Relating benthic microorganism communities and processes to nutrient variability in tidal wetlands

This study examined the benthic zone of tidal habitats in the San Francisco Estuary (SFE) in order to characterize this understudied part of the ecosystem. Microbial community composition was evaluated in relation to nutrient flux rates from the sediment across the SFE in June 2014. These values are some of the first of their kind and yield insight into the basic biology of the shallow water ecosystems in the SFE and how the benthos relates to overall biogeochemical functioning. Additionally, the benthic microalgae are key players in the carbon cycling of shallow systems of the SFE. Therefore an evaluation of the relative contribution of carbon fixation by these populations in comparison to water column microalgae was also conducted from February to October, 2015 in two historic marshes at China Camp, San Rafael, CA and Rush Ranch, Suisun City, CA, to better understand the overall role that single celled algae play in shallow tidal habitats of the SFE.