News and Announcements

2024 State of the Ecosystem Reports: Dinoflagellate Bloom Dominates the Gulf of Maine

May 23, 2024
 Left: A map of the Northeast US shelf ecosystems with icons indicating notable events that are described in the 2024 State of the Ecosystem reports. Notable events include a large phytoplankton bloom and bottom water heatwaves in the Gulf of Maine, construction of offshore wind projects, and periods of fish and shellfish mortality in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Top Right: Image of the dinoflagellate species that dominated the Gulf of Maine phytoplankton bloom, T. muelleri, under a microscope at 400x magnification with a 50 micron bar for scale. Dinoflagellates are unicellular and have 2 tail-like appendages called flagella that are used for locomotion. Bottom Right: A collection of sea scallops with brown and white striping on their shells.
Left: The new “2023 Highlights” graphic quickly and efficiently communicates important events that occurred within the Northeast shelf ecosystems from the previous year to fishery management councils. Credit: NOAA Fisheries; Top Right: Image of the dinoflagellate species, T. muelleri,  that dominated the Gulf of Maine phytoplankton bloom in 2023. Dinoflagellates are unicellular and have 2 tail-like appendages called flagella that are used for locomotion. Credit: PlanktonNet/Alexandra Kraberg (http://planktonnet.awi.de); Bottom Right: There was was a large dieoff of sea scallops in the Elephant Trunk area of the Mid-Atlantic region Credit: NOAA Fisheries

 

NOAA’s Northeast Integrated Ecosystem Assessment team released their annual Mid-Atlantic and New England State of the Ecosystem Reports. These reports synthesize the ecologicaloceanographic, and socioeconomic aspects of the Georges Bank, Gulf of Maine, and Mid-Atlantic Bight ecosystems as they relate to fishery management objectives. Two notable events highlighted in the reports were the Gulf of Maine phytoplankton bloom in summer 2023 and a large dieoff of sea scallops in the Elephant Trunk area of the Mid-Atlantic region.

This year’s reports feature a new format for the “Risks to Meeting Fishery Objectives” section and a “2023 Highlights” graphic that depicts notable ecosystem events up and down the Northeast coast from the previous year. This graphic is both visually engaging, and easily and quickly communicates events that may affect the meeting of fisheries objectives within the ecosystems. These events are highlighted in the graphical summary and explained in more detail at the end of the reports. The changes made to this year's reports aid in achieving the program's goals of effectively delivering ecosystem science to decision makers through collaboration and co-production of products. 

Results from the Mid-Atlantic report were presented to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council in mid-April. The New England report will be presented to the New England Fishery Management Council in June. A summary of both State of the Ecosystem reports will be featured through a OneNOAA seminar on Thursday, May 30 at 1pm ET. 

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Read a summary of the reports from NOAA Fisheries. 

Read the 2024 Mid-Atlantic State of the Ecosystem report.

Read the 2024 New England State of the Ecosystem report - Coming soon (early July).

Read past State of the Ecosystem reports. 

Watch the 2024 State of the Ecosytem OneNOAA seminar.