MOSAC-08-01 Intertidal, soft-bottom macrofauna within and around Cobscook Bay, ME

Brian F. Beal
University of Maine at Machias

9 O’Brien Avenue
Machias, ME 04654

Cobscook Bay hosts the closest North Atlantic port to Europe and Canada. Approximately 25% of all cargo shipped into Maine goes through the deepwater Port of Easport. Cobscook Bay is also a robust, diverse marine ecosystem. Recently, the Maine Oil Spill Advisory Committee funded two research projects to study the movement of surface and sub-surface currents in Cobscook Bay (MOSAC-03-03, MOSAC-03-02). These studies simulated, for the first time, physical variables in Cobscook Bay that respond to the combined forcing of tidal mixing and stirring, fresh water from the St. Croix River, wind, heat exchange with the atmosphere, and the larger-scale circulation that sets the offshore condition for the Bay waters. 

The current project will focus on marine communities that would have a high likelihood of being impacted by an oil or chemical spill, establishing a quantitative baseline of information about the distribution and abundance of organisms inhabiting the soft-sediment environment of Cobscook Bay. Dr. Beal hopes to provide resource managers and ecologists with an historic data set (baseline) that could be used to detect the impact of environmental disturbances in the future.