Pesticide and nutrient inputs from human activities are present in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta, but the impact of these stressors together on algae is not well known. This research will examine the impacts of herbicides and nutrients on the growth and stress responses of phytoplankton and cyanobacteria present in the San Francisco Estuary.
The algae in the delta are diverse with critical ecological effects, ranging from toxin-producing cyanobacteria that form hazardous algal blooms to benthic diatoms and green algae that make up the bulk of the aquatic food web. Contaminants and herbicides can cause changes in algae cellular health which may impact population growth. Understanding algal sub-lethal stress responses will improve our understanding of stressors on the bay-delta food web and bloom formation.