Postdoctoral scholars support adaptive management of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Caitlin Scully

This spring, California Sea Grant and the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB) welcomed two new postdoctoral scholars, Kristine Grace Cabugao and Lillian McCormick. Cabugao and McCormick will support the Delta ISB with its legislative mandate to provide oversight of the scientific research, monitoring, and assessment programs that inform adaptive management of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Delta is part of the largest estuarine ecosystem on the west coast of North America and is the hub of California’s extensive water supply system.

During their tenure, postdoctoral scholars Cabugao and McCormick will work with the Delta ISB to conduct literature reviews, draft preliminary reports and syntheses, provide briefings on relevant Delta topics, and more. The Delta region is diverse in its habitats and uses, and there are many potential topics for the postdoctoral scholars to focus on, including harmful algal blooms, food webs, restoration, climate change, subsidence reversal, and ecosystem forecasting. 

“I am incredibly excited for this opportunity to combine my passion for climate change science, conservation and justice, and climate policy,” said McCormick. “Working with California Sea Grant and the Delta Independent Science Board will allow me to research some of the hardest challenges in California with an interdisciplinary, collaborative team, which will be exciting, daunting, and rewarding at the same time.” 

The postdoctoral scholars will explore the science conducted in the Delta and in other similar regions. They also have the opportunity to interact with and communicate science to the many stakeholders in the region. Cabugao and McCormick’s work will help provide the framework for the Delta ISB to develop findings and recommendations that inform future management of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 

“One of the aspects I am most excited about is getting the chance to work more closely with community partners,” said Cabugao. “I think it’s really interesting to hear from stakeholders when it comes to the environmental issues that I am researching and I look forward to learning how to integrate these interactions into the work that I do with the Delta Independent Science Board.” 

Cabugao and McCormick may also conduct independent research with mentorship from the experts on the Delta ISB leadership team.