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Bloom history of picoplankter Aureococcus anophagefferens in the New Jersey Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor System and Great Bay, 1995-1999
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  • Description:
    Comprehensive monitoring of the toxic picoplankter Aureococcus anophagefferens in eastern Long Island, NY, bays from 1986 through 2001 established its population dynamics and bloom histories in that region. This information supported research on various aspects of the species' chronic Long Island blooms. Similar monitoring for the species in the western or New Jersey side of the New York Bight, by contrast, lagged for over a decade. Minimal, albeit valuable, information on A. anophagefferens presence in that region was obtained by other researchers from single-occasion surveys along the northeast U.S. coast in 1988 and 1990. These surveys detected the species in New Jersey bays and ocean coastal waters from the Hudson-Raritan estuary south to Great Bay (approximately central on the New Jersey coast), and -- of greater portent -- found it in low-intensity bloom abundance in Barnegat Bay in 1988. Despite this warning, research attention to the phenomena in the New York Bight was focused almost exclusively on Long Island. Lack of a structured monitoring program in New Jersey specific for A. anophagefferens continued through 1997, which prevented sufficient documentation of the histories of major blooms in 1995 and 1997 in the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor system and Great Bay. To address this inadequacy, we conducted a pilot survey in 1998-1999 in the bloom center, with the cooperation of other agencies. Survey results, including the detailed history of a major bloom of A. anophagefferens in 1999, are presented in this report. Previously reported features of development of the 1995 and 1997 blooms in the study region, with some additional information, are re-examined and compared with the 1999 bloom history. Some characteristics of the New Jersey blooms are compared with those of well-studied Long Island blooms. This paper complements a previous report on the distribution of A. anophagefferens in the western New York Bight, including coastal waters of New Jersey and western Long Island.
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