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Delta Science Fellows Program

The goal of the Delta Science Fellows Program is to bring together junior scientists with Delta agency scientists and senior research mentors to work collaboratively on data analysis and research projects relevant to Delta policy and management. Since 2003, the Delta Science Fellows Program has paired graduate students and postdoctoral researchers with Bay-Delta agency scientists and senior research mentors in order to address research priorities and pressing science questions of the Bay-Delta system. Including the Class of 2013, the Science Program has funded 68 Fellows projects, totaling over $9 million dollars. The goal of funding this research is to invest in knowledge that will advance the understanding of the complex environments and systems within the Bay-Delta to aid policymakers and managers, and to train the next generation of research scientists for water issues in California.


The Delta Science Program and California Sea Grant have teamed up once again to offer a combined total of twelve postdoctoral and graduate fellowships that address high priority research topics of importance to the Bay-Delta system:

  1. Assessing the effects of drought on the Delta
  2. Effectiveness and implications of habitat restoration actions
  3. Develop decision support tools for management of estuarine and migratory species
  4. Science supporting the enhancement and protection of the cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta


The 2015 Fellows Program

The Delta Science Program, in conjunction with the California Sea Grant, awarded twelve Fellowships to outstanding candidates to pursue research on a variety of topics relevant to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Fellowships were awarded based on the intellectual merit of the application and the expected contribution to the priority issues in implementing the Delta Plan:

  1. Provide a More Reliable Water Supply for California
  2. Protect, Restore and Enhance the Delta Ecosystem
  3. Protect and Enhance the Unique Cultural, Recreational, Natural Resources and Agricultural Values of the California Delta as an Evolving Place
  4. Improve Water Quality to Protect Human Health and Environment
  5. Reduce Risk to People, Property and State Interests in the Delta

Additional funding was provided by from the NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Science Center and the State and Federal Contractors Water Agency.


The 2015 Delta Science Fellowship awardees are:

Postdoctoral Fellows
Fellow Topic Lead Institution*      
Julie Hopper Will study the effectiveness of a water hyacinth weevil as a biological control agent of the invasive water hyacinth UC Berkeley      
Ivy Huang Will study sediment dynamics during (and after) the drought in the Delta UC Berkeley      
Joseph Smith Will synthesize the effect of drought on the distribution and movement of a non-native predator (striped bass) University of Washington      


Doctoral Students
Fellow Topic Lead Institution*      
Huajin (Jessica) Chen Will model pesticide fluxes in the Delta and exploring the effects of pesticide loadings on three insects introduced for invasive weed control UC Davis      
Brittany Davis Will study the impacts of multiple stressors, including climate change and salinity, on the physiological performance and predator-prey dynamics in native and non-native delta fishes UC Davis      
Denise DeCarion Will study the ecological functions of tidal marsh for estuarine and migratory fishes in the Suisun Marsh UC Davis      
Marissa Giroux Will study the effects of early hypersaline acclimation due to climate change on the toxicity of pyrethroid, an insecticide, in salmonids UC Davis      
Jennifer Harfmann Will investigate the effect of particulate organic carbon composition on zooplankton growth in tidal wetlands UC Davis      
Kyle Hemes Will conduct an assessment of annual greenhouse gas fluxes in drained and restored wetlands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, to determine the potential net benefit of wetland restoration UC Berkeley      
Megan Kelso Will explore the effects of drought and elevated nutrients on invasion by perennial pepperweed and implications for carbon storage in tidal wetlands UC Davis      
Sophie Taddeo Will develop a methodological framework to assess the effectiveness of previous restoration efforts to inform future restoration planning UC Berkeley      
Alison Whipple Will study spatio-temporal variation of floodplain habitat for restoration management UC Davis      


Previous Delta Science Fellows:

Coequal goals

The Delta Stewardship Council was created in legislation to achieve the state mandated coequal goals for the Delta. "'Coequal goals' means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place." (CA Water Code §85054)