Biogeochemistry Group

Science Center Objects

The Biogeochemistry (BGC) Group uses an interdisciplinary approach to address surface water quality issues and food web dynamics throughout California, particularly in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay.

Study areas include:

  • Drivers of phytoplankton community composition and abundance and harmful algal bloom-related toxins
  • Long-term continuous monitoring of numerous water quality constituents, phytoplankton, phytoplankton community structure, dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen as well as other constituents important to aquatic systems
  • Changes in wastewater-derived nutrients and effects on phytoplankton community structure
  • Effects of flow and water residence time on nutrient cycling and phytoplankton
  • The impacts of invasive aquatic vegetation on water quality, water residence time, and native phytoplankton
  • Assessing the role of wetlands in the Delta with respect to such topics as mercury, nutrients, drinking water quality and phytoplankton production
  • Assessing the potential of tidal wetlands to mitigate land subsidence and sequester carbon
  • Supporting improved water quality management through development of new sensors, analyses and techniques such as direct residence time measurements, custom sensor technologies, wide-area high-speed mapping surveys, remote sensing calibration and validation and other related activities
Scientists Collect Water Quality Data

Biogeochemistry group scientists collect water quality data on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

The BGC Group specializes in the application of in-situ optical sensors that monitor short- and long-term water quality trends. These sensors measure a host of biogeochemical parameters and capture continuous temporal trends – including those that may go undetected through traditional discrete sampling. The BGC Group also employs novel high-resolution boat-based mapping surveys, conducting intensive sampling for a diverse variety of biogeochemical parameters throughout the Bay-Delta. 

These studies and data will help resource managers assess response to management actions and predict how the Bay-Delta will respond to future changes. The high frequency, real-time data can act as an early warning system for unanticipated, short-lived, or rapidly changing conditions, such as those due to spills, harmful algal blooms, and altered water-quality resulting from storms or levee breaches. The BGC group additionally specialize in the creation of novel data dissemination techniques in effort to ease open data acquisition, ultimately aiming to advance Bay-Delta science.

Additional Biogeochemistry Group staff include: