Warm Temps Stir Chesapeake Bay Wildlife | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Warm Temps Stir Chesapeake Bay Wildlife

Play associated audio
Scientists say last winter's warm temperatures have affected wildlife around the Chesapeake Bay.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/baltimoredave/4911543608/
Scientists say last winter's warm temperatures have affected wildlife around the Chesapeake Bay.

The cherry blossoms made an early appearance in the D.C. area this year due to last winter's record warm temperatures. But the blossoms aren't all that's been affected. The warm weather has also had an effect on the creatures and plant life living around the Chesapeake Bay.

"There's a couple of things that are clear right off the bat, one of them is for our blue crabs," says Lyn Fegley, with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. "Last year we lost a lot of our big crabs in Maryland because of cold water temperatures. This year, that won't happen."

In addition to more crabs, Pat Gilbert, with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, says so far algae are getting a head start, too.

"They're responding just like our spring plants on land," says Gilbert. "As temperatures warm, they start growing more rapidly."

It's unclear as to whether or not the growth in algae will mean a bigger dead zone--hypoxic or low-oxygen areas in the water--this summer because while it's been warmer, it's been drier, as well. That means fewer nutrients are washing into the Bay to feed algae.

Something else swimmers and other Bay visitors may notice is a rise in the sea nettle or jellyfish population.

"If things remain warm and dry, as we come into [the] May, June time frame, we would predict an early appearance of sea nettles and for their distribution to shift northward," says Raleigh Hood at Horn Point Laboratory.

These affects may even occur as far north as Baltimore. Other scientists say rockfish could spawn early, and birdwatchers say many bird species are arriving weeks before their usual schedule.

NPR

The Husband And Wife Power Couple Behind CBS's 'The Good Wife'

Robert and Michelle King, the real-life husband and wife team who created the show, say that when it came to creating the series' main character, it was a question of art imitating life.
NPR

Panera Is The Latest To Drop Artificial Ingredients From Its Food

Panera Bread says it's dropping artificial colors, preservatives and additives from many menu items. But while it says that includes artificial sweeteners, it's leaving sodas with them on the menu.
NPR

The Race Where Race Didn't Matter

The Staten Island prosecutor at the center of the investigation into the death of Eric Garner easily won election to Congress as a Republican. He replaces disgraced former Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.
NPR

Silicon Valley Remembers Dave Goldberg, Who Died Unexpectedly

The CEO of SurveyMonkey was known for his generosity toward colleagues and for supporting the career of his wife, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg. He died while vacationing with his family in Mexico.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.