San Francisco Bay Estuary Priority Ecosystem Study
Phytoplankton populations in estuaries such as San Francisco Bay, California, are influenced by a host of local stresses that mask plankton responses to global climate change. The above bar graph shows the months that peak chlorophyll concentrations occurred in 116 coastal water bodies in the northern temperate zone. The distribution is surprisingly even from March through September, although, peaks occurred throughout the year. The distribution shows no characteristic single seasonal pattern, a large departure from the regular seasonal pattern of plants on land that is tightly tied to the annual climate cycle (The graph is a modified version of figure 4 from Cloern and Jassby, 2008).
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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.
Project Remediation/Restoration Related Activities
Meetings and Conferences
- Mercury cycling in agricultural and managed wetlands, Yolo Bypass, California--Spatial and seasonal variations in water quality: Alpers, C.N., Fleck, J.A., Marvin-DiPasquale, M., Stricker, C.A., Stephenson, M., and Taylor, H.E., 2014, Science of the Total Environment, v. 484, no. 1, p. 276-287, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.10.096.
- Toxicity and accumulation of silver nanoparticles during development of the marine polychaete Platynereis dumerilii: García-Alonso, J., Rodriguez-Sanchez, N., Misra, S.K., Valsami-Jones, E., Croteau, M.-N., Luoma, S.N., and Rainbow, P.S., 2014, Science of the Total Environment, v. 476-477, p. 688-695, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.01.039.
Additional USGS Information about San Francisco Bay
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