The ecology of the soft-bottom benthos of San Francisco Bay: a community profile
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Report 85(7.23)
- Frederic H. Nichols and Mario M. Pamatmat
This profile, part of a series of profiles concerning coastal habitats of the United States, is a detailed examination of the soft-bottom benthos of San Francisco Bay. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Game report (1979) entitled "Protection and Restoration of San Francisco Bay Fish and Wildlife Habitat" provides clear recognition of the importance of intertidal and subtidal soft-bottom habitats and their associated organisms to the bay's birds and fishes and to the overall functioning of the estuary. The purpose of this profile is to provide a description of the structure and functioning of the benthic community in San Francisco Bay (exclusive of its tidal marshes, which are discussed by M. Josselyn  in another profile). The habitats covered in this volume include all nonvegetated soft-bottom intertidal and subtidal areas of the bay between the Golden Gate and the mouths of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers to the northeast, and to the southern extremity of the bay.
The profile provides a reference to the scientific information concerning the animals and plants of the bay's benthic communities, their importance to the bay ecosystem, and their value as a resource measured in human terms. Because there have been few process-oriented studies of the benthos of San Francisco Bay (e.g., field and laboratory rate-measurement experiments), the material presented herein is largely descriptive. Nonetheless, we have described the processes that interconnect the various physical, chemical, and biological components of the benthic environment, and the important couplings between this environment and the water column above, with reference to research results from other estuaries where necessary. We consider the role of the benthic community as a food source for fish, aquatic birds, and humans; as a consumer or degrader of organic materials including wastes; as a recycler of minerals and nutrients; and as an accumulator of pollutants.
Additional publication details
- Publication type:
- Publication Subtype:
- Federal Government Series
- The ecology of the soft-bottom benthos of San Francisco Bay: a community profile
- Series title:
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Report
- Series number:
- Year Published:
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Publisher location:
- Slidell, LA
- Contributing office(s):
- National Wetlands Research Center
- xi, 73 p.
- United States
- San Francisco
- Other Geospatial:
- Sacramento River;San Francisco Bay;San Joaquin River