ABC 6 Special Report: What's in the Water? - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

ABC 6 Special Report: What's in the Water?

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By Chelsea Priest
cpriest@abc6.com

We've seen bugs, jelly fish, man of wars and even sharks in local waters: things that may make you think twice before running in the ocean this summer. But is there anything dangerous out in our bay?

It's easy to see what's above the ocean, but when you dip below the water things become a bit more mirky.

If you spent time at the beach last year chances are, you came across these little isopods, tiny bugs that pinched you while swimming and there are many more creatures in Narragansett Bay.

Tthroughout the years we've seen lots of crazy stuff come through here. Some of it's stuff that lives here all the time, and some of them might show up every few years.

At the Save The Bay Exploration Center in Newport, every single species in the aquarium was caught in the bay, even the ocean pout and  monkfish.

They actually have these giant jaws with very sharp teeth and they come and scoop it up and eat it. they've even found ones with whole car tires in their stomach, they get huge.

And creepiest of all: the sea lamprey. It's a parsite that suctions on and drills into a fish, then drinks it's blood.

So there's obviously lots of creatures out in the bay but the question is, is there a way to forecast or predict which ones will show up this summer?

Professor Candace Oviatt teaches classes on Narragansett Bay at the URI graduate School of Cceanography.

"I can tell you, there's never an average year in Narragansett Bay because everything is here and it's all sitting out there poised to bloom and it doesn't have that chance until conditions are perfect," she said.

"Like last years isopods. In other years we've seen a large bloom of jelly fish and different tides that come in."

It's tough to say what will have a large population any given year, but weather plays a big role.

If it's a rainy summer we have a lot more low oxygen events than if we have a windy dry summer because the water column mixes.

So the very, very cold winter we had is already bringing changes including different types of diatoms which is a bloom of algae.

"We'll see what happens this year...i'm sure something will happen," she said.

And of course there are sharks. Great whites have been showing up at Cape Cod beaches for years, but in Narragansett Bay, the only sharks you typically find are dogfish sharks and they are absoluetly harmless.

Sso while you might think twice, experts agree there's not much danger in swimming at our beaches.

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