Spring Bloom Development on the Northeast Shelf
Most ecoregions of the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem have a well developed spring phytoplankton bloom. The impact of the spring bloom will depend on multiple factors related to the time and duration of the bloom and how productive the constituent phytoplankton species are over time. The timing and duration of 2016 spring bloom for the Northeast Shelf ecosystem as a whole was similar to historical patterns; however, the bloom was much larger than historical blooms, with chlorophyll levels more than twice as high as the average level (see Northeast Shelf figure; for this and figures for other ecoregions, dark green line is long-term mean bloom pattern, light green line 2016 bloom pattern, points are for 2016 data). Above average blooms were found in the Scotian Shelf, Georges Bank, and Middle Atlantic Bight areas with chlorophyll concentrations at twice the average levels in all areas. The Gulf of Maine spring bloom was of slightly below average in size compared to historical data. This analysis was based on a blended time series of MODIS and SeaWiFS remote sensing data that utilized a time and area correction between the two sensors.