Bay Nettles and Lagoons: An Assessment of Water Quality in Berkeley Shores and Silver Bay, NJ

Abstract

Barnegat Bay has long been a service estuary for fisheries and recreation, but the increasing presence of Bay Nettles (Chrysaora chesapeakei) hinders both of these functions due to their ability to outcompete native species and their stinging nature. Bay Nettles are attracted to lagoons, where warm water temperatures, low dissolved oxygen, and low salinity provide ideal conditions for Bay Nettles to grow and reproduce. Additionally, the highly developed shoreline of Barnegat Bay’s lagoons provides structure for Bay Nettle polyps to attach and grow. In this study, water quality conditions were monitored in the lagoons of Berkeley Township, Silverton, and Lacey Township from 6/7/2021 to 8/2/2021 to determine where Bay Nettles are more likely to settle. Water quality parameters included water temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, turbidity, pH, chlorophyll-a, total suspended solids, and E. coli presence. This study also utilized HOBO pendant data loggers to continuously monitor water temperature at open and isolated lagoonal areas. Based on the low dissolved oxygen and low salinity recorded in Berkeley Shores, this region is more likely to harbor Bay Nettles than Silver Bay. Additionally, open lagoonal areas tend to be warmer than isolated lagoonal areas, so open lagoonal areas are more likely to provide habitat for Bay Nettles. Based on these results, residents of Berkeley Shores should continue to minimize Bay Nettle habitat by participating in bulkhead scrubbing and floating dock removal.

Contributors

Alexandra Sellitsch

Student Grant Awardee 2021

Bella Yedman

Student Grant Awardee 2021