Current and Past Research

California Oyster Restoration in the Face of Climate Change
Lead Scientists: Dr. Matt Ferner, Research Coordinator, San Francisco Bay NERR and Dr. Kerstin Wasson, Research Coordinator, Elkhorn Slough NERR in collaboration with other scientists from UC Davis and SERC
Researchers from San Francisco Bay and Elkhorn Slough NERRs, UC Davis, and Smithsonian developed a collaborative research project to study population dynamics of native oyster populations in both estuaries and develop tools to guide selection of future restoration sites. The research team measured water-quality parameters as well as oyster recruitment and growth at sites throughout both estuaries, and conducted laboratory experts to better understand native oysters’ tolerance to changing salinity and temperature. You can learn more about this project and download the final report at This project spurred long-term monitoring of water-quality and oyster recruitment and growth along the Marin County shoreline, including a citizen science monitoring program in cooperation with Redwood and Tamalpais High Schools.

How do Sacramento splittail use intertidal channels in Rush Ranch Open Space Preserve?
Lead Scientist: Denise De Carion, Graduate Student, Center for Watershed Sciences, University of California at Davis, Advisor: Dr. Peter Moyle
Dr. Peter Moyle and his research team from University of California at Davis have conducted trawl surveys near Rush Ranch as part of the Suisun Marsh Fish Study since 1980. Their long-term data suggest that Rush Ranch’s tidal marsh acts as a refuge for native fish, particularly young Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus). Graduate student Denise De Carion began a study of fish use of intertidal channels at Rush Ranch in 2013. She documents use of intertidal channels during Spring high tides by blocking the exit of an intertidal channel with a Fyke net and identifying, weighing, measuring, and releasing all fish captured in the net. She is also tagging young Sacramento splittail with transponders and recording movement of individual fish in and out of two interconnected tidal channels. De Carion’s research was highlighted for the public in Spring 2014 Vistas article and in a Research in the Reserve poster on display at Rush Ranch.

Mud on the Move: New Approaches to Sampling Suspended Sediment
Lead Scientist: Dr. Matt Ferner, Research Coordinator, San Francisco Bay NERR
“Mud on the Move” is testing methods for monitoring suspended sediment concentrations above the marsh surface at both China Camp and Rush Ranch, as well as in NERR sites in Mississippi and South Carolina. The project aims to develop a feasible and accurate monitoring protocol to collect data needed to improve accuracy of marsh sustainability models. You can learn more about this project at the NERRS Science Collaborative website:

Would you like your research highlighted on this website?

If you are scientist doing research within the Reserve, and would like to have a general summary of your research presented here, or would like a Research in the Reserve poster created for your project, please contact the Education Coordinator, Sarah Ferner at “daviess “at””.