Of initial interest was a region of relatively warm water on the edge of the Continental Shelf that the Fish Commission called the Gulf Stream Slope.
In 1881-82, Spencer Baird continued to use the Fish Hawk to dredge in waters as deep as 780 fathoms, primarily along the Gulf Stream Slope (Smith, 1888:915-932; Linton, 1915:741-744).
In 1879, this previously unknown species was discovered by a Gloucester fishing captain in relatively warm New England waters 60-150 fathoms deep along the inside edge of the Gulf Stream Slope.
Fortuitously, the tilefish grounds were in the Gulf Stream Slope region that was of so much basic scientific interest to Baird and his associates.
The ship's deployments from that port revealed the fascination that the Gulf Stream Slope and the adjacent oceanic abyss held for the Fish Commission's scientists.
Although Baird continued to observe that one of his purposes was to search for the tilefish along the Gulf Stream Slope, the fundamental contribution made by these oceanic operations was the illumination of the biological and physical characteristics of the deep-ocean environment (Tanner, 1886:78-79; USFC, 1886:xviii;xx)(9).
After a cruise to the Gulf Stream Slope in July, Baird assigned the Albatross to investigate possible uncharted shoals near the cod and halibut banks off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.