Skip directly to content

Minimize RSR Award Detail

Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of New Hampshire
  • Joseph E Salisbury
  • (603) 862-0849
Award Date:03/02/2015
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 147,383
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 147,383
  • FY 2015=$147,383
Start Date:04/01/2015
End Date:03/31/2018
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: Mechanisms Supporting Persistence of a Key Plankton Species During Climate Change on the Northwest Atlantic Continental Shelf
Federal Award ID Number:1459216
DUNS ID:111089470
Parent DUNS ID:001765866
Program Officer:
  • Michael Sieracki
  • (703) 292-7585

Awardee Location

Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of New Hampshire
Street:8 College Road, Morse Hall
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

In the Gulf of Maine region, rapid warming of the ocean surface in recent years has raised concern in the research and resource management communities, fishing industry and the general public about effects on the coastal marine ecosystem. This interdisciplinary, collaborative project will improve understanding of the physical and biological processes controlling the abundance of a planktonic animal that is particularly important in the food web of the northeast coastal ocean. About the size of a grain of rice, the marine copepod Calanus finmarchicus is the primary prey for herring and other forage fish, as well as for the endangered northern right whale. This study will examine whether transport of C. finmarchicus into the Gulf of Maine from cold Canadian waters, in combination with growth and reproduction in the relatively cold Maine Coastal Current, is sufficient to supply the region with the numbers needed to attract and nourish the fish, seabirds and mammals that rely on its energy rich life stages, despite recent ocean warming. The research team will develop a computer model that links extensive understanding of the species' life history with ocean currents and temperature. Results from the model will be tested against field collections at two locations. This study will also contribute to the new Integrated Sentinel Monitoring Network, a joint effort planned by federal and state agencies with academic research participation to monitor future ecosystem change on the northeastern coastal shelf. It will train a graduate student and postdoctoral scientist in interdisciplinary research and also provide support for an early-career investigator. The project will take a process modeling approach that takes into account regional and mesoscale interaction between life history and bathymetry and circulation to improve understanding of planktonic species distribution shifts. It will combine two decades of research on Calanus finmarchicus life history, including diapause, with a high resolution regional circulation model into an innovative application of a three dimensional, physical-biological model. The modeling approach represents an advancement of climate forecasts of species ranges by coupling a Lagrangian perspective with local processes to better resolve complex range boundaries. It will use Lagrangian parameters such as finite-scale or finite-time Lyapunov exponents, translating particle trajectories into scalar fields that represent the structure of the advective regime. The model will be informed by and tested with measurements of vital rates and demographic data collected on a research vessel at two time series stations. It will be used in backward-in-time and forward-in-time modes to test hypotheses about sources and destinations of C. finmarchicus in the Gulf of Maine, effects of match/mismatch in phenologies, and exploration effects of climate forced scenarios on advective pathways.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

Preziosi, B., J.A. Runge, J. J.P. Christensen and R.J. Jones "Effects of ocean acidification and temperature on hatching success of the marine planktonic copepod, Calanus finmarchicus" Mar. Biol., v.164, 2017, p.. doi:org/10.1007/s00227-017-3243-5 

Qi, J, C. Chen, R. C. Beardsley "FVCOM one-way and two-way nesting using ESMF: Development and validation," Ocean Modelling, v.124, 2018, p..

Krumhansl, K.A., Head, E.J., Pepin, P., Plourde, S., Record, N.R., Runge, J.A. and Johnson, C.L. "Environmental drivers of vertical distribution in diapausing Calanus copepods in the Northwest Atlantic." Progress in Oceanography, v.162, 2018, p.. doi:/ j.pocean.2018.02.018. 

Bailey, A., P. De Wit, P. Thor, H. Browman, R. Bjelland, S. Shema, D. Fields, J. Runge, C. Thompson, and H. Hop. 2017 "Regulation of gene expression underlies tolerance of the Arctic copepod Calanus glacialis to CO2-acidified seawater. Ecology and Evolution DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3063." Ecology and Evolution DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3063., v., 2017, p.. doi:10.1002/ece3.3063 

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

The key outcome is that our original, overarching hypothesis, the Coastal Amplification of Supply and Transport (CAST) hypothesis, explaining the persistence of very high abundance of C. finmarchicus in the western Gulf of Maine despite recent warming, has been supported by our observations and modeling investigations to date. We have also come to recognize that the dynamics controlling population abundance in the eastern Gulf of Maine are different, in that source of advective supply of Calanus to in the eastern Gulf of Maine Basin in summer is likely to have a more important role in determining summer abundance in this region.


Our NSF funded research has enabled us to provide insight into the temporal and spatial dynamics of C. finmarchicus, the key food source for northern right whales in the Gulf of Maine, in relation to the decline of sightings and reduced fecundity of northern right whales in the Gulf of Maine since 2010. We find significant reductions of C. finmarchicus in summer and fall but significant increases in C. finmarchicus in the western Gulf of Maine in spring  (due to earlier timing of phytoplankton production) that are consistent with recent observations of northern right whale distribution. These findings are of great interest to NOAA managers, fishermen and conservations, and our results have been cited in several recent media reports on the decline and migration shifts of northern right whales.


We note that another key outcome of our project is contribution to a baseline of time series information on the abundance of C. finmarchicus in the Gulf of Maine. The overwhelming dominance of this species in the biomass of mesozooplankton in the Gulf of Maine and the uniqueness of its life history and large, energy-rich developmental stages place this species at the foundation of the Gulf of Maine’s pelagic ecosystem. Continued environmental change due to atmospheric greenhouse gas increases will continue to place pressures on this species to sustain its historic abundance and maintain the present structure of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem.


Our achievements to date, in which we report on the details of these key outcomes, are represented by:


Presentations at conferences and seminars

During the review period, we presented the results supported at least in part by project funds at 18 conferences or seminars. See the list of presentations in the final report.


Preparation of manuscripts.

Six manuscripts citing support from this NSF award have been published or submitted during the review period. See the list of publications in the final report.


Last Modified: 04/30/2018
Modified by: Joseph E Salisbury

For specific questions or comments about this information including the NSF Project Outcomes Report, contact us.