San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) | November 7th, 2018
In support of PCB modeling for San Leandro Bay, a Priority Margin Unit (PMU) for PCB load reduction in the estuary, fish samples of four species (topsmelt, shiner perch,
In support of PCB modeling for San Leandro Bay, a Priority Margin Unit (PMU) for PCB load reduction in the estuary, fish samples of four species (topsmelt, shiner perch, white croaker, and northern anchovy ) were obtained in August 2016 for both tissue analysis and examination of gut contents. The bay was sampled at eight locations, with a repeated sampling at one location (Airport Lagoon) for one species (topsmelt). Fish were measured, weighed, and dissected, and their gut contents examined microscopically. Topsmelt (9 samples, 188 specimens) had the greatest variety of food items, with gammarid amphipods and chain diatoms predominating.
Some topsmelt, especially larger individuals, consumed macroalgae as a major dietary component. Two samples at two sites for shiner perch (20 fish each) had contents composed of close to 50% gammarids at both sites, but differed in proportions of bivalves and polychaetes among the important food items. The one sample of white croaker had consumed mostly gammarids, with fish and polychaetes ranking next in importance. A single sample of northern anchovy (20 fish analyzed) differed radically from the other species in consuming mainly a diatom that appears to have been filtered from the water column. Trace amounts of plastic fiber were seen in all species except shiner perch. All exposure to sediment appeared to have occurred in the top 2 cm of the sediment column, or as contact with flocculent material on plants or hard substrates, or even in the water column, as some fine sand grains were seen in all fish, even anchovy. There was no conclusive evidence of site-specific foraging (site fidelity). The best spatial coverage was for topsmelt, and these fish appear to have fed opportunistically, with some evidence for having fed outside San Leandro Bay.