Science activity

Science activity #49889, updated 29 April 2022

The Role of Microcystis Blooms in the Delta Foodweb: A Functional Approach

Description / purpose

We propose a collaborative investigation of blooms of the toxic, cyanobacteria Microcystis in the San Francisco Estuary Delta including how blooms develop, identification of toxic species and strains, controls on toxin production, and foodweb effects. The research will address Delta Science Program Priority Research Topic 2 and Research Topic 5 in the CALFED-funded analysis of ammonium issues in the Estuary. The appearance of Microcystis in the Delta was coincident with the POD, suggesting a link. The spatial and temporal scales of Microcystis blooms was identified with their environmental covariates but a mechanistic analysis of the conditions that distinguish bloom periods and locations, which are critical for ecosystem modeling and management, are still lacking. Our objectives are to determine: 1- the biotic and abiotic factors controlling Microcystis bloom formation and toxin production;2- how Microcystis strains and microbial associations influence toxicity;3- the role of Microcystis in the Delta pelagic food web and its effect on the POD through zooplankton grazing. Our 3-year work plan comprises 2 years of laboratory and field work (contrasting bloom and non bloom locations). Experiments will be conducted to determine mechanisms driving observed in situ patterns. We will synthesize the results and clarify the environmental-bloom-food web effects in a useable format for management efforts aimed towards water supply, fisheries and recreational use of the Delta.

Linked science activities

None specified


Activity status

  • 1 Awarded / Initiating (2011)
  • 2 In progress / Ongoing (2011 - 2014)
  • 3 Complete

Funding summary

Total allocated funding: $900,000

Label Value
Contract # or labor code 2044
Implementing organization San Francisco State University [SFSU]
Funding organization Delta Stewardship Council
Funding Source Delta Stewardship Council - General Fund
Date of award 2011-05-01
Date of fiscal year-end Not provided
Total award amount $900,000
State type of obligation Not provided
Federal type of obligation Not provided
Reimbursability Not provided
Procurement mechanism Contracted competitive or direct award


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