Chapter 3 Mystery
(web Links)

Narragansett Bay (Research Info)

Rhode Island Fishing Guide (Local Info)

The Bay & Climate Change (from EcoRI)

A Changing Bay (from Newport Harbor Guide)


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Changes in the Bay

Marine life in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay is changing. One clue to those changes comes from fishing boat captains who boast about catching bluefish in November, a month after those fish used to head south for winter. Catches of winter flounder, however, are not as plentiful as they once were. These changes in fish populations coincide with the disappearance of the annual spring increase in plant and animal growth. Researchers working in the bay, meanwhile, report puzzling changes in the activities of bacteria living in mud on the bay floor.

What's going on? Farms, towns, and cities surround the bay, but direct human influence on the bay has not changed much lately. So why are there so many changes to the bay's plant and animal populations? Could these changes be related to mud-dwelling bacteria? As you read the chapter, look for clues to help you analyze the flow of matter and energy through the plants, animals, and bacteria in Narragansett Bay. Then, solve the mystery.