Effects of drought and elevated nutrients on invasion by Lepidium latifolium and implications for carbon storage in tidal wetlands of the San Francisco Bay-Delta

Start/End: April, 2016 to March, 2018

The Delta ecosystem is under threat from multiple concurrent stressors, including drought, nutrient pollution, and invasion by non-native species. Lepidium latifolium is an invasive perennial plant that displaces native species and may reduce carbon storage in tidal marshes. Preliminary data suggest that drought may be detrimental to L. latifolium invasion, whereas elevated nutrients may promote invasion.

Using experimental manipulation of tidal marsh plots, this project will test the impact of drought and elevated nutrients on the invasion of L. latifolium. The results will inform management of L. latifolium in the Bay Delta by identifying its vulnerabilities to climatic and nutrient conditions, and will be shared with management agencies including East Bay Regional Parks, San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and Palo Alto Baylands, among others. The results will also be integrated with the PI’s dissertation research on the carbon storage capacity of L. latifolium, in order to inform wetland carbon offset policies.