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A CALFED-supported study of the Delta’s foodweb base

January 1, 1999

Scientists from six universities and the US Geological Survey (USGS) have begun a new project to characterize the food resource which supports secondary production in different habitats of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The project is supported by CALFED Category III, USGS, and the IEP; it is designed to answer basic questions about the organic matter which supports biological production at the lowest trophic levels. We know, from the excellent long-term records of IEP agencies, that the abundance of zooplankton (especially native species) has declined dramatically in the past three decades. We do not understand the underlying mechanisms of these declines, but it is likely that they are the result of multiple, interacting stressors. One potential limitation of secondary production could be a sub-optimal food resource, manifested either as low quantity or poor nutritional quality of the available pools of organic matter. Some past studies support this possibility, especially for the case of benthic macroinvertebrates. The project was conceived to do the following:

  1. Identify the potential sources of organic matter (for example, phytoplankton, vascular plants, agricultural sources) in different habitats;
  2. Determine the relative food quality of each of these different sources for secondary producers, either directly or after microbial processing; and
  3. Assess the habitats and environmental conditions that provide the maximum food resources for secondary producers.
Publication Year 1999
Title A CALFED-supported study of the Delta’s foodweb base
Authors J. E. Cloern
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Interagency Ecological Program Newsletter
Index ID 70174699
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization San Francisco Bay-Delta; Pacific Regional Director's Office