Projects Explorer

The NCCOS Project Explorer provides a snapshot of our official, discrete lines of research. Filter by research category, region or contact.

The Role of Nitric Oxide in Promoting Heterosigma Blooms

Heterosigma akashiwo has emerged as a threat to finfish and shellfish stocks resulting in significant impacts to the coastal economy. We are working to identify the mechanisms and nitrogen sources utilized by Heterosigma, which potentially provide this species with a competitive advantage. The research will enhance our understanding of key ...
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The Role of Temperature and Depth in Fish Community Distribution off North Carolina with Implications for Invasive Lionfish Distribution

We examined the relationship between water temperature, depth, and invasive lionfish and native fish communities, off the coast of North Carolina. By understanding how present conditions influence lionfish and native fish communities we can inform management decisions by using lionfish presence as an indicator of changing climatic conditions. This baseline ...
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The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States

Reports in The State of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States and Pacific Freely Associated States series represent NOAA’s ongoing effort to assess the condition of the nation’s shallow-water coral reef ecosystems based on quantitative results of assessment and monitoring activities. Reports are published periodically and contain the most ...
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Threatened Resources: Bank Systems of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

We undertook an ecological assessment of bank systems in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) to determine what will be lost if these systems continue to be degraded by high boat traffic. The species composition, high density and diversity of the fish assemblage indicate bank systems provide a key ...
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Tool to Forecast the Effect of Waves on Waterbodies and Shorelines

We created a tool to help coastal community managers, resource managers, and biologists estimate the wave impact potential to a given area. Wave forms included in the tool range from extreme wind-driven waves created by hurricanes to persistent low-amplitude waves from boat traffic. Exposure estimates are helping coastal managers prepare ...
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Total Suspended Solids, Turbidity and Contaminants Related to Dredging Activities and Water Quality Criterion Development for the State of Florida

The purpose of this project is to provide additional environmental stressor data related to multiple port dredging projects in south Florida, especially as they relate to nearby important and threatened coral ecosystems. Dredge materials have the potential to contain a variety of inorganic (metals) and organic (PAHs, butyltins) pollutants that ...
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Toward a Predictive Understanding of Cochlodinium and Alexandrium Blooms in the Lower Chesapeake Bay

Large blooms of Cochlodinium polykrikoides have occurred throughout the lower Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in recent decades and appear to be followed by increasingly intense blooms of the ichthyotoxic Alexandrium monilatum. There is limited knowledge concerning the timing and nature of these blooms, which this project seeks to overcome ...
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Towards a Predictive Understanding of Our Ecosystems: Microcystis Blooms and Toxin Production

Cyanobacteria blooms and toxin production are an urgent contemporary problem in the US and worldwide. Water quality models are important tools for managing these problems, but currently the utility of available models is strictly for management and research. This research will lead to better predictions of cyanobacteria blooms and toxin ...
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Toxic Prymesium parvuum: Characterization of Toxins Affecting Aquaculture, Environmental and Human Health

We have successfully identified several toxins and chemical properties of the harmful alga Prymesium parvuum with the ultimate goal of developing detection and monitoring tools. Until very recently the toxins remained totally uncharacterized. Thus, detection and monitoring tools to track these toxins remain undeveloped. We are currently developing analytical chemical ...
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Toxicity and Potential Food-Web Impacts of Alexandrium monilatum and its Toxins

Once limited to the U.S. south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, Alexandrium monilatum has extended its range to the lower Chesapeake Bay, where it affects commercial fisheries and shellfisheries. The dynamics of toxins produced by this harmful alga remain poorly understood. We are characterizing the impacts of A. monilatum ...
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Tracking the Extent and Effect of Hypoxia on Commercial Fisheries off the Pacific Northwest

Low oxygen or hypoxic zones have increased in the Pacific Northwest. We are working with Dungeness crab fishermen in Oregon to deploy dissolved oxygen sensors on commercial crab pots to help detect the onset of hypoxia events on fishing grounds. These difficult to track zones result in die-offs of marine ...
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Training Course on the Identification of Harmful Algae in United States Marine Waters

We are developing a national capacity to train the next generation of state and federal agency scientists in taxonomic identification of harmful marine algae, helping to rebuild and maintain expertise critical to managing the impacts of harmful algal blooms in every U.S. coastal region. Why We Care Many harmful algal ...
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Transitioning to Operations NOAA Supported Statistical Hypoxia Models and Forecasts in the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay

The Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA) mandates the development of scientific tools for natural resource managers to address hypoxia in coastal ecosystems. In response, NCCOS has supported development of scenario forecast models in many U.S. coastal regions that experience severe hypoxia, with the most mature ...
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Trophic Transfer and Effects of HAB Toxins in Alaskan Marine Food Webs

This project aims to determine harmful algal bloom species composition and cell densities in Alaskan waters, and to model toxin transfer pathways to zooplankton, shellfish, finfish, and marine mammals, and potential risks to human health. Why We Care As the climate has warmed over the past few decades, Arctic and ...
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Ultraviolet (UV) light-enhanced toxicity of oil to early life stages of marine organisms

One of the lingering questions after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill concerns the toxicity of thin oil sheens to aquatic species, and whether toxicity may be magnified by interaction of hydrocarbon compounds with ultraviolet (UV)  light. Early life stages, which are often translucent, congregate at the water surface, making them ...
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Uncovering the Mechanisms behind Wintertime Occurrences of Paralytic Shellfish Toxicity in Geoduck Clam Fisheries in Southeast Alaska

Paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) from the alga Alexandrium hinder the wintertime geoduck clam fishery in Southeast Alaska. With no winter blooms of Alexandrium on record, scientists hypothesize that the toxins are coming from seed-like Alexandrium cysts in the sediment that are being re-suspended and filtered by geoducks. We are investigating ...
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Understanding and Predicting Changes in Coastal Marsh Ecosystem Services: Realizing the Combined Effects of Sea Level Rise, Tides, and Storm Surge on Marshes and their Capacity to Protect Shorelines

We are developing marsh conservation and restoration guidance for the central coastal region of North Carolina from eight years of yet unpublished, continuous water-level data combined with field measurements of site topography and plant distribution. These data will allow us to predict the extent and condition of marsh habitat over ...
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Understanding Coral Ecosystem Connectivity in the Gulf of Mexico from Pulley Ridge to the Florida Keys

We investigated the role that the mesophotic coral ecosystems of Pulley Ridge (off the southwest coast of Florida) played in replenishing key coral, sponge, algal, and fish species in the downstream reefs of the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. Because of the well-documented decline of Florida’s reefs, it is important ...
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Understanding Coral Ecosystem Connectivity in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico

We are investigating population connectivity for key coral, sponge, and fish species between shallow and mesophotic reefs of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and its proposed expansion areas to the east. Marine protected areas (MPAs) were identified as a restoration approach for benthic habitats impacted by the Deepwater ...
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Upwelling and Coastal Land Use Patterns on the Development of HAB Hotspots Along the California Coast

We are comparing coastal “hot spots” of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in central and southern California to determine why hot spots exist and how human influences, such as nutrient runoff, and natural upwelling of deep ocean water interact to cause blooms. Models will predict bloom emergence via remote sensing and ...
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User-Driven Tools to Predict and Assess Effects of Reduced Nutrients and Hypoxia on Living Resources in the Gulf of Mexico

We are developing user-friendly, management-scale forecasting tools and quantitative indicators for hypoxia impacts on the Northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. We will assess minimum data needs to ensure these forecasts produce accurate and useful data for managers and stakeholders. Also, we will meet regularly with an advisory committee to evaluate ...
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NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

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