Projects Explorer

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

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marsh conservation and restoration guidance for the central coastal region of North Carolina from eight years of yet unpublished, continuous water-level data combined with field measurements of site topography and plant distribution.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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Using Linked Models to Predict Impacts of Hypoxia on Gulf Coast Fisheries Under Scenarios of Watershed and River Management

We are linking a suite of well-established models to quantify fish and shrimp population responses to combinations of nutrient loadings and planned river diversions. Our scenario analyses include different land-use and agricultural practices in the watershed and alternative river diversions. The linked model system informs and supports management decisions by ...
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Using Microcystin-degrading Bacteria and their Enzymes for Water Treatment

We will assess the potential that algal toxin–degrading bacteria have to degrade toxins from water treatment facilities. Why We Care Harmful algal blooms (HABs) occur in eutrophic waters across the world and are characterized by large aggregations of naturally occurring photosynthetic bacteria that release cyanotoxins. A variety of cyanobacteria, including ...
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Using Passive Sampler Technology (Silicone Bands) to Detect Organic Contaminants in Coastal Waters around Charleston, South Carolina

We have teamed with Charleston Waterkeepers to evaluate how effective passive sampler technology (silicone bands) is at detecting organic contaminants in local waterways. Silicone band samplers are inexpensive and easy to use, allowing citizen scientists to conduct local environmental monitoring. Such monitoring could help identify sources of pollution entering South ...
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Using Satellite Imagery to Assess Impacts of Land-based Pollution on Nearshore Coral Reefs in the U.S. Caribbean

Rainwater runoff from coastal watersheds, especially during flood events, transports sediment and other pollutants into estuaries and nearshore marine environments that often have negative effects on plants and animals living there. We used satellite imagery, other relevant spatial data, and computer analysis to see if a method or tool could ...
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Validating the Technique for Identifying Paralytic Shellfish Toxins

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is a world-wide, sometimes fatal seafood poisoning caused by potent algal neurotoxins that accumulate in shellfish. Most nations have certified shellfish PSP testing programs required for international commerce. The accepted international method for PSP testing is the mouse bioassay. To replace live animal testing we developed ...
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Validation of a Triplex Test for Saxitoxin, Domoic Acid, and Okadaic Acid Measured in Shellfish Tissue from New England and the Pacific Northwest

We will evaluate an assay that simultaneously detects paralytic shellfish poisoning, amnesic shellfish poisoning, and diarrhetic shellfish poisoning toxins in mussels.  Why We Care Shellfish aquaculture is a large and growing U.S. industry due to customer demand and because shellfish are environmentally friendly, easy to seed, and immobile, making them ...
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Value of the Pacific Northwest Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast

We will estimate the economic benefits of the Pacific Northwest Harmful Algal Bloom Bulletin, using a methodology that quantifies the value of information. Why We Care The razor clam and Dungeness crab fisheries along the Washington and Oregon coasts have been adversely impacted by marine algae that produce the toxin ...
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Value of the SoundToxins Partnership: An Early Warning System for HABs in Puget Sound

We will estimate the net economic benefits of the harmful algal bloom early warnings provided by SoundToxins and evaluate net economic benefits to recreational shellfish harvesters. Why We Care A national leader in shellfish farming, Washington state has been cultivating shellfish for more than 160 years, providing a safe, sustainable ...
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Vulnerability of Deep-Sea Coral Ecosystems to Ocean Acidification

The high acidity and high dissolved inorganic carbon of the California Current ecosystem make it a natural laboratory to study the effects of ocean acidification and ocean warming on deep-sea organisms. Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), we are studying the health and condition of deep-sea Lophelia pertusa and gorgonian ...
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Weather and Water: Using weather data to create models and tools to predict coastal impacts

Understanding and predicting climate-related issues along coastlines is important for management and coastal resiliency. We provide scientific information and tools on connections between climate, weather and coastal impacts from hazards including storms, rising seas, floods, and changing air/water temperatures. Satellite remote sensing technology and large-scale weather patterns are used to ...
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Western Pacific Coral Reef Institute (WPCRI)

The Western Pacific Coral Reef Institute (WPCRI) is a collaborative regional partnership whose mission is to protect and preserve Micronesia’s reefs through scientific research that is directly applicable to coral reef management, as well as training and education activities. The research focuses on climate change, land-based sources of pollution, fisheries, ...
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Where is all the Brevetoxin in Florida Dolphins?

After over 500 bottlenose dolphins washed ashore during a decade of Florida red tides, puzzled scientists measured little to no brevetoxin in them. An unusual mortality event occurred in 2004 leaving 100 dolphins dead after gorging on menhaden. We analyzed dolphin stomachs finding high levels of brevetoxin in the menhaden; ...
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Where is the Fish Food? Chesapeake Bay Mesozooplankton Abundance and Composition

The purpose of this project is to collect and document the abundance and composition of Chesapeake Bay mesozooplankton, an important food source for juvenile fish in the region. The information obtained will help establish the current status of mesozooplankton and provide science for ecosystem management in Chesapeake Bay. Why We ...
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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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