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Investigations of Alexandrium fundyense dynamics in the Gulf of Maine
Harmful algal blooms, commonly called "red tides" or HABs, are a serious economic and public health problem throughout the world. In the U.S., the most serious HAB problem is paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) , a potentially fatal neurological disorder caused by human ingestion of shellfish that accumulate toxins as they feed on dinoflagellates of the genus Alexandrium. These organisms cause human illness and death due to PSP, repeated shellfish harvest quarantines, and the mortality of fish and marine mammals. This phenomenon, which affects thousands of miles of U.S. coastline and numerous fisheries resources, has expanded dramatically in the last two decades, especially in the Gulf of Maine. ECOHAB-GOM is a project that addresses several fundamental issues regarding Alexandrium blooms in the Gulf of Maine: 1) the source of the Alexandrium cells that appear in the fresh water plumes in the western Maine coastal current (WMCC); 2) Alexandrium cell distribution and dynamics in the eastern Maine coastal current (EMCC); and 3) linkages among blooms in the WMCC, the EMCC and on Georges Bank. Utilizing a combination of numerical modeling, hydrographic, chemical, and biological measurements, moored and drifting current measurements, and satellite imagery, we are working to characterize the structure, variability and autecology of the major Alexandrium habitats in the Gulf of Maine.
Summary of Data Sources by Year
2003 – MERHAB (McGillicuddy)
2004 – MERHAB
2005 – WHCOHH (Stegeman)
2006 – NOAA Rapid Response (Anderson) / WHCOHH
2007 – GOMTOX (Anderson) / WHCOHH
2008 – GOMTOX / WHCOHH
2009 – GOMTOX / WHCOHH
2010 – GOMTOX / WHCOHH
Summary of Funding Sources by Years
The cruises from 2003-2004 were supported by NOAA grant NA160P2785 (MERHAB).
The cruises from 2005-2010 were jointly funded:
NSF grant OCE-0430724 and NIEHS grant 1P50-ES01274201 (Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health)
NOAA grant NA06NOS4780245 (GOMTOX)
Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office.
Funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation