We investigated the effects on the reservoir food web of a new temperature control device (TCD) on the dam at Shasta Lake, California. We followed a linked modeling approach that used a specialized reservoir water quality model to forecast operation-induced changes in phytoplankton production. A food web–energy transfer model was also applied to propagate predicted changes in phytoplankton up through the food web to the predators and sport fishes of interest. The food web–energy transfer model employed a 10% trophic transfer efficiency through a food web that was mapped using carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis. Stable isotope analysis provided an efficient and comprehensive means of estimating the structure of the reservoir's food web with minimal sampling and background data. We used an optimization procedure to estimate the diet proportions of all food web components simultaneously from their isotopic signatures. Some consumers were estimated to be much more sensitive than others to perturbations to phytoplankton supply. The linked modeling approach demonstrated that interdisciplinary efforts enhance the value of information obtained from studies of managed ecosystems. The approach exploited the strengths of engineering and ecological modeling methods to address concerns that neither of the models could have addressed alone: (a) the water quality model could not have addressed quantitatively the possible impacts to fish, and (b) the food web model could not have examined how phytoplankton availability might change due to reservoir operations.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Assessing ecosystem effects of reservoir operations using food web-energy transfer and water quality models|
|Contributing office(s)||Fort Collins Science Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|