Hickey J. Michael

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J. Michael

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  • Preprint
    Categorizing the severity of paralytic shellfish poisoning outbreaks in the Gulf of Maine for forecasting and management
    ( 2013-03) Kleindinst, Judith L. ; Anderson, Donald M. ; McGillicuddy, Dennis J. ; Stumpf, Richard P. ; Fisher, Kathleen M. ; Couture, Darcie A. ; Hickey, J. Michael ; Nash, Christopher
    Development of forecasting systems for harmful algal blooms (HABs) has been a long-standing research and management goal. Significant progress has been made in the Gulf of Maine, where seasonal bloom forecasts are now being issued annually using Alexandrium fundyense cyst abundance maps and a population dynamics model developed for that organism. Thus far these forecasts have used terms such as “significant”, “moderately large” or “moderate” to convey the extent of forecasted paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) outbreaks. In this study, historical shellfish harvesting closure data along the coast of the Gulf of Maine were used to derive a series of bloom severity levels that are analogous to those used to define major storms like hurricanes or tornados. Thirty-four years of PSP-related shellfish closure data for Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire were collected and mapped to depict the extent of coastline closure in each year. Due to fractal considerations, different methods were explored for measuring length of coastline closed. Ultimately, a simple procedure was developed using arbitrary straight-line segments to represent specific sections of the coastline. This method was consistently applied to each year’s PSP toxicity closure map to calculate the total length of coastline closed. Maps were then clustered together statistically to yield distinct groups of years with similar characteristics. A series of categories or levels was defined (“Level 1: Limited”, “Level 2: Moderate”, and “Level 3: Extensive”) each with an associated range of expected coastline closed, which can now be used instead of vague descriptors in future forecasts. This will provide scientifically consistent and simply defined information to the public as well as resource managers who make decisions on the basis of the forecasts.
  • Preprint
    Understanding interannual, decadal level variability in paralytic shellfish poisoning toxicity in the Gulf of Maine : the HAB Index
    ( 2013-09) Anderson, Donald M. ; Couture, Darcie A. ; Kleindinst, Judith L. ; Keafer, Bruce A. ; McGillicuddy, Dennis J. ; Martin, Jennifer L. ; Richlen, Mindy L. ; Hickey, J. Michael ; Solow, Andrew R.
    A major goal in harmful algal bloom (HAB) research has been to identify mechanisms underlying interannual variability in bloom magnitude and impact. Here the focus is on variability in Alexandrium fundyense blooms and paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxicity in Maine, USA, over 34 years (1978 – 2011). The Maine coastline was divided into two regions - eastern and western Maine, and within those two regions, three measures of PSP toxicity (the percent of stations showing detectable toxicity over the year, the cumulative amount of toxicity per station measured in all shellfish (mussel) samples during that year, and the duration of measurable toxicity) were examined for each year in the time series. These metrics were combined into a simple HAB Index that provides a single measure of annual toxin severity across each region. The three toxin metrics, as well as the HAB Index that integrates them, reveal significant variability in overall toxicity between individual years as well as long-term, decadal patterns or regimes. Based on different conceptual models of the system, we considered three trend formulations to characterize the long-term patterns in the Index – a three-phase (mean-shift) model, a linear two-phase model, and a pulse-decline model. The first represents a “regime shift” or multiple equilibria formulation as might occur with alternating periods of sustained high and low cyst abundance or favorable and unfavorable growth conditions, the second depicts a scenario of more gradual transitions in cyst abundance or growth conditions of vegetative cells, and the third characterizes a ”sawtooth” pattern in which upward shifts in toxicity are associated with major cyst recruitment events, followed by a gradual but continuous decline until the next pulse. The fitted models were compared using both residual sum of squares and Akaike’s Information Criterion. There were some differences between model fits, but none consistently gave a better fit than the others. This statistical underpinning can guide efforts to identify physical and/or biological mechanisms underlying the patterns revealed by the HAB Index. Although A. fundyense cyst survey data (limited to 9 years) do not span the entire interval of the shellfish toxicity records, this analysis leads us to hypothesize that major changes in the abundance of A. fundyense cysts may be a primary factor contributing to the decadal trends in shellfish toxicity in this region. The HAB Index approach taken here is simple but represents a novel and potentially useful tool for resource managers in many areas of the world subject to toxic HABs.