The effect of particulate organic carbon composition on zooplankton growth in tidal wetlands of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Start/End: April, 2016 to April, 2018

With extensive plans for restoration in the Delta (30,000 acres), there is a great need to understand how various types of restoration will impact lower food web dynamics, which are intimately linked with the forms and amounts of carbon that will result. The degree of water turbulence may affect the available particulate organic matter (POC) to organisms, which may in turn affect zooplankton abundance.

Using samples from areas of high and low turbulence at Liberty Island, this project will:

  • Test the hypothesis that turbulence dictates bioavailable POC loading in the Delta by characterizing spatial and temporal variation in POC sources in wetland systems in the Delta.
  • Test the hypothesis that POC composition affects deltaic zooplankton growth by determining zooplankton abundance in environments with POC of differing chemical content.

The results will inform state and federal agencies and the Delta Conservancy on the implementation of habitat restoration projects that support the lower food web.