Oceanographic conditions

Gulf of Maine

Provide a brief (2 pages) description of the Gulf of Maine. Please address the following aspects of the ecosystem:

· Oceanographic conditions

· Biology (fish, mammals, seabirds etc)

· Geographic setting (where is it located? What states, countries etc.)

· Significant features (e.g., northeast channel, great south channel, multiple rivers flow into the Gulf of Maine etc)

· Threats (e.g., climate change, overfishing, pollution, possible oil and gas exploration)


Historically, the Gulf of Maine is one of the most productive marine ecosystems on the planet.

· In your description please address the following aspects and questions about the Gulf of Maine:

· Its geologic setting and location between the Arctic to the north and the Mid-Atlantic to the south. It is an example of a sub-polar biome (ecosystem).

· Why does it have such a relatively large amount of biodiversity?

· It is located between two biogeographic provinces to the south and north so it is somewhat a transitional zone between the Artic and the Mid-Atlantic biogeographic provinces and you find species from both areas

· Why is it such a productive ecosystem?

· It is so productive because cold, oxygen and nutrient rich water from the Arctic enters the Gulf of Maine from the north. This water is brought to the surface though upwelling into the photic zone where it stimulates vast amounts of primary production in the late winter/early spring into the fall. This supports a rich amount of marine life.

· What are some of the threats it faces? (Climate Change, overfishing, pollution, potential oil and gas exploration and development etc).

· What are some of the species that you find in the Gulf of Maine? (Marine mammals, sea birds, fish (cod, haddock, flounder, tuna, lobsters, scallops etc)

· Which states and countries are adjacent to the Gulf of Maine?

· Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Canada.

· The fact that two countries, the US and Canada have jurisdiction over portions of the Gulf of Maine, creates problems for managing and protecting the environment because these two countries have different regulations in place

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