Diversity of the Eastern Shore

In the Fall of 2012, Clint Turbeville and the students of his Marine Invertebrate Diversity Class embarked on a study of the diversity of marine fouling communities of Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

The goal was to compare and contrast communities of marine invertebrates that grow on structures such as docks and pylons along the shore. These include sponges, sea squirts, bryozoans, anemones, and associated species. The group sampled at two sites: Cape Charles Harbor, on the Chesapeake Bay side of the Delmarva Peninsula, and at Oyster, on the Atlantic side.

The choice of the two sites offered a natural test of the effect of different salinities on fouling communities, with the Cape Charles site featuring the lesser salinities characteristic of the Chesapeake Bay, and the Oyster site featuring the saltier waters of the open Atlantic Ocean.