When you look at San Francisco Bay, what animals do you see? You may see lots of fish swimming around and birds flying above. What you DON’T see is Potamocorbula, a little clam that has had a big impact. Many years ago, ships accidentally brought Potamocorbula into the Bay. Pretty soon, Potamocorbula spread out all over in large numbers! Clams pump water over their gills and eat small particles of food, like phytoplankton, that pass through with the water. Potamocorbula can pump water much faster than other clams that live in the Bay, and they can eat more than their share of phytoplankton. Sometimes Potamocorbula eats phytoplankton faster than phytoplankton can grow! What problems does that cause for other animals, like birds and fish, that also need phytoplankton? Does Potamocorbula’s invasion only have negative impacts? In this article, we dive to the bottom of the Bay to find some answers.
Book series publishing the chapter: https://kids.frontiersin.org/collection/13528/where-the-river-meets-the-ocean-stories-from-san-francisco-estuary