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San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

Food-web Pathways of Bird Contamination in Bay Area Tidal Marshes

Organization: San Francisco Estuary Institute
2001, 2005 & 2007 Grant Recipient - Marin County

Purpose

It is difficult to restore or maintain a system when you do not know how that system works. This is a problem faced by land managers and scientists when planning conservation and restoration of tidal marshes in the Bay Area. Our knowledge of many aspects of the tidal marsh ecosystem is growing rapidly, but much of the ecology of the resident wildlife remains unknown.

This project tackles one important gap in our knowledge of how marsh plants and animals interact with one another in the food web. We focused particularly on the food webs leading up to top resident carnivores in the marsh -- Song Sparrows and fish. Top carnivores are the species most likely to accumulate contaminants present in their food and most likely to become threatened or endangered.

The goal of this project is to use stable-isotopes of carbon and nitrogen as chemical tracers to take a snap shot of the spring/summer tidal marsh food web. This information about feeding relationships will enable improved management of marshes to reduce contaminant flows through the food web into key wildlife species and will allow better assessment of the functioning of restored marshes.

NRPI Database Entry
http://www.ice.ucdavis.edu/nrpi/NRPIDescription.asp?ProjectPK=409

Documents

  • Preliminary report: The tidal marsh food web. Report to the San Francisco Bay Fund for the grant: Food web pathways of bird contamination in Bay Area tidal marshes, J. Letitia Grenier, Joshua N. Collins, Jay A. Davis, and Ben K. Greenfield. Spring 2002. (12 pps.)

Primary Contact for the Project
Dr. Joshua N. Collins
Senior Environmental Scientist
San Francisco Estuary Institute
Phone: (510) 746-7334
Email: Josh@sfei.org

Secondary Contact for the Project
J. Letitia Grenier
Email: LetitiaG@gmail.com

Quick Links

Project Photos

Aerial view of the tidal marsh study area at China Camp State Park in Marin County.

Aerial view of the tidal marsh study area at China Camp State Park in Marin County.

In the winter the marsh turns red as the pickleweed sequesters salt in the tips of the fleshy
stems which will soon fall off. This picture was taken during a very high tide. Tides like these
which cover the marsh plain may allow crossover between the tidal channel and marsh
plain components of the foodweb.

In the winter the marsh turns red as the pickleweed sequesters salt in the tips of the fleshy stems which will soon fall off. This picture was taken during a very high tide. Tides like these which cover the marsh plain may allow crossover between the tidal channel and marsh plain components of the foodweb.

Map of the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (SF Bay Reserve) which illustrates the location of the China Camp State Park in Marin County.

To study the food web in all marsh habitats, samples were taken from the marsh plain, the
natural levee along channels and the tidal channels. Anne-Sophie Bertrand, a volunteer
researcher from France, smiles despite getting stuck in the mud as she collects a
sediment core sample from a large tidal channel.

To study the food web in all marsh habitats, samples were taken from the marsh plain, the natural levee along channels and the tidal channels. Anne-Sophie Bertrand, a volunteer researcher from France, smiles despite getting stuck in the mud as she collects a sediment core sample from a large tidal channel.

Song Sparrows are an important species at the top of the foodweb, being one of the most
abundant resident vertebrate predators.

Song Sparrows are an important species at the top of the foodweb, being one of the most abundant resident vertebrate predators.

Last modified: 5/25/2012 11:31 AM by S. Haren

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