Frontiers for Young Minds

Frontiers for Young Minds

Where the river meets the ocean - Stories from San Francisco Estuary

Collection Editors

Theodore Flynn, Peggy Lehman, Pedro Morais, Frances Wilkerson



Submission Deadline


About this collection

What is an estuary? Where do they occur? How do they work? Who lives there? And why are estuaries important to our planet?

Estuaries are places where fresh water from rivers moving downstream from the mountains mixes with salty water moving upstream from the ocean. Estuaries thus contain both fresh and salty water habitats (places) where many kinds of plants and animals can live and grow. San Francisco Estuary is the largest estuary on the West Coast of the United States, and is home to millions of people, plants and animals. Our scientists have been studying all aspects of the San Francisco Estuary for nearly 50 years and we have lots of stories to tell of how people, plants, and animals use the estuary. We will tell you horror stories of how tiny poisonous plants and vampire fish kill other fish, and we have success stories of how conservation saves the lives of tiny mice in marshes and birds along the Pacific Flyway.

The Collection of stories is divided into four sections, so you can easily find the stories that interest you the most. The first section describes the many kinds of habitats in the estuary, including rivers, shallow bays, wetlands and marshes, and what makes them a good home for many plants and animals. In the second chapter, the water quality scientists will describe how they use boats, special instruments, new technology and engineering models to measure the speed and direction of the water and determine whether the water is healthy for people, plants, and animals.

In the third section we will tell stories about how plants and animals live in the estuary. Microbiologists will describe the tiny, microscopic plant and animals that live in the estuary, what makes them grow, and why they are sometimes poisonous to people and animals. Fish scientists will describe the many kinds of fish in the estuary and how we measure their growth, determine where they are, what they eat, and the ways they use both fresh and salt water habitats to grow and raise their young. In the fourth section, scientists will discuss how invasions from new plants and animals outside of the estuary have changed habitats and the survival of native plants and animals. This section will also share how we are using new technologies and management actions to control invasions of unwanted plants and animals, and to improve water quality to conserve and restore habitats in the estuary now and in the future with climate change.

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