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The Fisheries Research Vessel ARCTICUS will be a member of a 5 vessel fleet owned and operated by the U.S. Geological Survey's, Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The primary mission of the Center's fleet is to provide offshore work platforms for the support of fisheries related research projects.

The R/V ARCTICUS will be based at the Cheboygan Vessel Base (CVB) in Cheboygan, Michigan with primary areas of operation in Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

The vessel will typically operate from April through November with capabilities of year round operations. The ship and its systems are fully operational within an air temperature range of 0°F (-18C) to 100° F (38C) and a water temperature range of 33°F (1C) to 85°F (29C).

The general science mission requirements are:
- Conduct lakewide bottom trawl surveys.
- Conduct lakewide acoustic/trawl surveys.
- Conduct localized (including offshore reef areas) gill net surveys.
- Conduct a variety of over-the-side operations such as CTDs, plankton tows, mysid tows and water sampling.