Week 10 notes Barrier Islands and Coastal Bays Quiz

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23 Questions

What are the names of the two barrier islands along Maryland’s Atlantic coast?

Fenwick Island and Assateague Island

What is the approximate total area covered by the barrier islands?

14,300 acres

What makes coastal bays ideal for harbors and marine life?

They provide calmer waters than the open sea

What likely caused the formation of coastal bays such as Assawoman Bay and St. Martin River in Maryland?

Flooding of stream valleys of major drainage systems

What is eutrophication?

A process that occurs when excess nutrients enter water bodies, leading to large-scale algal blooms

What are the main sources of nutrients that lead to eutrophication?

Wastewater, runoff from developed areas and farms, and atmospheric deposition

What is the general benefit of algae in aquatic systems?

A food source for fish

What can excessive algal growth due to eutrophication lead to?

Harmful effects

What is the negative effect of hardened shorelines on submerged aquatic vegetation?

Reducing the size, density, and diversity of submerged aquatic vegetation

What natural phenomenon can lead to significant beach erosion?


What can hurricanes cause in coastal areas?


What is a consequence of rising sea levels due to global warming?

Submergence of environmentally valuable wetlands

How can sediment flowing into coastal bay waters be decreased?

Maintain vegetation

What is an effective method to reduce sediment flowing into coastal bay waters?

Sediment retention mechanisms

How does land use differ for Assateague Island compared to Fenwick Island?

Assateague Island is less developed and primarily used for conservation and recreation

What is the cause of brown tides in Maryland's coastal ecosystems?


What contributes to increased sedimentation in Maryland's bay waters?

Riprap and bulkheads

What is the purpose of channelization in Maryland's coastal areas?

To separate traffic flows from main traffic lanes

What is the impact of human activities on seagrass beds in Maryland's coastal ecosystems?

Decreasing due to pollution, dredging, and human activities

What is the purpose of wetlands in Maryland's coastal ecosystems?

To absorb and store floodwaters

What is the impact of hardening shorelines in Maryland's coastal areas?

Replacing natural shorelines with structures like bulkheads and riprap

What is the cause of declining populations of black skimmer, common tern, and royal tern in Maryland's coastal ecosystems?

Habitat loss and degradation

What is the impact of the northern tip of Assateague Island shifting 700 meters landward?

Due to natural and human-induced factors, including longshore currents and sand transport

Study Notes

Coastal Ecosystems of Maryland: Key Points

  • Brown tides, caused by eutrophication, can lead to algal blooms, blocking sunlight and causing fish deaths
  • The beach replenishment project in Ocean City involves dredging 764,000 cubic meters of sand every 4 years
  • Riprap and bulkheads contribute to increased sedimentation in bay waters
  • Overwash and washover fans occur during storm events, transporting sediment
  • Sand fencing and jetties are used to combat beach erosion
  • Hurricane protection dunes prevent water events from breaching the island
  • Channelization separates flows of traffic from main traffic lanes
  • Mosquito ditching is used to control mosquito breeding in wetlands
  • Wetlands act as natural sponges, absorbing and storing floodwaters
  • Seagrass beds are disappearing due to pollution, dredging, and human activities
  • Ponies and Sika Deer on Assateague Island are descendants of introduced animals and impact the island's ecosystem
  • Black skimmer, common tern, and royal tern populations are declining due to habitat loss and degradation
  • The northern tip of Assateague Island shifted 700 meters landward due to natural and human-induced factors, including longshore currents and sand transport. Nutrient and sediment runoff negatively impact Maryland's coastal bays, causing eutrophication and algal blooms. Hardening of shorelines refers to the use of structures like bulkheads and riprap to replace natural shorelines.

Test your knowledge of Maryland's coastal ecosystems with this quiz covering topics such as beach replenishment, sedimentation, storm events, erosion control, wetlands, seagrass beds, wildlife impact, and shoreline hardening. Learn about the unique challenges facing the coastal areas of Maryland and the efforts to preserve and protect these valuable ecosystems.

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