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Shallow Waters

Along the Chesapeake Bay's shoreline is an area of incredible biological activity: the shallows. The Bay's shallow waters extend from the shore to about 10 feet deep.

Shallow waters are home to an incredible variety of animals, including worms, clams, crabs, fish, birds and turtles. Many small fish and invertebrates seek refuge from predators in the shallows. In turn, larger fish and birds hunt for prey there.

Bay grass beds are a critically important part of the shallows. Molting blue crabs and young fish, crabs and sharks hide from predators within bay grass beds. And several species of migratory waterfowl depend on bay grasses for food.

Shallow waters go through extreme environmental changes. In summer, the Bay's shallows become very warm and algae blooms can form. In winter, ice often covers the shallows, so many animals retreat to deeper waters.

Click on the images below to learn about some of the critters that live in the Chesapeake Bay's shallow waters.

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