The Chesapeake Bay is an enormous estuary of the Atlantic Ocean and plays a crucial role in life here in the Mid-Atlantic States. I spent this weekend on its waters and was reminded often (the depth rarely goes over 20 feet) that it’s really a flooded river valley and is hence very vulnerable. As editor of The Biological Bulletin, I am struck by the incredible biological diversity of the Chesapeake Bay and the relationship between that diversity and the Bay’s overall health. Yet, many of the animals and plants of the Bay are facing increasing threats from, among other things, polluted water run-off, particularly from large scale agricultural operations, but also from a host of other activities, many of them anthropogenic.
Two contrasting visual memory images from this weekend: the first, a Cownose Ray breaking the surface of the Bay in the vicinity of Oxford Maryland. The second, an empty can of soda floating nearby.