Coast Guard Cutter Healy headed to Dutch Harbor

Coast Guard District 17 NewsDUTCH HARBOR, Alaska — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy is scheduled to moor at the Unalaska Marine Center pier December 17, 2011.

The Healy, America’s newest and largest ice breaker, will moor for a logistics port call having completed the final Arctic science mission of the 2011 field season.

This year, the Healy spent seven months underway in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean and completed four separate science missions during the 2011 deployment.

The most recent mission was a biology-based mission studying the winter behavior of copepods and organic carbon, the principal energy source for oceanic bacteria. Scientists on board were working to confirm the theory of copepod hibernation under ice in the Chukchi and Bering seas.

The data retrieved from this mission will be the first contribution of data collected in the Arctic during this time of year. In addition to the study of copepods for the first time in Arctic winter, this mission also marks the first study of Arctic organic carbon in the water column.

To retrieve this sensitive data the Healy completed more than 120 science stations, including 99 Conductivity-Temperature-Depth rosette casts and 85 Video Plankton Recorder casts. The CTD rosette is lowered to sample water at different depths for analysis. The VPR is a high resolution camera paired with imaging software that allows scientists to view quantity and type of plankton in the water.

The Healy, commissioned in 2000, is 420 feet long and has extensive scientific capabilities. Based in Seattle, Wash., the ice breaker has a permanent crew of 80 and its primary mission is scientific support.

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