Photo by Amber Manfree.
The cumulative impacts of climate-driven stressors on salt marshes reveal the urgent need to identify nature-based solutions, in order to maintain economically and ecologically valuable fisheries worldwide. So argue a global network of salt marsh scientists who have come together to synthesize the current state of knowledge and identify research gaps for future studies.
Denise Colombano, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, recently co-authored two publications on salt marshes and climate-driven stressors. The first was a letter in Science titled “Fisheries rely on threatened salt marshes,” and the second publication—on which Colombano was lead author—was titled “Climate change implications for tidal marshes and food web linkages to estuarine and coastal nekton” and appeared in the journal Estuaries and Coasts.
Working in the Ruhi Lab and Carlson Lab, and in collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Colombano now studies climate change impacts on fish communities in the San Francisco Estuary. She is a recipient of the Delta Science Postdoctoral Fellowship administered by the Delta Stewardship Council and California Sea Grant. Having grown up in Berkeley, Colombano is particularly committed to studying nature-based solutions to climate change in the area.
Using long-term estuarine monitoring data, Colombano builds Multivariate Autoregressive State Space (MARSS) models to quantify the effects of hydroclimate such as flow, temperature, and salinity on marine and freshwater fishes that use the estuary. Her results will inform native fish conservation, habitat restoration, and water management operations.