Projects Explorer

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

The Columbia River Plume and Harmful Algal Blooms in the Pacific Northwest: Bioreactor, Barrier, or Conduit?

We identified the oceanographic causes and transport routes for the harmful alga Pseudo-nitzschia in the offshore waters of the Pacific Northwest and improved predictability of the arrival of harmful algal blooms (HABs) on Washington and Oregon beaches from known HAB hot spots. The study area includes the Columbia River plume ...
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The Comprehensive U.S. Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Project (C-CCREMP)

We worked with territorial and federal partners to develop an integrated system for monitoring coral reef ecosystem health in the U.S. Caribbean. We integrated existing data into a comprehensive report, identified monitoring gaps, and evaluated protocols. Meta-analyses across multiple long-term monitoring data sets helped us assess environmental change. Why We ...
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The Dinoflagellate-Specific Algicide IRI-160AA: Isolation, Characterization, and Potential Impacts on Ecologically Relevant Species

Building on previous research that showed the bacteria Shewanella sp. IRI-160 produces an algicide targeting dinoflagellates with no effect on other phytoplankton, the project team will determine the concentration of Shewanella sp. IRI-160 required for 95 percent mortality in dinoflagellates. Why We Care Blooms of toxic dinoflagellates cause a variety ...
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The Economic Value of Natural Infrastructure for Storm Damage Reduction in North Carolina’s Coastal Communities

This two-year project is determining the economic value of the reduction in storm impacts to coastal communities due to the presence of natural infrastructure in the region associated with the North Carolina’s Sentinel Site Cooperative and National Estuarine Research Reserve. The results will provide an understanding of the impacts of ...
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The Environmental Sample Processor – Making it More Affordable and Easier to Use

We are re-engineering the design of the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), one of the first available in-water sensors to measure harmful algae, their toxins, and other parameters in near real-time and transmit data to shore. The ESP has been proven for multiple sensing applications and is recognized for its promise ...
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The Impact of Temperature and Salinity on Pesticide Toxicity

We tested the toxicity of pesticides to shrimp and phytoplankton to better understand the environmental risks of these chemicals. We found that pesticide toxicity can change with temperature and salinity. These results are being used to improve the ways that pesticides are applied in coastal areas. Why We Care Estuarine ...
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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 Fish Populations and Movements to Support Watershed Restoration in Southwest Florida

We are studying the effect of watershed restoration on fish communities and their movements in mangrove estuaries in southwest Florida. Our goals are to compare fish movements and populations across differing salinity regimes and before and after mangrove restoration. These results will be used to inform expectations for watershed restoration ...
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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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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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