Food Webs

Food Webs of the Delta, Suisun Bay, and Suisun Marsh: An Update on Current Understanding and Possibilities for Management

Larry Brown, Wim Kimmerer, Louise Conrad, Sarah Lesmeister, Anke Mueller-Solger

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Key points:

  • The landscape has changed markedly from historical conditions.
  • The food web is not spatially static; it varies regionally and across habitat types within regions.
  • New research indicates that interactions between habitat-specific food webs vary across the current landscape. For example, based on early work in the south Delta, the food web associated with submerged aquatic vegetation was thought to provide little support to species of concern; however, data from other regions of the estuary suggest that this conceptual model may not apply across the entire region.
  • Habitat restoration has been proposed as a method of re-establishing historic food web processes to support species of concern.
  • The only certainty is that food webs will continue to change in response to the changes in the physical environment and new species invasions.