Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



The purpose of this Site Profile is to review the existing state of knowledge for important geological, physical, chemical and biological components of the York River ecosystem within which the four individual reserve sites of Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Virginia (CBNERRVA) are located. It is developed from a combination of literature and field research studies that provide an overall picture of the Reserve in terms of its ecosystem, management, and research needs. It is not designed to be a complete review of all the ecosystem components, but rather it is designed to provide, through a series of reviews, an overview of the York system to students, researchers, resource managers and the general public, and to provide a system context for the individual reserve sites located within the York River estuary. It starts first with an Introduction to the Reserve including its mission and objectives. Next the geological, physical and water quality setting of the individual reserve sites and the overall York River ecosystem are described. Scientific overviews of three important primary producer components and habitats within the region (phytoplankton, wetlands and submerged aquatic vegetation) are presented next. Secondary and higher trophic components (zooplankton, benthos, and fishes) are then reviewed, and finally the principal reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals that are associated with the local estuarine waters are described. This Site Profile concludes with a description of the Reserve’s ongoing research and monitoring programs, the Reserve goals and strategies, and an overview of research and monitoring needs for the future.


Table of Contents: -- Introduction to the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Virginia / W. Reay and K. Moore -- York River Geology / C. Hobbs -- York River Physical Oceanography and Sediment Transport / C. Friedrichs -- Water Quality within the York River Estuary / W. Reay -- York River Tidal Marshes / J. Perry and R. Atkinson -- Submerged Aquatic Vegetation of the York River / K. Moore -- Phytoplankton of the York River / H. Marshall -- Zooplankton of the York River / D. Steinberg and R. Condon -- Benthos of the York River / D. Gillett and L. Schaffner -- Fisheries of the York River System / A. Hewitt, J. Ellis, and M. Fabrizio -- Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals of the York River / J. Brown and S. Erdle -- CBNERRVA Research and Monitoring Program / K. Moore and W. Reay.



Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Virginia; Catlett Islands; Goodwin Islands; Taskinas Creek; Sweet Hall Marsh


Funds for the development of this Site Profile were provided by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Estuarine Reserves Division and The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), School of Marine Science, College of William and Mary



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