San Francisco Bay is an ecologically rich estuary, significant for its large eelgrass beds, spawning areas for Pacific herring, and tens of thousands of wintering waterbirds and other wildlife. Herring is a significant food source for many species of marine wildlife, yet habitats such as eelgrass on which they depend are in decline. Without the eelgrass-herring ecosystem, tens of thousands of wintering and migrating birds would lose a vital energy source, which could jeopardize bird populations across the Pacific Flyway (a major north-south migration route along the Pacific Coast). Many species of waterbirds forage on and in eelgrass beds, including Brant Geese and Surf Scoters, underscoring the value of the eelgrass food web.
The purpose of this paper is to synthesize current research pertaining to the eelgrass, herring, and waterbird ecosystem in San Francisco Bay and propose conservation opportunities. Use the links below to download the paper, or a shorter overview document.
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