Life Along the Delaware Bay

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-06-18
  • Publisher: Rutgers Univ Pr
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The Delaware Bay is the second largest (after the Chesapeake) and most diverse bay on the East Coast. It has a rich cultural history, has played an important role in the region's commerce and tourism, and has spectacular and vital natural resources. Birdwatchers gather along its shores to watch the spectacle of thousands of spawning horseshoe crabs, the dense flocks of migrant shorebirds, the fall hawk migration, and the huge migration of monarch butterflies. Life Along the Delaware Bayfocuses on the area as an ecosystem, the horseshoe crab as a keystone species within that system, and the crucial role that the bay plays in the migratory ecology of shorebirds. An overabundance of horseshoe crabs spawning on the Delaware Bay beaches results in an abundance of eggs brought to the surface, providing a source of high- quality food and bringing hundreds of thousands of shorebirds to the bay to forage in late May and early June. While the decline in horseshoe crabs, caused partly by overfishing, has not markedly harmed the horseshoe crab populations, the trend has resulted in a rapid and dramatic decline in birds, particularly the red knot. This decline has sounded an alarm throughout the world, prompting a host of biologists to converge on the bay each spring, to understand the biology and conservation of red knots and other shorebirds. Devoted to understanding the complex ecosystem of Delaware Bay, the book also integrates the historical context of local industries and ways of life. It examines current efforts to protect the bay and identifies new efforts that must take place to ensure it remains an intact ecological system. Three hundred stunning color photographs and maps capture the beauty and majesty of this unique treasure-one that must be protected today and for generations to come.

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