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Spring 2015 Update: Conditions of the Northeast Shelf Ecosystem


  • Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem during 2014 continue to be above average, though they represent a moderation in thermal conditions compared to the record highs observed in 2012.
  • The Gulf of Maine and other northern segments of the ecosystem have remained warm compared to historical trends, more so than the Middle Atlantic Bight.
  • The fall bloom on the Northeast Shelf was well developed covering a large area including Georges Bank and much of the Gulf of Maine.
  • Warm water thermal habitats remain at high levels in 2014 despite a rebound in cold water habitats.
  • The arrival of the fall thermal transition has gotten progressively later over the past two decades in all areas of the Northeast Shelf, with the most pronounced shift occurring in the northern parts of the ecosystem.
  • The fall distribution of fish and invertebrate species sampled by the NEFSC is portrayed by kernel density plots and the assessments of species distributions using both along-shelf distance and depth. The dominant movement of species has been to the Northeast and into deeper water.
  • Summer wind speed and direction has changed over time, thus impacting the movement of water masses and organisms in the ecosystem.
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