Twelve Early-Career Scientists Named Delta Science Fellows

Awards honor young researchers studying Sacramento Bay-Delta issues
Caitlin Coomber

California Sea Grant is pleased to announce the selection of 12 outstanding doctoral graduate students and postdoctoral researchers as recipients of the 2016 Delta Science Fellowship. Awarded periodically by the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Science Program and administered by California Sea Grant, the fellowship partners junior scientists with academic and community mentors to work on collaborative data analysis and research projects applicable to the California Bay-Delta system.

“Getting early-career support can be pivotal for the success of a young scientist,” said Cliff Dahm, Lead Scientist of the Delta Science Program. “The Delta Science Fellowship Program allows us to invest in the next generation of researchers studying water issues in the California Delta, while advancing our overall understanding of the complex Bay-Delta ecosystem. This scientific research aids the goals of the Delta Stewardship Council and informs policy-makers and managers concerned with the long-term health and vitality of the Delta.”

Drawn from five colleges and universities in California and Washington state, the 2016 Delta Science Fellows represent a diverse variety of research interests.

California Sea Grant administers the fellowship program on behalf of the Delta Science Program. With additional financial commitment from funding partners, NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Science Center and State and Federal Contractors Water Agency (SFCWA), 12 candidates were selected, making up the largest class of Delta Science Fellows ever awarded.

The 2016 Delta Science Fellowship awardees are:

  • Huajin (Jessica) Chen, a UC Davis doctoral student modeling pesticide fluxes in the Delta and exploring the effects of pesticide loadings on three insects introduced for invasive weed control
  • Brittany Davis, a UC Davis doctoral student studying the impacts of multiple stressors, including climate change and salinity, on the physiological performance and predator-prey dynamics in native and non-native delta fishes
  • Denise (DeCarion) Colombano, a UC Davis doctoral student studying the ecological functions of tidal marsh for estuarine and migratory fishes in the Suisun Marsh
  • Marissa Giroux,* a UC Riverside doctoral student who will study the effects of early hypersaline acclimation due to climate change on the toxicity of pyrethroid, an insecticide, in salmonids
  • Jennifer Harfmann, a UC Davis doctoral student investigating the effect of particulate organic carbon composition on zooplankton growth in tidal wetlands
  • Kyle Hemes, a UC Berkeley doctoral student conducting an assessment of annual greenhouse gas fluxes in drained and restored wetlands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, to determine the potential net benefit of wetland restoration
  • Julie Hopper, a UC Berkeley postdoctoral researcher who will study the effectiveness of a water hyacinth weevil as a biological control agent of the invasive water hyacinth
  • Ivy Huang, a Stanford University postdoctoral researcher studying sediment dynamics during (and after) the drought in the Delta
  • Megan Kelso, a UC Davis doctoral student exploring the effects of drought and elevated nutrients on invasion by perennial pepperweed and implications for carbon storage in tidal wetlands
  • Joseph Smith,** a postdoctoral researcher from the University of Washington who will synthesize the effect of drought on the distribution and movement of a non-native predator (striped bass)
  • Sophie Taddeo, a UC Berkeley doctoral student developing a methodological framework to assess the effectiveness of previous restoration efforts to inform future restoration planning
  • Alison Whipple, a UC Davis doctoral student studying spatio-temporal variation of floodplain habitat for restoration management

*Funded by the State and Federal Contractors Water Agency (SFCWA)
**Jointly funded by the Delta Science Program and NOAA NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center


About the Delta Stewardship Council

The Delta Stewardship Council was created in legislation to achieve the state mandated coequal goals for the Delta. "'Coequal goals' means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place." (CA Water Code §85054)

About the Delta Science Program

The Delta Science Program was established to develop scientific information and synthesis for the state of scientific knowledge on issues critical for managing the Bay-Delta system. That body of knowledge must be unbiased, relevant, authoritative, integrated across state and federal agencies, and communicated to Bay-Delta decision-makers, agency managers, stakeholders, the scientific community, and the public. The Lead Scientist is responsible for leading, overseeing, and guiding the Science Program.