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  California Water Science Center

Lead Scientist for Data Integration and Synthesis Efforts Involving The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at The University of California at Santa Barbara and Scientists From Multiple Agencies

In the last several years (2002-2004), abundance indices calculated by the Interagency Ecological Program (IEP) have been at record lows for delta smelt Hypomesus transpacificus and age-0 striped bass Morone saxatilis and near-record lows for longfin smelt Spirinchus thaleichthys and threadfin shad Dorosoma petenense. While several of these declining species have shown evidence of long-term declines, there appears to have been a precipitous “step-change” to very low abundance by at least 2002-2004 even though flow conditions were moderate. Similar flow conditions have supported modest production of these species in the past. These changes are particularly important to managers because the delta smelt is a federal and state endangered species.

The USGS has been asked to serve as the lead organization to oversee an extensive effort by to a team of scientists convened through UCSBs National Center for Ecological Analysis for the express purposes of a) reviewing the existing agency program aimed at identifying the causal factors responsible for the pelagic organism decline, b) identifying areas of research not already included, c) prioritizing the existing and suggested components of the agency work plan. Larry Brown will serve as the primary conduit between the agency research program oversight team and the scientists on the NCEAS teams. In addition, Dr. Brown will serve as the lead scientist in a team of scientists tasked assessing available data and new data generated by new and ongoing research projects. This synthesis team will assess progress on particular priority issues and consider if the body of data supports (or not) existing hypotheses for the POD. This synthesis function is conceived as an ongoing activity that will continual revise conceptual models and hypotheses for the pelagic organism decline.

Project Chief: Larry Brown
Phone: 916-278-3000
Email: lrbrown@usgs.gov

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