The Hobbs Lab wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!
Post by Dr. James Ervin, Compliance Manager for the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility
I joined UC Davis / Dr. Jim Hobbs fish monitoring survey on October 1st. I was on the Saturday run this time. As explained last month, monthly trawls are performed in Alviso Slough and Bay-side stations on Saturdays. On Sundays of the same weekend, the crew trawls the upstream half of Lower Coyote Creek. Saturday runs are always good for variety. The fish are fewer, but get bigger and weirder as you venture deeper into the Bay.
On this day, we launched from the public boat ramp at Alviso. This is what Alviso Slough looked like early in the morning. Can you see the gobs of white foam? Many people assume foam like this must be from detergent or some other form of pollution. Foam like this is quite common in sloughs of Lower South Bay. This is a result of billions of microbes cycling carbon. The microbes synthesize and lyse triglycerides, amino acids, proteins, etc. as they grow and die. This material becomes dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the water column. The least bit of turbulence as Bay tide rushes in and out builds up globs of waxy foam that can persist for hours.
Field work is supposed to be where ecologists get to play Indiana Jones. The reality with swing-dancing joke-cracking fish-loving UC Davis research scientist Jim Hobbs is somewhat different: wet, muddy, smelly, and mostly involving either waiting for leopard sharks or harvesting leopard shark vomit.
by Alessandra Bergamin on December 10, 2014