A few days ago I had the great opportunity to go diving with Sea Rovers Ted Maney and Vin Malkoski. We headed out of the Cat Cove Marine Lab, with the goal of helping Ted with his benthic surveys at Halfway Rock. Halfway Rock is a small rocky outcropping a short boat trip out from Salem harbor, and home to an abundance of benthic invertebrates that have been monitored for over 40 years. Our short trip consisted of 3 dives, the first down to almost 100 feet, where we looked for temperature probes installed a few years prior. While on the bottom we were greeted by a friendly grey seal who had a pup on the surface, and was curious who was intruding on her watery domain.
Our next two dives we counted and measured urchins, using a quadrat to get accurate counts of the number of urchins per square meter. These data will hopefully provide key insights into the health of benthic environment allowing researchers like Ted better understand how the underwater world is constantly changing.