Effects of Freshwater Flow and Population Connectivity on Benthic Community Dynamics in the San Francisco Estuary

Start/End: May, 2009 to March, 2012

Heavy rains last winter and spring caused mass die-offs of some of the largest populations of native Olympia oysters in the northern part of the San Francisco Estuary. The fellow and colleagues are now tracking the recovery of these and other beds bimonthly. This work includes documenting the abundances and sizes of oysters at each of the 12 survey sites. Findings to date show that the areas in which there are typically the largest oyster populations are not self-recruiting. Researchers plan to use trace-elemental fingerprinting to identify the source populations and their dispersion patterns.