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Bloom Observations

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2019 Bloom Season

2016 Bloom Season
The Alexandrium fundyense bloom in 2016 was detected in low concentrations by 3 ESP instruments deployed in the western Gulf of Maine. Two ESPs were located in Casco Bay, ME and off of Ogunquit, ME, both within 1 nautical mile from ME DMR shellfish monitoring sites. A third ESP was located in a wetlab at Bowdoin College Coastal Facility with wild mussels placed in an adjacent tray near the ESP intake.

2016 Status Reports

2015 Bloom Season
The Alexandrium bloom was lacking in the western Gulf of Maine during the 2015 bloom season. Both ESPdon and ESPdennis showed about 100 cells/L as a background condition, which agreed with the lack of shellfish toxicity observed at the coastline. In contrast, in the eastern Gulf, ESPjake was deployed 10nm south of Bar Harbor and showed significant spikes in the population in the offshore coastal current that were corroborated by one CTD survey in the area. At the shoreline, very little shellfish toxicity was observed and the shellfish stayed open to harvest. The offshore bloom detected by ESPjake was likely transported from areas further east along the Maine coast and transported offshore with the Maine coastal current system since shellfish stations near Cobscook Bay, Maine were showing significant toxicity while the stations further west did not detect significant toxicity. Furthermore, some cells within the eastern Maine coastal population were apparently reaching the offshore mahogan,y clam population located off Jonesport in about 100m depth as low level shellfish toxicity was observed by ME DMR.

2014 Bloom Season
The presence of an Alexandrium bloom in the western GOM was evident both in ESP data and survey data, with a strong spike of 1000-2000 cells/L in the western Gulf of Maine starting during the 3rd week in May, followed by another strong peak in early June as the bloom continued thru mid-June and declined thereafter. ESP data showed high variability from day to day, likely due to the patchy nature of the population flowing by the mooring.

2013 Bloom Season
2013 was marked by low toxicity throughout the entire region.

2012 Bloom Season
2012 was a moderate year with toxicity throughout most of eastern Maine and western Maine down to the New Hampshire / Massachusetts border. Parts of Massachusetts Bay were also closed.

2011 Bloom Season
2011 was a moderate year with toxicity through most of western Maine, down to the south shore of Boston. Eastern Maine experienced closures but only in the far eastern region (bordering Canada).

2010 Bloom Season
2010 was marked by low toxicity and few Alexandrium cells.

2009 Bloom Season
2009 was marked by high and widespread toxicity through most of the Maine coast, with low toxicity in New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts.

2008 Bloom Season
A significant regional-scale Alexandrium fundyense bloom occurred within the Gulf of Maine in 2008. Toxicity was particularly high in eastern Maine but also extended south to Massachusetts Bay and parts of Cape Cod. An offshore bloom of the species was also detected on Georges Bank.

2007 Bloom Season
In 2007, toxicity was restricted to sections of Eastern and Western Maine. A large, offshore bloom was documented on Georges Bank as well.

2006 Bloom Season
Significant regional-scale Alexandrium fundyense blooms occurred in both 2005 and 2006. The 2005 event was longer, extended further to the south and had higher cell concentrations and shellfish toxicities.

2005 Bloom Season
Spring 2005 brought the worst "bloom" of the toxic alga Alexandrium fundyense since a massive outbreak occurred in 1972 in the New England region. These outbreaks are commonly called the red tide, but scientists prefer the term "harmful algal bloom" (or HAB).

Last updated: July 1, 2019

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