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Warming Temperatures Bring Different Animals to Maryland

A Salisbury man fishing for spotted sea trout Sept. 17 in the Chesapeake Bay pulled in a tall, silvery fish with a striking yellow underside. It turned out to be the largest Florida pompano recorded in the state. It was also a living indication of a warming climate. The Florida pompano is just one of multiple species of animals, largely fish and birds, that are appearing in the state more frequently at least partially as a result of climate change. Though these newcomers can increase biodiversity and generate excitement among residents and fishermen, scientists caution that they are also warning signs of a changing ecosystem. “It’s a sign that things are changing enough to cause shifts in distribution,” said Gwen Brewer, a science program manager with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife and Heritage Service. “We know not everything is going to adjust to those shifts in a positive way. Some species are going to be threatened by those changes.” Some notable animal sightings, like the manatee that wandered through the Bay in August, represent one individual rather than a trend. But the sheer numbers of others are hard to ignore. Maryland waters have seen a marked increase of fish associated with warm water […]

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