Early Life History of Fishes in the San Francisco Estuary and Watershed

Sensitivity of Larval Fish Transport to Location, Timing, and Behavior Using a Particle Tracking Model in Suisun Marsh, California

Steven D. Culberson, Callie B. Harrison, Christopher Enright, and Matthew L. Nobriga

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569599.ch17

Abstract.—We used a coupled hydrodynamic-particle tracking model to assess the relative importance of factors affecting transport and entrainment risk for generalized fish larvae in Suisun Marsh in the San Francisco Estuary, California. Factors examined included location of particle release, time of particle release, vertical migration behavior, and combinations thereof. Model sensitivity was evaluated by observing particle entrainment into a water diversion in Suisun Marsh under various scenarios and compared to randomized input cases. Scenarios combining two or more factors indicated nonlinear interactions, including evidence of tidal pumping on neap tides near our test diversion. Our study suggests that accurate modeling of larval transport depends on accurate determination of fish locations, tidal and residual time scale circulation simulation, and fish behavior during early life stages. We also examined appropriate approaches to modeling these factors.