Project Description: Seafloor Habitat Recovery Monitoring Program

Summary

The primary goal of this project, which entering in its 18th year, is the quantification of recovery rates for fish, invertebrates and seafloor habitats in the western Gulf of Maine. Data on the distribution of fishes, invertebrates, and seafloor microhabitats were extracted from still photographic and videographic imagery collected using an ROV and a camera sled. Sediment samples and infaunal invertebrates were collected using a benthic grab sampler. Post-processing and further analysis are completed in the IfAME Image Analysis Lab at the University of Connecticut, and at the University of Maine.

Student Involvement

Since its inception in 1998, this project has provided more than 22 student positions for students from institutions around the country, encompassing field research activities, data post-processing, and analysis, and produced 3 masters theses.

Broader Significance

This project is directly informing the New England Fishery Management Council’s on-going efforts to manage fishing effort and impacts to Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) under the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996. Further, the project is contributing to the conservation of the marine communities in NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, one of only 14 National Marine Sanctuaries in US waters, and the only Sanctuary in the northwest Atlantic.

IfAME PI

Dr. James Lindholm

Financial Support

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, National Undersea Research Center for the Northeast Atlantic and Great Lakes, NOAA Fisheries

Field Support

R/V Connecticut; NOAA Ship Ferrel; NOAA Ship Nancy Foster; F/V Christopher Andrew

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