As of this writing (May 21), the regional bloom remains relatively limited in scale, as evidenced by data from the first GOMTOX cruise and state shellfish toxicity measurements. A few areas in western Maine have been closed, but most of the rest of the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts remain open. It would appear that despite the very high abundance of Alexandrium cysts, conditions have not been optimal for growth and delivery of cells to shore. In the latter context, weather patterns for the last month have generally had upwelling favorable winds. Typically it takes several northeast storms during this interval to cause a significant coastal outbreak.
It is still early in the bloom season, so its too soon to say much about what may happen going forward. When the season is over, we will be examining the weather patterns and hydrography carefully to see if we can discern why this bloom has started slowly despite a large potential inoculum and environmental conditions (at least on land) that have led to early blooming of many flowers, trees and other plants.
As this year's bloom develops, information and observations will be posted here. Summaries from our GOMTOX research cruises may be found under the "2010 Field Observations" section.