Algae is a key component in natural aquatic systems and a normally gentle member of the underwater community. However, excess nutrients that flow into major water bodies stimulate aggressive algal growth causing algae to morph into harmful algal blooms (HABs), which block natural light, reduce oxygen, and suffocate aquatic plants and animals. Severely oxygen-deprived waters transform into dead zones, devoid of living creatures. In the Chesapeake Bay, oxygen-deprived waters deplete wild oyster populations, game fish, Maryland’s famous blue crab, and other species. Chesapeake Bay Program, Learn the Issues––Nutrients, www.chesapeakebay.net/issues/nutrients/, (accessed Jan. 19, 2019). On average, the Chesapeake Bay dead zones measure 1.74 cubic miles (last 30 years). In the summer of 2018, 25 percent of the Bay volume was oxygen impaired. Chesapeake Bay Program, State of the Chesapeake––The Dead Zone www.chesapeakebay.net/state/dead_zone/ (accessed Jan. 19, 2019).
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