Spatial patterns in 4 aerial mappings of temperature and chlorophyll over Nantucket Shoals were analyzed using a variety of statistical techniques. The goal was to determine whether statistical methods could provide insight concerning phytoplankton dynamics on the Shoals. Statistical techniques included a covariance analysis of large scale trends and a spectral analysis of detrended data. Airborne remote sensors had provided the necessary synopticity in which to observe temporal variability on scales of 0.5–2 days. Maximum correlations between chlorophyll, temperature and depth occurred at nonzero lags, suggesting westward movement of water over the Shoals and a time lag in phytoplankton growth. Covariance patterns in data taken at the same time of day and phase of tide are notably similar. Power spectra of chlorophyll in 2 distinct regions of phytoplankton patches were different in shape. Horizontal variation in nutrients affecting growth rates on scales of 10–25 km could account for the differences.