There are two main components to the sampling strategy adopted by the Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program (AZMP). One is the seasonal (one to three times per year) sampling to quantify the biological, chemical, and physical variability along several transects in these regions. The second is the higher frequency sampling that is done at the fixed stations to monitor the oceanic dynamics at a finer scale.
|A- Rimouski||1- TESL|
|B- Gyre Anticosti||2- TSI|
|C- Courant de Gaspé||3- TASO|
For the St. Lawrence ecosystem, scientists from IML have developed a sampling plan that includes seven transects with a total of 46 stations to cover the Gulf and estuary. This set of stations has been sampled two to three times a year since 1996 (usually in the spring and the fall), thus giving quasi-synoptic views of the oceanographic conditions in the St. Lawrence.
IML scientists also sample two fixed stations in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off shore of Ste-Marthe de Gaspé. The station nearest the coast is the Gaspé Current station; it is located about 4 km off the south shore of the St. Lawrence, in the middle of the Gaspé Current. This station gives information on the oceanographic conditions of the water leaving the St. Lawrence estuary. A second station, called the Anticosti Gyre, is located about 60 km from the Gaspé coast and was chosen to provide information on the oceanographic conditions of the more oceanic waters of the Gulf. Due to its location, this station is not influenced by water leaving the St. Lawrence estuary or by freshwater inputs from tributaries to the St. Lawrence.
These two stations have been sampled year-round since 1996 at frequencies from 12 to 20 times per year, depending on ship availability (ship time is most often furnished by Canadian Coast Guard "ships of opportunity.")
A third fixed station is the Rimouski station, located about 20 km off shore of Rimouski. This station has been sampled one a week between May and October since 1992. The data collected from this station can also serve to complete and validate to some degree the data collected at the Gaspé Current station. In the spring, these stations are also the mooring sites of a series of instrumented buoys that transmit oceanographic data in real-time until the fall.