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 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.
Scientists use a device called a Secchi disc to measure water clarity. A Secchi disc is a simple, black-and-white circle attached to a rope. The Secchi disc is lowered into the water until it disappears, then pulled up until it can just barely be seen. Scientists note the water line on the rope and measure the distance between the Secchi disc and the water line. The measurement is the water’s clarity: the depth that sunlight is able to penetrate through the water.
Scientists usually use an electronic dissolved oxygen meter to measure the amount of oxygen in the water.
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