New development in the MOCNESS, an apparatus for sampling zooplankton and micronekton
Four variants of the Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System (MOCNESS) have been constructed to sample a broad size spectrum of oceanic animals from microzooplankton to micronekton. The systems differ in mouth opening dimensions (ranging from 1/4 to 20 m2), the number of nets carried (from 5 to 20), and the mesh size of the netting (from 64 μm to 3.0 mm). A new electronics package enables an operator to send commands down a single conductor, armored cable to open/close the nets and provides 12-bit resolution for the environmental (temperature, depth, conductivity) and net operation data (flow, net-frame angle, net-bar release), which are transmitted up the cable to the deck unit at 2-s intervals. A microcomputer system, interfaced to the deck unit, calculates salinity, volume filtered by a net, net trajectory velocity, and vertical velocity. The data are printed out and stored on disc, and profiles of temperature and salinity versus depth are plotted during the course of the tow. Analysis of the relationship between the geometry of the MOCNESS under tow and the past and present methods used to estimate the water filtered by a net revealed that significant bias is introduced when the ascent or descent angle of a net is disregarded. The bias is a function of the ratio of vertical velocity to net trajectory velocity and results in an underestimate of volume filtered while shooting a net and an overestimate while hauling.