Learn about underwater bay grasses, also known as submerged aquatic vegetation or SAV. Bay grasses provide food and refuge for blue crabs, striped bass, and many other Bay organisms, but are under threat from cloudy waters and rising temperatures. For a more detailed look at SAV research and restoration activities, visit our SAV Program, the center of SAV science at VIMS.
- New study reveals biodiversity important at regional scales (Feb 2021) Findings from long-term, landscape-level analyses can help enhance conservation
- Survey indicates slight decline in underwater grass abundance (July 2019) Despite record-rainfall in 2018, underwater grass abundance remains strong
- Underwater grasses in Chesapeake Bay continue record growth (April 2018) Third straight year with record acreage capped by first-ever 100,000+ acre total
- Return of bay grasses is sentinel for Chesapeake Bay recovery (March 2018) National Academy of Sciences study shows that nutrient and stormwater reductions have improved Bay health
- Study: long-term eelgrass loss due to joint effects of shade, heat (Feb 2017) Analysis puts resulting economic losses at $1-2 billion in Chesapeake Bay alone
Advisory Service Reports
SAV Monitoring Annual Reports
- Historical analysis of SAV in the Potomac River and Analysis of Bay-wide Historic SAV to establish a New Acreage Goal. K. A. Moore, D. J. Wilcox, B. Anderson, T. A. Parham, and M. D. Naylor. Report to EPA Chesapeake Bay Program. April 2004.
- Analysis of Historical Distribution of SAV in the Eastern Shore Coastal Basins and Mid-Bay Island Complexes as Evidence of Historical Water Quality Conditions and a Restored Bay Ecosystem. K. A. Moore, D. J. Wilcox, B. Anderson, R. J. Orth. Report to EPA Chesapeake Bay Program. April 2003.
- Causes of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Declines in Tangier Sound, Chesapeake Bay. R. Orth, K. Moore, J. Fishman, D. Wilcox, L. Karrh, and T. Parham. Report to EPA Chesapeake Bay Program. December 2002.
- Analysis of historical distribution of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in the York and Rappahannock rivers as evidence of historical water quality conditions. K. A. Moore, D. J. Wilcox, B. Anderson, R. J. Orth. Report to EPA Chesapeake Bay Program. November 2001.
Five Most Recent Journal Articles
- Oreska, M. P. J., et al., 2021. Defining the Zostera marina (Eelgrass) Niche from Long-Term Success of Restored and Naturally Colonized Meadows: Implications for Seagrass Restoration. Estuaries and Coasts, 44 (2): 396-411. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-020-00881-3
- Murphy, C. E., et al., 2021. Habitat Primarily Structures Seagrass Epifaunal Communities: a Regional-Scale Assessment in the Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries and Coasts, 44 (2): 442-452. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-020-00864-4
- Marion, S. R., et al., 2021. Seed Burial Alleviates Wave Energy Constraints on Zostera marina (Eelgrass) Seedling Establishment at Restoration-Relevant Scales. Estuaries and Coasts, 44 (2): 352-366. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-020-00832-y
- Marion, S. R., et al., 2021. Correction to: Seed Burial Alleviates Wave Energy Constraints on Zostera marina (Eelgrass) Seedling Establishment at Restoration-Relevant Scales (Estuaries and Coasts, (2021), 44, 2, (352-366), 10.1007/s12237-020-00832-y). Estuaries and Coasts, 44 (2): 578. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-021-00897-3
- Longmire, K. S., et al., 2021. Saved by the shell: Oyster reefs can shield juvenile blue crabs Callinectes sapidus. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 672 163-173. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13781