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Cruise Report: Summer 2008 Ecological Assessment of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Author(s): Cooksey, C.; J. Hyland

NCCOS Center: CCEHBR (http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/about/centers/ccehbr)

Center Team: Charleston

Publication Type: NOAA Technical Memoranda

Journal Title: NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 87

Date of Publication: 2008

Reference Information: 31 pages

Keywords: National Marine Sanctuary; ecological condition; benthic communities; sediment and tissue contaminants; Integrated Ecosystem Assessments

Abstract: This cruise report is a summary of a field survey conducted within the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS), located between Cape Cod and Cape Ann at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay. The survey was conducted June 14 – June 21, 2008 on NOAA Ship NANCY FOSTER Cruise NF-08-09-CCEHBR. Multiple indicators of ecological condition and human dimensions were sampled synoptically at each of 30 stations throughout SBNMS using a random probabilistic sampling design. Samples were collected for the analysis of benthic community structure and composition; concentrations of chemical contaminants (metals, pesticides, PAHs, PCBs, PBDEs) in sediments and target demersal biota; nutrient and chlorophyll levels in the water column; and other basic habitat characteristics such as depth, salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH, sediment grain size, and organic carbon content. In addition to the fish samples that were collected for analysis of chemical contaminants relative to human-health consumption limits, other human-dimension indicators were sampled as well including presence or absence of fishing gear, vessels, surface trash, marine mammals, and noxious sediment odors. The overall purpose of the survey was to collect data to assess the status of ecosystem condition and potential stressor impacts throughout SBNMS, based on these various indicators and corresponding management thresholds, and to provide this information as a baseline for determining how such conditions may be changing with time. While sample analysis is still ongoing a few preliminary results and observations are reported here. A final report will be completed once all data have been processed. The results are anticipated to be of value in supporting goals of the SBNMS and National Marine Sanctuary Program aimed at the characterization, protection, and management of sanctuary resources (pursuant to the National Marine Sanctuary Reauthorization Act) as well as a new priority of NCCOS and NOAA to apply Ecosystem Based approaches to the Management of coastal resources (EBM) through Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs) conducted in various coastal regions of the U.S. including the Northeast Atlantic continental shelf.

Availability: Through the NCCOS Publications Webpage

Related Attachment: Download file (.pdf)