Water signatures of the Sierra Nevada
In rivers and streams, conservation of freshwater biodiversity is challenging due to competing and often mutually exclusive uses from multiple stakeholders, and thus requires innovative, comprehensive techniques for effective resource evaluation and management. One potential methodology to evaluate changes in catchment hydrology is collection of water samples for analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) in conjunction with water quality and stable water isotope tracers (Oxygen-18 (δ18O) and Deuterium (δ2H)), to document seasonal changes in water chemistry and subsequent changes in the composition of sensitive and rare aquatic species. With limited time and resources, conservation management requires better methods to assess where sensitive species are distributed in river systems and how these distributions may shift under hydroclimatic change.
- Develop a methodology to assess biodiversity and distribution of aquatic species in rivers using recent advancements in DNA isolation and analysis
- Test the hypothesis that native aquatic species use water quality conditions to determine when snowmelt is receding and when instream habitat conditions are most appropriate for successful reproduction
We propose to establish a series of six sampling sites across two unregulated drainages in the northern Sierra Nevada (North Fork Yuba and North Fork American) to monitor water quality and biotic conditions during spring snowmelt.