Department of Biology
SMAST Department of Fisheries Oceanography
706 Rodney French Blvd
New Bedford, MA 02744-1221
The Biological Oceanography & Plankton Ecology group led by Dr. Jefferson Turner is currently working on several projects involving plankton and water quality in coastal habitats, and toxic microalgal blooms commonly known as “red tides.” These projects include long-term monitoring of plankton communities, water quality, and environmental factors in Buzzards Bay, Boston Harbor, and Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays.
Since October 1987, researchers and students have conducted over 300 biweekly or monthly cruises monitoring environmental parameters in Buzzards Bay in order to establish temporal and spatial trends of hydrography, water quality and plankton community structure. Parameters include nutrient, chlorophyll, bacterioplankton, and water clarity data for all eight stations in the survey, as well as quantitative taxonomic data for phytoplankton and zooplankton samples. We are also monitoring zooplankton communities in relation to the Boston Harbor sewage outfall as part of a team managed by Battelle Memorial Institute, and funded by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA).
Studies of toxic phytoplankton are in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and other universities and government agencies. These studies are part of the national program known as ECOHAB (ECology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms) funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). ECOHAB work includes investigations of harmful algal blooms (an increase in single-celled dinoflagellates that are toxic to marine life and humans). Our portion of the project is focused upon tracking mobility of dinoflagellate toxins through various size fractions of the zooplankton, potentially reaching upper-level consumers such as fish and marine mammals and birds, during spring/summer outbreaks of red tide in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank. We are also collaborating with WHOI on studies of zooplankton community grazing impact on red tides in Cape Cod salt ponds that are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute