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 mahogany clam population located off Jonesport in about 100m depth as low level shellfish toxicity was observed by ME DMR.
2015 Status Reports
Given Chris Nash's latest message, we had a few inquiries about the status of ESP deployments in the Gulf of Maine for this upcoming bloom season...
With critical mission support from MBARI, McLane Research, Inc, and EOM Offshore, Inc., 2 ESPs were successfully deployed in the western Gulf of Maine late last week. Before reporting to the group, the team was intently watching the function of the instruments and the early data returns.
We are now pleased to report that both ESPs are currently working flawlessly! The NA1 probes (targeting A. catenella) on the "hab" arrays are showing weak positive signals in the <100 cells/Liter range. Although values below 100 cells/L are generally considered below detection, visible NA1 probe spots have been consistently observed on the arrays indicating a very low level population present at both locations. "Live" microscope counts from samples collected immediately after deployment agreed with the early ESP results.
As more data points become available, the first time series plots of the early results for A. catenella will be provided later this week.
In addition, the muD2 probe on the array is lighting up at ESP-2 (dennis)...indicative of the presence of Pseudonitzschia sp. Dr. Kate Hubbard will follow-up with a message explaining the interpretation of various Pseudonitzschia probes present on the probe array.
...and in collaboration with Dr. Greg Doucette, the "stx" toxin assay is back onboard ESP-2 (dennis) ...Last season, that assay was not successful transferring the extracted toxin to the analytical module of the ESP. With just a little more push from a syringe and a longer time delay implemented into the code, the transfer of the extract should be fully complete. We now have high hopes that the stx assay will be successful this season.
FYI, Here's the coordinates of the two ESPs deployed last week from the R/V Connecticut:
ESP-1 with ESPdon onboard is located at the mouth of Casco Bay at ~47m depth:
43 41.2443 N
69 58.5708 W
ESP-2 with ESPdennis onboard is located near NERACOOS E, just south of Monhegan Island at ~58m depth:
43 43.9371 N
69 21.2889 W
I am so happy that the instruments are in the water and running for the 2015 bloom season...with power expected to last until about mid-June,
Just wanted you to know that the two ESPs deployed last week have continued to do their job. The weekly results from both ESPs indicate the presence of a low Alexandrium catenella population present at the mooring sites that is near detection limits of the instrument (<100 cells/Liter).
Rather than a constant stream of daily emails to the northeastpsp list serve, a display of the near real time ESP data will be provided differently this year as described below...
An experimental ESP product was developed to provide a semi-automated calculation and time series plot for the estimates of Alexandrium catenella at each mooring site. First, the spot intensity on the hab array is determined manually with the aid of an MBARI provided app. Second, that result is then sent back up to our ESP server with programs running that automatically calculate the cells/Liter present in the field based on bench-generated standard curves. Finally, the program automatically serves the time series plots of the estimated A. catenella concentrations.
Please visit and bookmark the website below to see the latest ESP results as the instruments sample each day at noon with the results becoming available by about 5:00pm (ESPs sample at 5 days per week). I will still send updates about once per week or more frequently when conditions change.
This experimental product is displayed at this website:
I have also attached a plot of the coordinates for ESP-1 and ESP-2 (sent with update #1)...along with a proposed location for ESP-3.
Hope you have a nice spring weekend,
As the Memorial Day Holiday weekend approaches, please know that the latest estimates of Alexandrium catenella from the 2 ESPs (ESPdon and ESPdennis) are available at the following link:
If you have trouble accessing it, then please let me know...and remember to refresh your web browser.
Note that a ground truth survey is scheduled for next week with the intention of sampling at the ESP mooring sites, along with some additional sampling in the surrounding area. However, the ESP results are currently suggesting that the Alexandrium catenella population has not yet ramped up this year in the western Gulf with the exception of a few places that are just starting to increase (New Hampshire and Lumbo's Hole inside Casco Bay) based on NH and ME shellfish monitoring results. We are "at the ready" to initiate ground truth sampling when the ESPs indicate a significant increase from the barely detectable populations at ESP-1 (mouth of Casco Bay) and ESP-2 (offshore near NERACOOS B).
Meanwhile, both ESPdon and ESPdennis are "quietly" doing their job. ESP results for today's assays will be posted to the server at the link above by about 5:00pm...neither instrument will sample on Saturday and Sunday, but will sample again on Monday, Memorial Day (observed).
Enjoy the Holiday weekend,
Just checking in to let you know the ESPs are still showing very little signal on the hab arrays.
The time series plot of estimated Alexandrium catenella (NA1) data is available at the following website:
Given the unfavorable weather conditions for operations this week (seas 4-6 ft in the study area) and the lack of a significant bloom at the mooring sites, we postponed the scheduled ground truth survey on R/V Tioga. The survey has tentatively been rescheduled for June 9-10 using the R/V Gulf Challenger working out of Portsmouth, NH.
To save critical resources and stretch the ESP missions just a little longer, we temporarily aborted the current mission running on ESP-1 (ESPdon) and reprogrammed a new mission that will last until June 19 or when power runs out, whichever comes first. We plan to do the same for ESP-2 (dennis) after today's run finishes.
If ESP results change, then we'll let you know,
ESPdon and ESPdennis continue to perform with the latest NA1 Alexandrium data indicating only sporadic weak positive signals suggesting no significant change in the bloom conditions at this time.
For the latest time series results, please see:
Given the lack of a bloom at the mooring sites, we tentatively re-scheduled the ground truth survey until next week (June 9-10), but may not follow through if the lack of bloom conditions persist into early next week.
Meanwhile, ESP-3 is scheduled to be deployed during the week of June 15 near UMOOS/NERACOOS I, just offshore of Bar Harbor, ME.
Have a nice weekend,
Here's the update for the ESPs in the Gulf of Maine for the week of June 7-12...
We are currently in final preparations for deployment of ESP-3 with ESPjake onboard. ESPjake will be deployed next week near UMOOS/NERACOOS I, about 12nm offshore of Bar Harbor, Maine. If we have extra time following deployment, samples will be collected along a transect from the offshore mooring to the Maine shoreline near Bass Harbor, the closest shellfish monitoring site to the ESP.
Unfortunately, ESPdon onboard ESP-1 in Casco Bay did not quite make it till the end of his mission. ESPdon lost its ability to control the assay temperature during onboard processing of the hab array, apparently due to a failed sensor or thermal circuit board. Remote repair was not possible, so ESPdon has been running without heat (11o C in the pressure housing for an assay tuned to 29oC). Results after June 5 may not be real or quantifiable and were not posted to the time series plot. ESPdon's mission will be aborted and recovered next week during the cruise already planned for deployment of ESP-3(jake).
Meanwhile, ESP-2(dennis), deployed near UMOOS/NERACOOS E, continued soldiering on with both the hab and stx assays working properly. Little to no Alexandrium catenella NA1 signals have been observed on the hab arrays with the NA1 time series plots available at:
ESPdennis was also occasionally signaling the presence of Pseudo-nitzschia sp. with the MUD2 probe on the hab array, but that signal has not been observed since June 1.
ESP-2 (dennis), currently operating in the western Gulf of Maine, is expected to run out of power by June 19 or earlier. ESP-3 (jake) will takeover and continue those observations along the eastern Maine coast where Alexandrium catenella populations are commonly on the increase this time of year with the mission programmed to end in late July.
That's all for this week...Have a nice weekend,
ESP-3(jake) was deployed in eastern Maine coastal waters near UMOOS/NERACOOS I on Wed afternoon June 17 from the R/V Tioga. Special thanks to the Captain and crew of the ship and the WHOI mooring operations personnel for safely deploying the mooring... and to EOM Offshore, Inc. for the mooring preparation and support. ESPjake's mission will run through the end of July sampling about 5-6 times per week.. Please see the attached map of the approximate ESP mooring locations.
ESPjake's first 3 results at the end of this week were weakly positive with NA1 probe spot intensities estimated in the 70-150 cells/L range and in general agreement with Alexandrium sp. live count samples collected along a transect from the mooring location offshore to the shore between Bass Harbor and Southwest Harbor, ME.
The latest ESP data are available at the following website...just click on ESPjake for the ESP results from eastern Maine coastal waters.
Meanwhile, the missions of both ESP-1(don) and ESP-2(dennis) are now complete with only weak positive signals recorded over the recent 6 week period. While we planned to recover ESP-1 (don) during the deployment cruise, that effort was not possible due to increased SW winds as we arrived on station for the recovery operations. To be safe, the recovery was called off for another day, currently scheduled for early August. ESP-2(dennis) is now out of resources and is almost out of power after a full 6 week error-free run, but will continue reporting CTD and SUNAv2 (nitrate) data until the end of the month or until the power finally runs out.
Until next week....have a nice weekend on this upcoming father's day,
Here's the latest ESP update as ESPjake worked hard over the past weekend...
ESPjake was recently deployed on ESP-3 mooring near UMOOS/NERACOOS "I" in eastern Maine coastal waters. After returning weak signals of about 100 cells/L or less since deployment on June 18, Jake just returned significant NA1 probe spot intensities on the hab array estimated to be about 300 cells/L on Friday, June 26, 600 cells/L on Saturday, June 27, and just returned results at about 300 cells/L earlier today (Sunday, June 28).
The MUD2 probe spots, targeting various potentially toxic Pseudo-nitzschia species, was also positive on the hab array.
R/V Tioga is reserved for July 6-9 and will respond by visiting the mooring site to collect ground truth samples and also sample both inshore and offshore of the mooring site to provide a broader perspective of the bloom conditions in the area.
Meanwhile, stay tuned and keep an eye on results from ESPjake at:
Just wanted to give you a quick update as the Holiday weekend is upon us...
ESPjake continues to work each day and has returned positive NA1 spots on the hab array during the past week in the 250-450 cells/Liter range. The MUD2 probe for Psuedo-nitzschia sp. has also been showing consistent signals on the array.
The time series plot has just been updated with today's result...Please note that if you're having difficulty getting the link to work, please try the link with or without a forward slash ( / ) at the end of the URL address.
For a map of the ESP locations and access to all the data:
For direct access to the new ESPjake data:
ESPJake asked for a break over the Holiday weekend but he will be back to work starting Monday with a cruise scheduled for Tues and Wed, July 7-8, when ground truth samples will be collected from the R/V Tioga, weather permitting.
Have a great July 4th weekend,
ESPjake on ESP-3 mooring, deployed in eastern Maine coastal waters in mid-June, continues to show consistent NA1 probe signals for Alexandrium catenella in the 300-400 cells/Liter range. One spike measured on Tuesday afternoon, July 7, exceeded 900 cells/L.
Please see the latest time series for ESPjake's data at:
Fortunately, we were sampling in the area earlier this week with multiple samplings at the ESP-3 mooring site. Please see the attached file showing a map of the live counts posted at each station along two cross-shore transects in the eastern Maine region. Note that the highest counts (>1000-2000 cells/L) were offshore in the Maine coastal current system extending out to about 20 nautical miles offshore, with lower counts observed inshore. The highest concentrations appear to be very
patchy as shown in the spike at ESP-3 during Tuesday's afternoon sampling at ESPjake. Note also that we observed >2000 cells/L at Station 5, but that population could not be found again when we relocated on that station just a few hours later in the day.
Alexandrium sp. Live counts from 3 separate sampling times at the mooring site during the day of July 7 (0837, 1015, 1542 hours) were consistently at about 700 cells/Liter for each sampling time, while the mooring recorded 344 and 944 cells/Liter over two separate 75 minute time integrated sampling times (1015 to 1130 and 1515 to 1430 hours, respectively), thus, the ESP estimates were in the same range as the preliminary microscope observations at sea.
ESPjake is currently on a 6 day/week sampling schedule until the end of July, after which all 3 moorings will be recovered in early August, so please check back in to see ESPjake's progress during the month of July.
Summer is finally here in New England, so enjoy your weekend,
Just wanted to let you know that ESP-3 (jake) detected a large spike in the A. catenella population over the weekend after the weekly message was sent to the northeastpsp list on Friday morning. Please see the updated weekend results at:
Quantification of the spike required a short exposure time to measure the NA1 spot intensity on the hab array along with a complementary set of standards for the short exposure times. With that adjustment, the value from Friday's array was estimated to be about 2400 cells/Liter, in general agreement with the maximum live counts observed in the region last week. Note that the ESP estimate for Friday is displayed on the time series plot as offscale (>1000 cells/L). Since Saturday and today's (Monday) spot intensities were much lower, the plot will remain as is and the scale will not change.
Of course, if ESPjake continues to detect populations that are "off the chart", then we will adjust the plot accordingly.
Just wanted to provide some numbers and clarification of the latest results...
ESPjake, deployed on ESP-3 mooring in eastern Maine (about 12nm off Southwest) is continuing to show spikes in the Alexandrium catenella population.
On Tuesday (July 14) and Wednesday (July 15) this week, ESPjake registered about 2200 and 1500 cells/L, respectively. Those values are offscale on the current time series plot. We intend to change the y-axis scaling on that plot soon. Please note that the earlier wording "off the chart" used in a previous email was not meant to suggest that the Alexandrium cell numbers were historically high, but rather that the values were literally off the scale of the time series plot...sorry if there was a misunderstanding.
Today, Thursday (July 16), we reduced the volume sampled by ESPjake from 4000ml to 2000ml to keep any spikes onscale. ESPjake proceeded to return a low value of only about 300 cells/L, so the 2-day peak subsided to the 200-400 cells/L range observed earlier, at least today.
Here's the link to the latest data from ESPjake:
ESPjake will continue to work Friday and Saturday with the data displayed soon after the images come up to our server...so stay tuned.
Hello Gulf of Maine hab fans,
Another update from ESPjake with the latest weekend results ...
ESPjake continues to detect an Alexandrium catenella bloom in the coastal waters off eastern Maine.
Results from Friday, Saturday, and today's (Monday) hab array indicate a consistent bloom still present in the 1200-1400 cells/L range. We have now dialed down the volume sampled from 4000ml to 3000ml to stay on scale....In the words of Chris Scholin (MBARI), "WOW! --"another hot one today, those are some impressive arrays". Just so you understand Chris' excitement, I've attached today's image of the NA1 probe lighting up on the array, ...enjoy the pic along with Chris.
Note that the y-axis scale (cells/L) on the time series plot has now been changed from a fixed scale (0-1000) to an automatic scale with the highest point to date at the top of the scale at ~2400 cells/L.
Please stay tuned as ESPjake is working hard every day this week,
PS For those of you wondering...ESPjake is named after Jake Peirson, Associate Dean of the MIT/WHOI Joint Program for many years (now deceased). Chris Scholin had a special relationship with Jake while he was Don Anderson's graduate student at WHOI.
The ESP deployment season is ending very soon...
ESPjake, deployed on ESP-3 mooring in the eastern Gulf of Maine, has done an outstanding job detecting the ongoing bloom in the coastal current since deployment with peaks in 1000-2500 cells/L range occurring throughout July. The latest ESP estimate from today (Thursday) registered only about 200 cells/L, the lowest value in over 1 month, indicating that the bloom may be on the decline. Furthermore, the more recent peaks have also been consistently lower than earlier in July. The dramatic day-to-day variability of the population indicates that the population is likely located along a front near the western edge of the Eastern Maine Coastal Current, so another spike could occur at any time, but unfortunately, Jake will not be working much longer as his last run will occur tomorrow (July 31). ESPjake will be out of resources and will be out of of power soon as well. CTD data at 1.5m will continue into early next week when the mission finally comes to an end.
For the latest time series plot from ESPjake, please see:
All 3 ESPs will be recovered in early August during a cruise on the R/V Connecticut. Samples for Alexandrium will be collected in both western and eastern Gulf of Maine coastal waters across the mooring sites.
Please be aware that another hab-related cruise led by Dr. Kate Hubbard on the R/V Tioga will work out of the Bar Harbor, ME region sampling primarily for Pseudo-nitzschia sp. along several offshore transects as well as some inshore areas. Kate will be responding to evidence of the presence of Pseudo-nitzschia populations from samples collected by ME DMR and its volunteers as that population often ramps up this time of year.
Before signing off, I also want to call your attention to a couple of new drifters that Jim Manning (NOAA) and many others have assembled and managed to deploy on short notice in response to the ESP detection of the coastal bloom. Please see Jim's post with the latest update on the drifter tracks in the Gulf of Maine.
We'll check back in with the cruise results when we return,