shallow water
...key features of Virginia's bays and estuaries
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Welcome to the Shallow Water Habitat Website

Just beyond the beaches and shorelines of our estuaries and bays, in shallow waters and mostly hidden from sight, are diverse and important underwater habitats.  Highly productive communities of microbes, plants, invertebrates, crabs, fish and birds flourish in these waters, in part because sunlight reaches the bottom. The environments can be very dynamic due to factors such as seasonal temperature changes and storms. Positioned at the edge of land and sea, these shallow water habitats are increasingly in areas of high human activity. 

This website is designed for those who are interested in learning more about the shallow water habitats, communities and ecosystems of Virginia’s estuaries and bays.  You will also find information on human effects, such as pollution and eutrophication, and management issues.  There is a brief introduction to the methods used by ecologists and coastal oceanographers to study shallow water habitats. Each section includes a list of references and websites that may be of further interest. Please use the navigation bar to the left or links in the text to find additional information on a given topic.

Current Featured Research Project

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Department of Biological Sciences | School of Marine Science | Virginia Institute of Marine Science | The College of William and Mary | Gloucester Point, VA 23062