Algae are simple plants that lack roots, stems, leaves and a vascular system. Like all other plants, algae go through photosynthesis and need sunlight to grow.
Some algae are phytoplankton: tiny, single-celled plants that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Other types are multi-cellular and grow in clumps or slimy mats. Some algae species can be confused with bay grasses because they look similar and grow in the same places.
Large algae blooms are often a sign of nutrient pollution in the water. Algae blooms are most common in spring and summer, when heavy rainstorms send more pollution into the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers.
Click on the images below to learn about some of the algae that grow in the Chesapeake Bay.