NOAAS David Starr Jordan (R 444)

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NOAAS David Starr Jordan (R 444)
NOAAS David Starr Jordan (R 444)
Flag of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.pngUnited States
Name: BCF David Starr Jordan
Namesake: David Starr Jordan (1851–1931), American naturalist and educator
Operator: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Builder: Christy Corporation, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Launched: 19 December 1964
Acquired: 5 November 1965 (delivery)
Commissioned: 8 January 1966
Identification: Call sign WTDK
Fate: Transferred to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NOAA Flag.svgUnited States
Name: NOAAS David Starr Jordan (R 444)
Namesake: Previous name retained
Operator: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Acquired: Transferred from Bureau of Commercial Fisheries
Decommissioned: 3 August 2010
Fate: Sold 27 May 2011
General characteristics
Type: Fisheries research ship
Displacement: 993 tons
Length: 171 ft (52 m)
Beam: 36.6 ft (11.2 m)
Draft: 12.5 ft (3.8 m)
Propulsion: Two 534-hp (398-kW) White Superior diesel engines, two three-bladed controllable-pitch propellers, one 200-hp (149-kW) General Motors lowerable electric bow thruster
Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h)
Range: 8,335 nautical miles (15,436 km)
Endurance: 31 days
Boats & landing
craft carried:
Complement: 14, plus up to 13 scientists
Aviation facilities: Helicopter pad

NOAAS David Starr Jordan (R 444) was an American fisheries research vessel that was in commission in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fleet from 1970 to 2010. Prior to her NOAA career, she was in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's Bureau of Commercial Fisheries fleet from 1966 to 1970 as BCF David Starr Jordan.

Construction and commissioning

David Starr Jordan was built for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Christy Corporation at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. She was launched on 19 December 1964,[1] delivered on 5 November 1965,[1] and commissioned into service in the Fish and Wildlife Service's Bureau of Commercial Fisheries on 8 January 1966[1] as BCF David Starr Jordan in a ceremony at San Diego, California. She later was transferred to NOAA and became NOAAS David Starr Jordan (R 444) in the NOAA fleet.[2][3]

Characteristics and capabilities

A western-rigged trawler, David Starr Jordan was designed and rigged for midwater trawling, bottom trawling, longline sets, plankton tows, oceanographic casts, ocean-bottom sample grabs, scuba diving, and visual surveys of marine mammals and seabirds.[1] She had a hydraulic hydrographic winch with a drum capacity of 15,000 feet (4,572 meters) of 5/16-inch (7.9-mm) line and a maximum pull of 1,600 pounds (726 kg), a hydraulic hydrographic winch with a drum capacity of 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) of 3/16-inch (4.8-mm) line and a maximum pull of 1,600 pounds (726 kg), a hydraulic combination winch with a drum capcity of 6,080 feet (1,853 meters) of 3/8-inch (9.5-mm) wire rope and a maximum pull of 6,500 pounds (2,948 kg), and two hydraulic trawl winches, each with a drum capacity of 8,830 feet (2,691 meters) of 5/8-inch (15.9-mm) line and a maximum pull of 12,000 pounds (5,443 kg). She also had a 50-foot (15.2-meter) telescoping boom with a lifting capacity of 11,838 pounds (5,370 kg), an 18-foot (5.5-meter) articulated boom with a lifting capacity of 4,650 pounds (2,109 kg), and a movable A-frame.[2]

Equipped to function as a floating laboratory, David Starr Jordan had a 370-square-foot (sq. ft.) (18.6-square-meter) (m²) chemical oceanography laboratory, a 210-sq. ft. (19.5-m²) physical oceanography laboratory, and a 53-sq.-ft. (4.9-m²) biological oceanography laboratory. She also had a 200-sq.-ft. (18.6-m²) scientific information center that served as a data-processing laboratory and a 76-sq.-ft. (7.1-m²) constant temperature room.[2] Her laboratories had temperature-controlled aquaria and live specimen wells, and she had a walk-in freezer, a dark room, and an underwater observation chamber in her bow and on her port side for studying fish behavior at sea.[4] David Starr Jordan had a helicopter platform, allowing her to host a helicopter for aerial observations and photographic survey missions.[4] She carried three boats, an 18.5-foot (5.5-meter) Zodiac rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB), an 18-foot (5.4-meter) Avon RHIB, and a 12-foot (3.7-meter) Boston Whaler fiberglass-hulled boat. All three boats were powered by gasoline outboard motors.[2]

In addition to her crew of 14, David Starr Jordan could accommodate up to 13 scientists.[2]

Service history

File:NOAAS David Starr Jordan (R 444) aerial view.jpg
NOAAS David Starr Jordan (R 444) as seen from NOAA's MD 500 helicopter during marine mammal studies in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean in the autumn of 1999.

David Starr Jordan was built for the purpose of fisheries research in the tropical Pacific Ocean. She spent her career studying the biological and physical oceanography off the southwestern coast of the United States and in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean[3] off the coasts of Central America and South America[2] in support of the management of fish, marine mammal, and sea turtle populations.[4] Her home port was San Diego.[4]

David Starr Jordan's first assignment in January 1966 was to take part in the California Cooperative Fisheries Investigation (CalCOFI), a joint effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (taken over by NOAA after its formation in 1970) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to assess fish populations off the coast of California.[1] It became a long-term commitment for her. During quarterly CalCOFI research cruises off southern and central California, scientists embarked aboard David Starr Jordan studied the marine environment and the management of its living resources as the ship collected hydrographic and biological data on the California Current system and monitored the indicators of El Niño events and climate change.[4]

Operated by NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations after NOAA was established on 3 October 1970, David Starr Jordan supported NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service Southwest Fisheries Science Center Laboratory in La Jolla, California. Dolphin population assessment in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean was one of her longstanding missions, and she was an integral part of the marine mammal surveys conducted by the laboratory's Protected Resources Division, including the Stenella Abundance Research Project (STAR), a three-year study of dolphin stocks taken as incidental catch by the yellowfin tuna purse-seine fishery in the eastern tropical Pacific.[2][3] When assessing dolphin populations, she operated in cooperation with NOAA's MD 500 helicopter, which provided aerial photography support; from the photographs, scientists could measure the length of individual animals and count the number of dolphins in selected schools, which then could be used to calibrate estimates of the sizes of schools of dolphins made by observers aboard David Starr Jordan.[1] Data David Starr Jordan collected were critical in supporting the "dolphin-safetuna campaign and labeling requirements and led to a major reduction in dolphin mortalities related to the operations of the yellowfin tuna industry.[4]

Researchers embarked on David Starr Jordan investigated seasonal variations in ocean temperature, currents and salinity.[4] David Starr Jordan also conducted an annual juvenile striped bass survey, shark surveys, and occasional special research work required by the Southwest Fisheries Science Center Laboratory.[1] She took part in several research expeditions that took her as far afield as Mexico, Peru, and the Galapagos Islands.[4]

In all David Starr Jordan logged over 1,300,000 nautical miles (2,400,000 km) and spent an estimated 8,949 days at sea,[4] averaging over 240 days at sea per year.[3] She measured and weighed 1,000 sea turtles, took 27,000 photographs using remotely operated vehicles, and conducted 27,000 oceanographic sampling casts, 22,000 plankton tows, and 4,700 fish trawls.[4]

After over 44 years of service, David Starr Jordan was decommissioned on 3 August 2010 and sold at auction on 27 May 2011.[3]

See also