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Document Type

Book Chapter


Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date


Book Title

Chesapeake Bay program technical studies: A synthesis


United States Environmental Protection Agency


Washington, D.C.


The initial focus of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) research in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) was evaluation of the structural and functional ecology of these communities. In the upper Bay, Myriophyllum spicatum and Potamogeton perfoliatus are the dominant species; the dominant species in the lower Bay are Zostera marina and Ruppia maritima. Studies centered on various aspects of productivity (both primary and secondary), trophic structure, and resource utilization by both ecologically and economically important species. Much of the initial research was descriptively oriented because of a general lack of information on Chesapeake Bay submerged plant communities. These investigations created the data base necessary for the development of ecologically realistic simulation models of the ecosystem. Following these initial studies, the research programs in both Maryland and Virginia evolved toward more· detailed analyses of specific factors ~hat potentially limit or control plant growth and productivity. Previous results indicated certain environmental parameters and biological processes that possibly limited and controlled SAV distribution and abundance. Specifically, these included light, nutrients, herbicides and fouling (epibiotic growth). Laboratory and field studies were devoted in the later phases of the CBP-SAV program toward investigating these interactions. This work is among the first studies in North America to investigate light quality as a major environmental factor affecting the survival of sea grasses.

Publication Statement

Part 4 - Chapter 4.

Light and Submerged Macrophyte Communities in Chesapeake Bay: A Scientific Summary