Gulf of Maine Annual Cyst Cruise and Sample Analysis

Donald M. Anderson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Alexandrium fundyense, commonly referred to locally as the New England “red tide” organism, is a harmful algal bloom (HAB) species that requires careful management of shellfish resources to prevent paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in New England and Canadian coastal waters. A multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary, NOAA-funded research program (ECOHAB) conducted a five-year study of the dynamics of toxic Alexandrium fundyense blooms in the Gulf of Maine (GOM) and the Bay of Fundy (BOF). One sustained element of that effort has been the collection of Alexandrium fundyense resting cysts that are deposited to the sediments following each bloom and serve as an inoculum for subsequent blooms each spring.  Annual cyst cruises have been completed each autumn from 2004-2013. Funding for this effort has not been continuous however, as various research projects have supported the work. This CINAR project seeks funding for annual fall Alexandrium fundyense cyst mapping surveys of the GOM. These cyst mapping surveys are a critical need as we move to operational HAB forecasting in the region.