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BayQuest — A Journey of Exploration

Teacher's Guide

Scripts of Activities and Video Transcripts

Please note: These transcripts are taken from conversations Alice Jane and Bob Lippson had with our staff. Some of the sentence constructions are not those found in formal writing or presentations; instead, they represent the actual words these noted experts said. If you use this page with students, you should make them aware of this.

Deep, Open Waters

Ever wonder . . . What makes the open waters unique?
What makes the open waters unique? Why is this area of the Bay different from all the other areas that we’ve been talking about? Well, first of all, it doesn’t have the richness of the diversity of plants and animals that we have seen in other habitats. First of all, the animals that live on the bottom cannot survive here because of the deep water. There’s not enough oxygen. They don’t get enough light. But what are the deep waters of the Bay important for? They are the passageways. This is where all of the fishes come in. This is where the crabs come in. You might look down and what do you see? You really don’t see very much. All you do is see water. You know that fish are there. But, you also know that there is plankton. We talked about plankton … all that wonderful little stuff that’s the food for the fish. Birds come here to feed on the fish. The big fish are feeding on the little fish.

Ever wonder . . . What do the open waters do for the rest of the Bay?
This is where the flushing of the Bay occurs. This is where all of that huge, huge volume of water comes in from the ocean. This is where all of the huge volumes of water coming down from the rivers gets mixed with the ocean waters, and, eventually, it goes out of the Bay. This is what keeps the Bay clean. If we did not have these deep ocean waters with these deep currents and this movement, our Bay would not be a very healthy place at all.

Ever wonder . . . What’s that smell?
When you’re on the water in a boat, it’s a wonderful thing to just listen. If it’s quiet waters, you hear just soft lapping on the sides of the boat. If you’re battling the waves, you’re going to hear the crash and the boom. The smell, it’s going to be a fresh, fresh smell. The winds come over that water, and it brings that nice, fresh smell that you’re going to enjoy when you’re out on the open water.

Ever wonder . . . How deep is the Bay?
If you took all of the depths of the water in all of the different places, and you measured them, you would come out to a Bay that’s generally, on average, only about 20 feet deep. That is not very deep at all. But, the channels are what create the deeper waters. The deepest point is about 176 feet, and then it goes on from there. So, even though we say the average is only 20 feet, there are many, many areas that 60 feet, 70 feet, one hundred feet.

Man creates deep water too, because [of] shipping channels. Man has to keep their ports active, and these big, big ocean-going ships, if they want to go up to Baltimore, they have to have a certain depth, which is required for them to pass up the Bay. And, so, in some ways, man is maintaining a certain amount of deep-water areas in the Chesapeake Bay.

Ever wonder . . . Are there sharks in the Bay?
You hear a lot about sharks in the ocean, and generally sharks are ocean creatures. But, there are a number of sharks that come into the Bay, and the unusual sharks, like the big ones, the ones that are always here are just small sandbar sharks. But, every once in a while, you’ll see in the newspaper, “20 foot shark has been seen in Baltimore Harbor.” That’s usually a bull shark. So, that’s always [a] very, very interesting story when one sees a shark. And then there’s the famous story of the manatee. When a manatee wandered from the tropical waters into the Bay and decided to spend the summer here, that was a very unusual incident.

Ever wonder . . . Are there any problems with the deep waters in the Bay?
The major environmental issues of deeper water is the fact that the oxygen is becoming very, very depleted. When you have depleted oxygen, you have less and less life. You have less habitat for fishes to survive in.

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