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Drastic weather patterns have led to rising of sea level causing submergence of wetlands in the estuary. This affects the wetland organisms that are not used to submerged ecosystems. The unpredictable weather patterns are likely to destabilize wetland habitat leading to extinction of some animal species. High variations in salinity as a result of increased rainfall, long periods of draught and unpredictable storm is also a factor that is likely to contribute to degradation of the ecosystem and extinction of animal species (Abel, 26).
Increased precipitation as a result of climate change has led to high sediment deposits in the bay, which bring in high quantities of nitrogen and phosphorous that are the limiting nutrients for the growth of algae and other aquatic organisms. Further more, overland flow from neighboring farms and towns leads to deposition of chemical contaminants in the water that leads to the death of aquatic organisms. High sedimentation has raised the water bed leading increased submergence of the land surrounding the bay (Cerco et al. 632).
Climate change has also led to temperature fluctuations and increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere creating conditions that are necessary for the growth of dinoflagellates, which are algae that are harmful to zooplankton and fish. Some of the fish feed directly on the algae while others ingest the harmful algae through feeding on the zooplankton that are higher on the food chain. Moreover, temperature fluctuations increase the possibility of hypoxia. This is a situation whereby dissolved oxygen levels fall below the minimum that is necessary to support animal life. Increased temperatures in the bay have favored warm water species thereby making it hard for the cold water species to survive (Boesch et al. 112).
Increased temperatures in the bay water have led to the decline of eelgrass which is a significant hideout of blue crabs in their post larval and molting
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“Climate Change and Its Effect on Animals in the Chesapeake Bay Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/english/1586056-climate-change-and-its-effect-on-animals-in-the-chesapeake-bay.
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