Gulf of Maine 2013 Cyst Cruise and Sample Analysis

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 continuous 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 2004-2012. Funding for this effort has not been continuous
however, as various research projects have supported the work. This CINAR project
seeks funding for a fall 2013 Alexandrium fundyense cyst mapping survey of the GOM.
This cyst mapping survey is a critical need as we move to operational HAB forecasting in
the region.