California Research Explores Interaction Between Birds, Fish, and Flooded Rice Fields

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, are studying the impact of water birds and fish on flooded rice fields. Rice fields are flooded to degrade the rice straw so that the field can be replanted. This flooding creates important habitat for water birds and can provide habitat for fish, as well. Researchers are testing how much the birds prey on the fish and how much the presence of fish reduces greenhouse gas emissions caused by the decaying straw. If the research results are positive, rice producers could introduce fish to flooded fields to not only reduce methane emissions and improve industry sustainability, but also to provide an alternative revenue stream in the form of fish sales.