AB 21:205-219 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00589

Zooplankton of tidal marsh channels in relation to environmental variables in the upper San Francisco Estuary

Stephen M. Bollens1,*, Joanne K. Breckenridge1, Jeffery R. Cordell2, Charles A. Simenstad2, Olga Kalata1,2

1School of the Environment, Washington State University, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue, Vancouver, WA 98686-9600, USA
2School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98105, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Zooplankton are important trophic intermediaries between aquatic primary producers and higher level consumers such as fish, but to date they have been little studied in intertidal marshes. This is particularly true in the San Francisco Estuary (SFE), which is heavily impacted by human activities and is being targeted for restoration of its native wetland communities. As part of a multi-year field study investigating wetland dynamics in the upper SFE, we conducted approximately quarterly sampling of the mesozooplankton (>73 µm) at 3 channels in each of 6 marshes. Here, we describe seasonal and regional variation in the composition and abundance of zooplankton, and relate these to variations in environmental conditions. Cluster analysis identified 6 different marsh zooplankton communities. The 66 taxa identified included both native and non-indigenous species (NIS), with NIS being particularly dominant in the summer and autumn. Ordination analyses indicated that salinity, temperature, and other freshwater-related variables such as freshwater flow and distance to the coastal ocean were the strongest environmental drivers of marsh zooplankton community composition and individual abundance. Zooplankton communities in intertidal marshes were similar to those of open water habitats of the SFE in many regards, although differences in some taxa were observed, e.g. higher abundances of the copepod Eurytemora affinis and lower abundances of tintinnid ciliates in the marshes. Apparent differences in zooplankton between intertidal marsh and open water habitats, and between different regions of the estuary, could have important implications for young fish and other consumers.

KEY WORDS: San Francisco Estuary · Non-indigenous species · Invasive copepods · Native species · Plankton

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Cite this article as: Bollens SM, Breckenridge JK, Cordell JR, Simenstad CA, Kalata O (2014) Zooplankton of tidal marsh channels in relation to environmental variables in the upper San Francisco Estuary. Aquat Biol 21:205-219. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00589

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