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San Francisco Bay Estuary Priority Ecosystem Study

Slide about phytoplankton and invasive phytoplankton feeders.
One-celled plants, such as phytoplankton, are the base of the food web in San Francisco Bay. The ability to predict phytoplankton growth is key to assessing the impacts of invasive phytoplankton feeders, such as the Asain Clam, on San Francisco Bay's ecosystem.

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Diverse organic and inorganic contaminants that vary widely in their environmental behavior, sources, and toxicity enter the San Francisco Bay estuary. Toxic substances enter the estuary in agricultural and urban runoff and in discharges from municipal wastewater facilities and industries. The study focuses on the movement, fate, and effect of contaminants from a variety of agricultural, industrial, and urban sources, such as pesticides and toxic trace elements, and on the effects of the highly varying hydrologic conditions in river--estuarine environments. Scientists are developing an approach to characterize the distribution of contamination and the resulting ecological effects that will be applied in similar environments elsewhere.

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