Microbes, such as bacteria and phytoplankton, have an important role in marine ecosystem responses to anthropogenic impacts, rhythmic weather patterns, and climate change. As the greatest biomass in the oceans, microbes influence biogeochemical processes and food webs. In streams and creeks, microbes can modify water quality by removing excess nutrients and degrade some contaminants.
One project assesses the relationship of microbes in the nearshore pelagic food web of the Salish Sea. Monthly data collected from over 75 sites (see map to right) between April and October included vertical profiles of physical features (e.g., temperature, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen), inorganic nutrient concentration, microbial community and abundance, and abundance of fish and jellyfish assemblages. This work conducted in collaboration with the Watershed Program.
Another project evaluates the microbes and macroinvertebrates of the hyporheic zone for evidence of stream restoration efforts in urban creeks such as Thornton Creek in Seattle. This work is conducted in collaboration with the Watershed Program, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and Seattle Public Utilities.