North Atlantic Regional Node of NaGISA (Natural Geography in Shore Areas)

Robin Rigby demonstrates how to lay out the quadrats
The late Dr. Robin Rigby, a NaGISA project leader, organizing quadrats prior to sampling with the NaGISA protocols at Outer Birch Island, Cobscook Bay. GOMA photo.
Project Summary:

NaGISA protocols have been implemented at three sites within the Gulf of Maine to document the present distribution and abundance of near shore algae and animals to both establish baseline data for ongoing biodiversity monitoring and to contribute to the global census of species living in near shore habitats around the world.


Inventorying and monitoring biodiversity are crucial tasks for identifying and clarifying changes in marine communities. NaGISA protocols are designed to produce baseline biodiversity data for long-term monitoring of ecosystem change and human impact worldwide.

  • Funded by: Natural Geography in Shore Areas (NaGISA)
Project Detail:

Throughout the world, eight regional offices coordinate efforts to monitor more than 128 sampling sites along the shores of 51 countries. Using simple protocols developed explicitly for global implementation, NaGISA members (researchers, managers, and students) are producing the world’s first global census of near shore habitats. In the Gulf of Maine region, members are also addressing local issues and research questions, such as how the species assemblages in Cobscook Bay have changed over the past 160 years. While three sites have been established thus far in the Gulf of Maine, project participants intend to expand the number of sites in future years.

The data collected during summer 2007 Gulf of Maine surveys may be found in the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS).


Simpson’s Island, Passamaquoddy Bay, summer 2007

Funded by: Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund

Assessing Intertidal Macroinvertebrate Communities of Cobscook Bay and the Maine Coast, USA (Outer Birch Island, Cobscook Bay), summer 2007 and 2008

  • Tom Trott, Suffolk University and Friedman Field Station

Funded by: History of the Near Shore Project, a collaboration between the Natural Geography in Shore Areas (NaGISA) and the History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP); and the Gulf of Maine Area Program

Temporal change in species diversity in a megatidal estuary (Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy, Canada)

  • Glenys Gibson, Acadia University
  • Anna Redden, Acadia Centre for Estuarine Research, Acadia University
  • Sherman Boates, Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources
  • J. Sherman Bleakney, Acadia University

Funded by: History of the Near Shore Project, a collaboration between the Natural Geography in Shore Areas (NaGISA) and the History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP)


Rigby, P.R., K. Iken and Y. Shirayama, eds. 2007. Sampling biodiversity in coastal communities: NaGISA protocols for seagrass and macroalgal habitats — a NaGISA handbook. Kyoto University Press in association with NUS Press. 145 pages.

More Information:

Natural Geography in Shore Areas (NaGISA) project

NaGISA Atlantic Ocean Regional Centre

History of the Near Shore project

History of Marine Animal Populations

The Cobscook Bay Journal