Cold core rings stratified euphausiid abundance and biomass (carbon) from multiple cruises in the N. Atlantic, 1973 - 1977

Data Type: Cruise Results
Version: 1
Version Date: 2018-08-14

» North Atlantic Dark Data: Rings (NAtlDarkData)
Wiebe, Peter H.Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)Principal Investigator
Allison, DickyWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI BCO-DMO)BCO-DMO Data Manager
Copley, NancyWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI BCO-DMO)BCO-DMO Data Manager


Spatial Extent: N:40.097 E:-60.067 S:32.725 W:-73.217
Temporal Extent: 1973-02-08 - 1977-11-16

Dataset Description

This dataset is the one of several from this project discovered, rescued, and made available online.

These data are zooplankton, specifically euphausiids, collected and identified in the 1970s as part of the cold-core rings multidisciplinary program.  Included are stratified euphausiid species abundance and zooplankton biomass from over 100 MOCNESS tows and related metadata taken on 9 research cruises in the Northwest Atlantic.  The euphausiid abundance numbers represent numbers per cubic meter in each depth layer. MOCNESS (Multiple Opening and Closing Nets and Environmental Sensing Systems) tows were quantified using flow meters calibrated to provide the volume of water filtered for each tow.

A note about 'nd': Traditionally 'nd' is taken to mean 'no data'. Within that meaning, however, there is much variability. Here 'nd' could mean the more traditional 'we tried and got bad or no data'. It could mean 'these data are not considered relevant to the overall effort'. Finally, 'nd' could mean 'does not exist'.

Acquisition Description

The original acquisition and processing of these data was documented in cruise reports and peer-reviewed papers:
Hunt, M. and P.H. Wiebe (l980)
Joyce, T.M., and Wiebe, P.H. (1983)
McGowan, J. A., and Brown, D. M. (1966)
Wiebe, P.H., N.J. Copley, and S.H. Boyd (1992)

Processing Description

Recovering these data started with the metadata: how, when and where the zooplankton data
were collected. The metadata being sought are summarized in Table 1. As noted above, the data
reside in notebooks , cruise reports, old computer files, and blue cover reports.
However, the crucial element that makes the effort possible is the presence of the scientist who
conducted the research for which the samples were collected and remembers many important
details about where to look and what to look for. At one time some of the data were entered into
a main-frame based database system, which has since disappeared (Hunt and Wiebe, [12]).

The search began systematically with the listing of all of the cruises that were participated on in
the 1970s and 1980s, and then seeking out the information/data listing the zooplankton
net tows. All of the data included cruise ids, station information, tow information, net
descriptions rudimentary or otherwise, latitudes and longitudes, times and instrument depths,
often including multiple sampling depths with the same net system. 

Information was not often complete in the analysis notebooks and this
required going back into the original cruise log books and crosschecking with other published

For some cruises there was a personal log that had information to fill in the blanks.
There were also errors. The most potentially damaging errors were those of station position.
Degrees and decimal minutes were sometimes converted to decimal degrees by simply moving
the decimal place and not first dividing the minutes by 60. In addition, sometimes a discrepancy
was found between the same information in two different sources. Those errors had to be
tracked down using as many other sources as possible.

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Related Publications

Hunt, Mary M., & Wiebe, Peter. (1980). A database for zooplankton net tow data. W.H.O.I. Technical Report 80-28. 65 pp. doi:10.1575/1912/9574
Joyce, T.M., & Wiebe, P.H. (1983). Warm core rings of the Gulf Stream. Oceanus, 26(2), 34-44.
McGowan, J. A., & Brown, D. M. (1966). A new opening-closing paired zooplankton net (No. SIO Ref-66-23). SCRIPPS INSTITUTION OF OCEANOGRAPHY LA JOLLA CALIF. Reference 66/23, 1–56.
Wiebe, P. H., Copley, N. J., & Boyd, S. H. (1992). Coarse-scale horizontal patchiness and vertical migration of zooplankton in Gulf Stream warm-core ring 82-H. Deep Sea Research Part A. Oceanographic Research Papers, 39, S247–S278. doi:10.1016/s0198-0149(11)80015-4

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cruiseidunique identifier for cruise text
yearyear YYYY
towsequential number of tow number
tow_typewhich instrument was used text
netin a multi-net system - which net was used number
month_localmonth of year mm
day_localday of year dd
time_locallocal time of zooplankton collection hhmm
ISODateTime_localISO 19115-2 Standard Date and time formidable format
latlatitude of tow. North is positive decimal degrees
lonlongitude of tow. West is negative decimal degrees
regionlocation on the Earth specific to the rings text
depth_maxmaximum depth of tow meters
depth_intdepth interval fished by net meters
depth_midmiddle depth of tow meters
depth_lowdeepest depth fished by the particular net meters
vol_filtvolume filtered; i.e. how much water flows through the net cubic meters
disp_voldisplacement volume; i.e.volume of animals caught in the net; measured with a graduated cylinder milliliters
disp_vol_Mm3displacement volume per thousand cubic meters cubic centimeters per 1000 cubic meters
cum_pcntdisplacement volume per thousand cubic meters over water column cumulated for individual depth strata percent
integ_disp_voldisplacement volume per cubic meter multiplied times the depth over which the net fished cubic centimeters per square meter
Carbon_um_kgCarbon micromoles per kilogram
C_mM_m2Integrated Carbon millimoles per square meter
Euphausia_americanaAbundance of Euphausia_americana number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Euphausia_brevisAbundance of Euphausia_brevis number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Euphausia_gibboidesAbundance of Euphausia_gibboides number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Euphausia_hemigibbaAbundance of Euphausia_hemigibba number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Euphausia_krohniAbundance of Euphausia_krohni number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Euphausia_muticaAbundance of Euphausia_mutica number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Euphausia_pseudogibbaAbundance of Euphausia_pseudogibba number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Euphausia_teneraAbundance of Euphausia_tenera number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Nematobrachion_boopisAbundance of Nematobrachion_boopis number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Nematobrachion_flexipesAbundance of Nematobrachion_flexipes number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Nematobrachion_sexspinosumAbundance of Nematobrachion_sexspinosum number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Nematoscelis_atlanticaAbundance of Nematoscelis_atlantica number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Nematoscelis_megalopsAbundance of Nematoscelis_megalops number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Nematoscelis_micropsAbundance of Nematoscelis_microps number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Nematoscelis_tenellaAbundance of Nematoscelis_tenella number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Stylocheiron_abbreviatumAbundance of Stylocheiron_abbreviatum number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Stylocheiron_affineAbundance of Stylocheiron_affine number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Stylocheiron_carinatumAbundance of Stylocheiron_carinatum number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Stylocheiron_elongatumAbundance of Stylocheiron_elongatum number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Stylocheiron_longicorneAbundance of Stylocheiron_longicorne number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Stylocheiron_maximumAbundance of Stylocheiron_maximum number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Stylocheiron_suhmiAbundance of Stylocheiron_suhmi number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Thysanoessa_gregariaAbundance of Thysanoessa_gregaria number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Thysanoessa_longicaudataAbundance of Thysanoessa_longicaudata number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Thysanoessa_parvaAbundance of Thysanoessa_parva number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Thysanopoda_acutifronsAbundance of Thysanopoda_acutifrons number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Thysanopoda_aequalisAbundance of Thysanopoda_aequalis number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Thysanopoda_obtusifronsAbundance of Thysanopoda_obtusifrons number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Thysanopoda_pectinataAbundance of Thysanopoda_pectinata number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Thysanopoda_tricuspidataAbundance of Thysanopoda_tricuspidata number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Thysanopoda_monacanthaAbundance of Thysanopoda_monacantha number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Thysanopoda_orientalisAbundance of Thysanopoda_orientalis number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Meganyctiphanes_norvegicaAbundance of Meganyctiphanes_norvegica number/cubic meter (#/m^3)
Bentheuphausia_amblyopsAbundance of Bentheuphausia_amblyops number/cubic meter (#/m^3)

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Dataset-specific Instrument Name
Generic Instrument Name
Generic Instrument Description
The Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System or MOCNESS is a family of net systems based on the Tucker Trawl principle. The MOCNESS-1 carries nine 1-m2 nets usually of 335 micrometer mesh and is intended for use with the macrozooplankton. All nets are black to reduce contrast with the background. A motor/toggle release assembly is mounted on the top portion of the frame and stainless steel cables with swaged fittings are used to attach the net bar to the toggle release. A stepping motor in a pressure compensated case filled with oil turns the escapement crankshaft of the toggle release which sequentially releases the nets to an open then closed position on command from the surface. -- from the MOCNESS Operations Manual (1999 + 2003).

Dataset-specific Instrument Name
Generic Instrument Name
Generic Instrument Description
The Double MOCNESS 1D carries 20 1m2 nets usually of mesh size 335micron and is designed to collect macrozooplankton. This MOCNESS system uses the same underwater and shipboard electronic system for operation and data acquisition as other MOCNESS systems. The nets are opened and closed sequentially by commands transmitted from the surface deck unit through a single conducting cable to the underwater unit. The command circuit has a provision to permit commands to be sent to either the left of right set of nets when using the double MOCNESS-1D. - from Wiebe et al, 1985.

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R/V Chain
Start Date
End Date
Not the real cruise track.  A collection of station locations.


R/V Knorr
Start Date
End Date
Resurrected station locations for the Rings project.  Not really a cruise track, but for mapping purposes we made it so.   DMO.


R/V Atlantis II
Start Date
End Date
1. in-situ filtration sampling at selected deptphs and locations between Bermuda and Woods Hole; 2. in-situ tests of the Longhurst-Hardy Plankton Recorder (LHPR) system using SCUBA; 3. studies of the phytoplankton, zooplankton, and fish of Gulf Stream rings with emphasis on spatial patterns of phytoplankton and hydrographic factors; 4. tests of the newly constructed Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental System (MOCNESS); 5. studies of bird migration patterns; 6. studies to examine differences in gene frequencies in fish across physical-chemical stress gradients; 7. analyses of mesopelagic fish blood for differences in ionic concentrations.   The positions are not the cruise track.  The positions here are station locations for zooplankton tows.


R/V Chain
Start Date
End Date
These positions are not exactly the cruise track.  They are station positions for zooplankton tows.  This is part of a resurrected dark data set. At the beginning there are only two locations - the first and the last zooplankton tow locations --  but more locations will be filled in when there is time.


R/V Knorr
Start Date
End Date
These locations are not exactly the cruise track. They are station locations for Zooplankton tows. This is part of a resurrected dark data set. Only the first and last station locations are here to symbolize the cruise track. More locations will be added later as time permits. From [not currently available, 2018-08-20] GEOSECS Program, Project FAMOUS; subjects: transient traces in the ocean, bathymetry. Scientists: Luyendyk, B.P.; Teal, John M.; Metcalf, William G.;  Haedrich, R. L. ;  Worthington, L. Valentine ; Barvenik, F.W. ; Bradley, K.F. ;Hess, F.R.; Brewer, P.G. ; Bowen, Vaughn T. ; Burke, J.C. ; Jenkins, W.J. related subjects: Panulirus II (Ship) related subjects: R/V Oceanus related subjects: USS Mentor related subjects: R/V Knorr


R/V Knorr
Start Date
End Date
These positions are station locations and not cruise tracks per se.  This is all we have for this cruise.  We are charting the location of the zooplankton tows from the Rings Projects.


R/V Knorr
Start Date
End Date
These positions are not the complete cruise track.  These positions are a subset and represent the locations of the zooplankton tows which are a part of the Rings Projects.


R/V Endeavor
Start Date
End Date
These positions are not the whole cruise track.  They represent some of the zooplankton collection stations. We will be adding more positions as time permits.


R/V Knorr
Start Date
End Date
These positions represent only a portion of the cruise track.  They are the location of some of the scientific stations, but they are all we have at the moment.  More positions  will be added to the cruise track as time allows.

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Project Information

North Atlantic Dark Data: Rings (NAtlDarkData)

Coverage: North Atlantic, Sargasso Sea, NW Atlantic Slope Water

Recent changes in NSF and other agency data policies (NSF11060, 2011; OSTP memo 2013) mandating timely and open access to data and information generated in the course of US funded research have resulted in a relatively rapid change in the culture of data sharing. Technological advances, policy changes, and increased awareness of the need for and benefits of well-curated data make it much more likely that recently generated research results will be made publicly available and in a timely manner. However, many scientific data were generated at a time when the technology for curation, storage, and dissemination were primitive or non-existent, and data sharing was not viewed as essential. In addition, many of the datasets were created by projects that make up the "long tail", smaller projects that form the bulk of the projects funded by agencies such as NSF (Heidorn, 2008). Data from these projects have in the past been poorly curated and thus less visible to other scientists, largely not available, and hence named "Dark Data" (Heidorn, 2008). But as Sinha et al. (2013) emphasize, without access to the types of historical observations or legacy data that make up the “dark data” in the “long tail” of science, emerging scientific challenges will not be addressable. "...making these data available on demand must be one of the highest priorities for any enterprise seeking to develop a cyberinfrastructure capable of promoting new ways to examine the earth system through time" (Sinha et al., 2013). The paucity of marine ecosystem data available to conduct cutting edge research and the critical need for the rescue of past data were also highlighted in a recent EarthCube End-User Domain Workshop Report "Articulating Cyberinfrastructure Needs of the Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics Community" (Kinkade et al., 2013). (from proposal to NSF, 2014)

There are significant dark datasets currently unavailable from multidisciplinary programs funded in the 1970’s and 1980’s such as those from the Northwest Atlantic cold-core and warm-core rings (The Ring Group, 1981; Joyce and Wiebe, 1983). The bulk of the data served here will be from the Rings projects.

The Cold-Core Rings (CCR) studies, [1972-1976] and Warm-Core Rings (WCR) Program, [1981-1982], were major research projects in the 1970s and 1980s.  Large oceanic eddies or rings form when Gulf Stream waters first meander, then separate, forming a ring of Gulf Stream water around a core of cold Slope Water or a core of warm Sargasso Sea water.  The CCRs move south or southwest from their point of origin into the Sargasso Sea and are initially 150-300 kilometers in diameter and 2500-3500 meters deep.  They can persist as identifiable features for up to 2 years.  WCRs move to the west/southwest in the Slope Water north of the Gulf Stream. They are 100 to 200 km in diameter, extend to at least 1500 m deep, and exist for a shorter period of time (usually less than a year) before gradually breaking up and rejoining the Gulf Stream.  Both of these kinds of rings form about 5 to 8 times a year.

Rings are particularly interesting to the biologist because species living north and south of the Gulf Stream are distinctly different. Thus temperate species from the Slope Water or tropical-subtropical species from the Sargasso Sea are isolated during ring formation within their particular ring structure.  Thus, a community of animals from one area is expatriated in the territory of another community of animals.  As a ring decays, the water gradually takes on the physical and chemical characteristics of the surrounding non-ring water. Species outside the ring invade the ring habitat while those expatriated go to local extinction. This phenomenon provides for a large-scale natural ecological experiment that was the focus of the ring’s studies. 

This project is digitizing data from 33 cruises to the Northwest Atlantic Ocean that are locked in notebooks and old digital file formats and preparing them for serving online in a publically available data repository (BCO-DMO).

Each dataset has been the subject of extensive data recovery efforts and the work is continuing.


Heidorn, P.B. (2008). Shedding light on the dark data in the long tail of science. Library Trends, 57(2), 280-299. doi:

Joyce, T.M., & Wiebe, P.H. (1983). Warm core rings of the Gulf Stream. Oceanus, 26(2), 34-44.

Kinkade, D., Chandler, C., Glover, D., Groman, R., Kline, D., Nahorniak, J., O'Brien, T., Perry, M.J., Pierson, J., & Wiebe, P. (2013). Articulating cyberinfrastructure needs of the ocean ecosystem dynamics community. Earthcube End-User Domain Workshop Report. Final report submitted to Summary at

Wiebe et al, 1976. Gulf stream cold core rings: large-scale interaction sites for open ocean plankton communities. Deep-Sea Res. 23:695-710

NSF11060. U.S. National Science Foundation. (2011). Division of Ocean Sciences sample and data policy (document number nsf11060). Retrieved from

OSTP Memo 2013. U.S. Office of Science and Technology. Increasing access to the results of federally funded scientific research. Washington, DC. Retrieved from

Ring Group (Backus, R.H., G.R. Flierl, D. Kester, D.B. Olson, D. Richardson, A. Vastano, P.H. Wiebe and J. Wormuth). (1981). Gulf Stream cold core rings: Their physics, chemistry, and biology. Science, 212, 1091-1100.

Sinha, A.K., Thessen, A.E., & Barnes, C.G. (2013). Geoinformatics: towards an integrative view of Earth as a system. In Bickford, M.E. (ed.), The Web of Geological Sciences: Advances, Impacts, and Interactions (GSA Special Paper 500, pp. 591-604). Geological Society of America. doi:

(These data were originally collected under NSF Award OCE-8017248 and others.)

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Funding SourceAward
National Science Foundation (NSF)

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