Chesapeake Bay Food Chain Analysis

Topics: Chesapeake Bay, Phytoplankton, Water pollution, Eutrophication, Sewage treatment / Pages: 5 (1044 words) / Published: Oct 20th, 2016
Every environment has a food chain group within the ecosystem. The Chesapeake Bay’s food chain begins with the growth of bay grasses and algae, the most critical part of the food chain. Not only does the bay grasses and algae have a part but everything living within the bay play a role in the food chain, whether it be the zooplankton, oysters, or small and big fish. If there were to be a decrease in any part of the food chain, it will have a major effect on all other members in the food chain including humans. The cause of a decline in the food chain could be from many sources such excess nutrients that cause algae populations to grow rapidly, or "bloom" and reduction in sunlight (Nutrient Pollution). The way to fix these problems include, …show more content…
The food chain starts with the underwater grasses on the bottom and algae. Underwater grasses, also known as submerged aquatic vegetation or SAV, are plants that grow in the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its streams, creeks and rivers (Bay Grasses). These underwater grasses are important because they feed the smaller organisms that in turn feed the rest of the food chain. Going up, the Zooplankton are free floating organisms that generally can not swim so they flow with the tides and currents (Plankton). Plankton are not the only source on the low end of the food chain, the oysters are next. The Eastern Oyster is one of the most iconic species in the Chesapeake Bay. For more than a century, oysters have made up one of the region’s most valuable commercial fisheries, and the filter-feeder continues to clean our waters and offer food and habitat to other animals. But overharvesting, disease and habitat loss have led to a severe drop in oyster populations (Oysters). These Eastern Oysters have a positive impact on the environment in the Chesapeake Bay. Oysters are filter feeders, consuming phytoplankton and improving water quality while they filter their food from the water (Oyster Reefs). The top of the food chain consists of small and big fish. Approximately 350 species of fish live in the Chesapeake Bay. Some fish are year-round …show more content…
Hypoxic zones can occur naturally, but scientists are concerned about the areas created or enhanced by human activity. There are many physical, chemical, and biological factors that combine to create dead zones, but nutrient pollution is the primary cause of those zones created by humans. Excess nutrients that run off land or are piped as wastewater into rivers and coasts can stimulate an overgrowth of algae, which then sinks and decomposes in the water. The decomposition process consumes oxygen and depletes the supply available to healthy marine life (What is a dead zone?). Since these dead zones are becoming more popular, the animal life is becoming less suitable for more areas. When a dead zone occurs the fish that swim into the arewa get stuck and eventually die from lack of oxygen. Overall, the Bay has lost 98 percent of its oysters, about 80 percent of grasses. Looking at the pictures of dead zones there is a clear view of how terrible this disease is to the ecosystem. The whole bottom of the bay is clear of any living organism. In the Chesapeake Bay and many other areas the dead zones are formed by nutrients from agriculture and urban development within the Bay’s watershed, or the area of land that drains into a body of water, are washed into the Bay in excess quantities. These excess nutrients

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Chesapeake Bay
  • The Algae Problem In The Chesapeake Bay
  • Rainwater Pollution In The Chesapeake Bay
  • Chesapeake Bay vs. Massachusetts Bay Colonies
  • Chesapeake vs. Mass Bay
  • Native Americans of Chesapeake Bay
  • Compare Massachusetts Bay and Chesapeake
  • Chesapeake Bay Buffer Zone
  • Global Issue: The Chesapeake Bay
  • Chesapeake Bay Watershed Research Paper