Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Maine
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Maine Project

The Gulf of Maine coastal ecosystem survey: an integrated, multidisciplinary effort to map biological hotspots in the waters of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts (Collaborators: C. Loftin, S. McKinney, A. McKnight, A. Allyn, J. Runge, MDIFW, UMass, USFWS, BRI)

September 2013 - December 2018


Participating Agencies

  • State Wildlife Grants Competitive Grant Program

The Gulf of Maine (GoM) coastal marine ecosystem is one of the most ecologically and economically productive ecosystems in the world.This coastal marine ecosystem currently faces threats on multiple levels, including climate change, wind energy development, and numerous competing uses of the system's natural resources. This study will collect data needed to inform these immediate management needs and increase our understanding of the GoM coastal marine ecosystem. We will conduct a multidisciplinary GoM coastal marine ecosystem survey, combined with focal research on life history parameters of target species, to acquire detailed measurements of the physical characteristics of the system and the distribution and abundance of organisms across all trophic levels. We will use these data to build habitat use models for SGCN in the coastal zone and calculate overall biological hotspot index values for locations throughout the coastal zone. This information will support spatial planning efforts and on-the-ground habitat management by delineating ecologically important areas. Detailed and repeatable measures of physical and biological factors within the coastal zone will also provide critical baseline data for monitoring and evaluating future changes to the region archived in open-source existing databases, to be used in long-term monitoring as well as for evaluating the effects of future changes.

Research Publications Publication Date
McKnight, A., E.J. Blomberg, G.H. Golet, D.B. Irons, C.S. Loftin, and S.T. McKinney. 2018. Experimental evidence of long-term breeding costs in a colonial seabird. Journal of Avian Biology, 49: 1-14. Article DOI:10.1111/jav.01779; Data DOI:10.5061/dryad.qb3q5f3. September 2018
McKnight, A., E.J. Blomberg, D.B. Irons, C.S. Loftin, and S.T. McKinney. 2019. Survival and recruitment dynamics of black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) at an Alaskan colony. Marine Ornithology 47:209-222. doi:10.5061/dryad.ch2740k October 2019
McKnight, A., D.B. Irons, C.S. Loftin, S.T. McKinney, and B.J. Olsen. 2020. Combined influence of intrinsic and environmental factors in shaping seabird productivity in a small pelagic gull, the Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 633:207-223. DOI: January 2020
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
McKnight, A. 2017. Population ecology of colonially breeding seabirds: How intrinsic processes,mediating influences, and individual heterogeneity affect population vital rates. Doctoral dissertation, University of Maine, Orono. 199 pp. May 2017