Three recent recipients of the Kulakow-Julian Graduate Student Fellowship will discuss their scientific projects in the Bypass.
Jennifer Harfmann, UC Davis Ph.D. student, will present “Terrestrial plant detritus as a food resource for zooplankton.” The detrital remains of terrestrial plants are a substantial source of organic matter to the San Francisco Bay-Delta, but the significance of this material to pelagic food webs remains largely unknown. Jennifer’s research shows that terrestrial plant detritus is consumed by zooplankton in the SFBD. Furthermore, this plant material can enhance their survival under certain conditions, indicating that terrestrial plant detritus can be a vital supplementary energy source for the lower aquatic food web and may help explain higher zooplankton populations in tidal wetlands.
Paige Mundy, UC Davis Ph.D. student, will discuss her research on “Glow with the flow: Utilizing a fluorescent bioassay to monitor contaminants in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area during an altered flow regime.” The goal of Paige’s study is to identify estrogenic compounds in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area before, during, and after a flow augmentation event. Utilizing the transgenic fish as a screening tool in combination with analytical chemistry, this project will serve to inform contaminant presence in a habitat that is vital for native fish species.
Miranda Tilcock, UC Davis Masters student, will present her research on “Within the Eyes of Fish: How fish eyes can identify floodplain use in juvenile Chinook salmon.” Previous research shows that juvenile salmon and other native fishes that gain access to floodplains like the Yolo Bypass grow faster than those that remain in the river. Yet, little is known about how floodplain rearing may contribute to greater in-river or early ocean survival. Miranda explores how isotopes can be used as habitat fingerprints to identify fish that use floodplains, so that we can better understand the long-term benefits floodplains provide for our native fish populations.
Flyway Nights is a monthly speaker series highlighting environmental issues, natural history of Northern California, and current research topics in conservation.