Images will be analyzed directly from the film negatives using a PC compatible computer with Data Translation frame grabber and Java software. Total image area occupied by aggregates, average diameter, and the number of particles in 11 size classes (0.5--5.0 mm in 0.5 mm increments and larger than 5 mm) will be counted in representative portions of each image. Large zooplankton or nekton will be manually excluded from all images. Because this method relies on optical contrast between large aggregates and relatively clear water, results are more predictable when acquired at night when ambient light levels are lowest.
Also included in this instrument package are a self-contained CTD and transmissometer. Data from the CTD are used to calculate a density structure profile for the water column to determine the role of pycnoclines on the vertical distribution of aggregates and to follow water masses to evaluate the role of advective processes in distributing aggregates. The transmissometer is used to determine the concentration of fine suspended particles for comparison with the abundance of aggregates. These data will be used to evaluate whether or not scavenging of fine particles by sinking aggregates is a significant process.
The CTD will be calibrated by the manufacturer prior to shipment to Seattle and the transmissometer will be cleaned and calibrated according to the protocols established by the optics recommendations. The aggregate profiling camera system has been calibrated in the past by placing objects of known size in the field of view and will be re-calibrated during the cruise to preclude the possibility that a misalignment has occurred.