Gulf of Maine Buoy System Awarded Grant to Continue Ocean Monitoring

Coastal, maritime and marine science communities, including researchers at the University of Maine, will benefit from federal funding of $2 million recently awarded to the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Observing Systems, known as NERACOOS.

The Gulf of Maine buoy array operated by the University of Maine Physical Oceanography Group under the direction of UMaine oceanographer Neal Pettigrew will receive $728,000 in funding. The grant is being awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and represents the second year of funding of a 5-year award.  The majority of the funding will be distributed among the NERACOOS operational/research partners to sustain the data collection and forecasting efforts of the program.

NERACOOS, a regional component of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), spans coastal waters from the Canadian Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to Long Island Sound.

The mission of NERACOOS is to provide those who use these waters with actionable information, including weather and ocean data to emergency managers who issue storm warnings, and to fishers and commercial shippers to determine if conditions are safe for passage. NERACOOS is also advancing efforts to use this data for ocean planning, water quality monitoring, harmful algal bloom predictions and warnings, and coastal flooding and erosion forecasting systems.

The funding for UMaine will support operations and maintenance of the Gulf of Maine buoy array (formerly GoMOOS), and to support coastal radar system operations that measure currents and enhance search and rescue. Pettigrew’s Physical Oceanography Group has been developing and operating real-time ocean observing systems that measure currents, salinity and temperature and multiple water depths in the Gulf of Maine since 1997.

“The buoys that Neal’s team runs provide critical information to a lot of people every day and the critical long-term record that has developed from the buoys becomes more valuable the longer it continues,” says NERACOOS spokesman Tom Shyka.

Other institutions that received awards from the NOAA grant are the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Nova Scotia, and the universities of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Dartmouth, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

For more information about NERACOOS go to

Contact: Neal Pettigrew, (207) 581-4384 or; Jessica Bloch, (207) 581-3777 or