Ecological functions of tidal marsh for estuarine and migratory fishes in Suisun Marsh

Denise Colombano

Tidal marshes are productive nearshore ecosystems that provide food and refuge to juvenile fish, which is one reason that there is strong interest in restoring marsh ecosystems in the San Francisco Estuary. However, very little is known about what factors make a marsh a good fish nursery, in part because wetlands in the estuary have been widely developed and fragmented. Data from a long-term ecological monitoring program, the UC Davis Suisun Marsh Fish Study, demonstrate that nursery function is driven by habitat connectivity and complexity in this integrated habitat mosaic of marshes, ponds and uplands.