Home > Explore Data & Reports > Cruise Report: Summer 2008 Ecological Assessment of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary


Cooksey, C. and J. Hyland. 2008. Cruise Report: Summer 2008 Ecological Assessment of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 87. Charleston, SC. 31 pp.

Data/Report Type:

NOAA Technical Memorandum


This cruise report is a summary of a field survey conducted within the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS), located between Cape Cod and Cape Ann at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay. The survey was conducted June 14 - June 21, 2008 on NOAA Ship Nancy Foster Cruise NF-08-09-CCEHBR. Multiple indicators of ecological condition and human dimensions were sampled synoptically at each of 30 stations throughout SBNMS using a random probabilistic sampling design. Samples were collected for the analysis of benthic community structure and composition; concentrations of chemical contaminants (metals, pesticides, PAHs, PCBs, PBDEs) in sediments and target demersal biota; nutrient and chlorophyll levels in the water column; and other basic habitat characteristics such as depth, salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH, sediment grain size, and organic carbon content. In addition to the fish samples that were collected for analysis of chemical contaminants relative to human-health consumption limits, other human-dimension indicators were sampled as well including presence or absence of fishing gear, vessels, surface trash, marine mammals, and noxious sediment odors. The overall purpose of the survey was to collect data to assess the status of ecosystem condition and potential stressor impacts throughout SBNMS, based on these various indicators and corresponding management thresholds, and to provide this information as a baseline for determining how such conditions may be changing with time. While sample analysis is still ongoing a few preliminary results and observations are reported here. A final report will be completed once all data have been processed. The results are anticipated to be of value in supporting goals of the SBNMS and National Marine Sanctuary Program aimed at the characterization, protection, and management of sanctuary resources (pursuant to the National Marine Sanctuary Reauthorization Act) as well as a new priority of NCCOS and NOAA to apply Ecosystem Based approaches to the Management of coastal resources (EBM) through Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs) conducted in various coastal regions of the U.S. including the Northeast Atlantic continental shelf.

Note to readers with disabilities: Some scientific publications linked from this website may not conform to Section 508 accessibility standards due to the complexity of the information being presented. If you need assistance accessing this electronic content, please contact the lead/corresponding author, Primary Contact, or nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov.

Explore Similar Data/Reports


NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our quarterly newsletter or view our archives.

Follow us on Social

Listen to our Podcast

Check our our new podcast "Coastal Conversations"