Do you have a question about the Chesapeake Bay? Explore our list of frequently asked questions to learn more about the Bay and its watershed, habitats and wildlife. You can browse the FAQ by category, or explore the answers to some of our most common questions below.
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Phytoplankton cannot swim on their own. Tides and currents move these tiny, single-celled plants from place to place.
Phytoplankton populations in the Bay are an excellent indicator of nutrient pollution, as well as efforts to reduce pollution. Phytoplankton respond quickly to changes in nutrient levels, which gives researchers a good indication of the Bay’s health.
Plankton form the base of the Chesapeake Bay food web. All fish and shellfish depend on plankton for food during the early part of their lives, and some consume plankton their entire lives.
Zooplankton are free-floating animals. They are the most plentiful animals in the Bay and its rivers. Zooplankton are mostly microscopic, but can range in size from single-celled protozoa to large jellyfish. Zooplankton form a link between the phytoplankton community and larger species at higher levels in the food web.
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