boat surveys were conducted of surface slicks in order to assess their ecological relevance and underlying physical derivers. To assess the slick-associated plankton community and to collect samples for microplastics, a stern-towed surface plankton net and vertical drop net of varying mesh sizes (50 and 335 um) were utilized. To assess the presence of higher, more mobile trophic groups near surface slicks, active acoustic surveys were performed in conjunction with plankton tows. Physical and chemical sampling of surface slicks occurred in concert with plankton and acoustic surveys. A hand-held CTD, hand lowered over the side to collect vertical profiles of temperature, salinity, and water clarity. Grab samples of water were collected for nutrient and chlorophyll concentrations. Areal surveys of surface slicks were performed using an NMFS Unmanned Areal System (UAS), specifically an APH-22 hexacopter to provide high-resolution areal imagery of surface slicks in the region.