The scientists spoke Monday as the Chesapeake Bay Program in Annapolis, Md., released its report on possible effects of climate change on the bay.
There could be an increase in coastal flooding, with submergence of wetlands, Penn State professor Raymond Najjar said. Warmer water could result in greater growth of harmful algae and a loss of underwater grasses, he said.
On the positive side, blue crabs may thrive in warmer water, he said.
The severity of the problem depends on how much carbon dioxide emissions are reduced, but some impact is likely from greenhouse gases already in the air, Najjar said.