Presentation on theme: "Salton Sea Animal Biogeography Ginger Burns. History Accidentally created in 1905, the Salton Sea is now a stopover for millions of birds. Lower water."— Presentation transcript:
History Accidentally created in 1905, the Salton Sea is now a stopover for millions of birds. Lower water levels, and rising salinity and toxicity, threaten all life in the lake. The Salton Sea was created in 1905 when spring flooding breached an intake canal in Arizona, releasing water from the Colorado River into the Salton Sink. The resulting lake covered 500 square miles. People stocked the lake with fish and pile worms and, once the water supply from the Colorado was cut off again, water levels were maintained by runoff. With no outflow, the Salton Sea has become progressively saltier and levels of toxic chemicals and pesticides have risen. Now, California is drawing water from the lake to supply water thirsty communities, especially San Diego. The Salton Sea is shrinking.
History In spite of the lake’s problems, pile worms continue to do well, feeding off decaying organic material and algae. They, and the remaining fish, draw more than 400 species of birds every year. In 2005, National Geographic called it “one of the most important migratory bird habitats in the US, if not the world” (Bourne, Joel K. Salton Sea. February 2005). But the Salton Sea is dying. Shrinking water levels, high salinity, and high levels of toxins threaten the whole ecosystem. California is working toward a restoration plan, but will it be too little, too late?
SAMPLING THE BOTTOM-DWELLING ANIMALS OF THE SALTON SEA Benthic (bottom- dwelling) invertebrate animals form a major part of the diets of fish and many types of birds at the Salton Sea, and can be extremely numerous within different habitats. In fact, on submerged rocks, several thousand invertebrates can be collected from an area the size of a slice of bread!
Benthic invertebrate animals within three major habitats of the Salton Sea The offshore environment is sampled by boat using a Ponar grab.
The rocky shore-line is an important habitat for many benthic animals. Barnacle shell beaches also harbor a great abundance of animals
Animals of the offshore sediments. The pileworm Neanthes succinea, the most abundant animal in the Sea, and food for fish and birds. Streblospio benedicti. (small marine worm) S. benedicti (life size), 1/10 the size of the pileworm.
The amphipod Gammarus mucronatus The amphipod is very abundant in rocky areas: 3,183 were found within a 10 x 10 cm area in July! Unlike its relatives the common "beach hoppers" or sand fleas, Gammarus spends its entire life underwater. It is also an important food for fish and shorebirds foraging at the Sea
Balanus amphitrite Barnacle shells provide an important habitat for amphipods and Neanthes.
Corophium louisianum The amphipod Corophium louisianum lives in mud tubes attached to hard substrata, in empty barnacle shells, and in the silty mud
The pileworm Neanthes Most spawning occurred in March, when one 10-minute tow collected 286 worms! These would have provided a tasty meal for fish foraging that night.
Bitterns, Herons, and Egrets American Bittern, Least Bittern Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron Great Egret, Snowy Egret Tricolored Heron Reddish Egret, Cattle Egret, Green Heron Black-crowned Night-Heron
Ibises, Spoonbills and Storks White Ibis, White-faced Ibis Roseate Spoonbill Wood Stork
Birds in trouble Human activities created the Salton Sea as it currently exists, but human activities have destroyed natural habitats for migratory birds," says Pryde, who is an emeritus professor of geography at San Diego State University and chair of Audubon California's Salton Sea Task Force. "The sea is more crucial for these birds now than ever before--and more troubled."
Mammals of the Salton Sea All mammals listed are considered resident species with the exception of the bats which migrate on a seasonal basis like many of the birds.
Fish of the Salton Sea Fishes Very few fish can tolerate the high salinity of the Salton Sea. In 1950 attempts were made to introduce several marine fish. These attempts resulted in the largest inland fishery in California.
Introduced Saltwater Fish Species Orange Corvina Sargo Gulf Croaker Longjaw Mudsucker
Species of fish in the Salton Sea That are found in saltwater and freshwater Tilapia
Fish found in the Salton Sea that are endangered or threatened Desert Pupfish
Other Fish of the Salton Sea Threadfin Shad Sailfin Molly Mosquitofish Red Shiner California Killifish Largemouth Bass White Catfish, Channel Catfish Carp
Habitat o - open water - restricted to the open water of the Salton Sea and larger lakes in the Imperial Valley. b - beach and mudflat - basically the shore line of the Salton Sea, but expanded to include flooded fields and other such areas of shallow water and mud.
Habitats m - marshes - cattail marshes and other such areas found at various locations around the Salton Sea, along the rivers and canals, and at shallow lakes. f - farmland - agricultural land found extensively throughout the Imperial Valley south of the Salton Sea, including planted and unplanted fields alike.
Habitats - shrubland - mesquite thickets and other brushy areas. Some shrubland contains scattered trees. - riparian vegetation - limited to areas of salt cedar and willows along waterways, and at some points along the shore of the Salton Sea. - aerial - use limited to those strong flying species most often seen in the air.
Habitats h - houses and towns - immediate area of ranch houses and the residential areas of such towns as Niland and Calipatria. It is in these areas that most of the larger trees can be found and where ornamental planting supports a variety of landbirds.