Chesapeake Bay Coastal Bays Rivers and Streams Watersheds
Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Macroalgae (Seaweeds)

Some of the 25 species of macroalgae that have been identified in the Coastal Bays such as Enteromorpha sp., Cladophora sp. and Chaetomorpha sp. have been shown to increase in abundance in response to increased nutrient loads. In some cases, these species can become the dominant primary producer (e.g. out-compete seagrasses). While macroalgae can provide refuge and food for juvenile fish and crabs, especially in areas that lack other habitat, some macroalgae blooms may be considered HABs because of their direct and indirect impacts to

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living resources through smothering seagrasses or severely depleting oxygen. Decomposing mats of the macroalgae that accumulate along the shorelines can also be an odorous nuisance to local residents. Macroalgae monitoring in the Coastal Bay’s region has been ongoing since 2001 to map the distribution and relative abundance of each species. 

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