GMRI Fisheries Ecologist Graham Sherwood leads this project. He has assembled a multi-disciplinary science team to carry out six core monitoring activities across the Casco Bay ecosystem over the next decade.
These core activities include:
- sampling alewife at the lower falls of the Presumpscot River to monitor timing of migrations and energetic condition of migrating fish
- beach seining efforts at various locations around the bay to describe very nearshore fish community structure and dynamics
- trapping efforts to further describe fish and invertebrate communities from the point of view of a lobster trap
- a random jig fishing survey in and adjacent to the bay to monitor groundfish (e.g., cod) abundance, distribution and condition
- an acoustic survey of pelagic forage fish out to 4 miles offshore
- a plankton survey to describe variability at the base of the food web
Finally, we will make our data available to the interested public by providing interactive web-based data integration and analysis tools for exploring various relationships. Collaborating institutions include the University of Southern Maine, University of Maine, Friends of Casco Bay, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, and Southern Maine Community College.
Our network of sampling sites will allow us to keep tabs on a variety of ecosystem and food web properties that will help us to describe change as it happens and make predictions for future change. The Casco Bay Aquatic System Survey will contribute to an emerging regional effort to develop a coordinated biological sampling program in the coastal waters of the Gulf of Maine.