San Francisco Bay is a shallow estuary surrounded by a large population center. The forces that built it began with plate tectonics and involved the collision of the Pacific and North American plates and the subduction of the Juan de Fuka plate. Changes in the climate resulting from the last ice age yielded lower and then higher sea levels. Human activity influenced the Bay. Gold mining during the California gold rush sent masses of slit into the Bay. Humans have also built several major cities and filled significant parts of the Bay. This book describes the natural history and evolution of the SF Bay Area over the last 50 million years through the present and into the future.


Key selling features:

  • Summarizes a complex geological, geographical and ecological history
  • Reviews how the San Francisco Bay has changed and will likely change in the future
  • Examines the different roles and various drivers of Bay ecosystem function
  • Includes the role of humans - both first peoples and modern populations - on the Bay
  • Explores San Francisco Bay as an example of general bay ecolgical and environmental issues

chapter 1|5 pages

California Now and Then

chapter 2|16 pages

Geological Forces that Built the Bay

chapter 3|7 pages


chapter 4|8 pages

Geomorphology of the Bay Area

chapter 5|13 pages

Early Biology of the Bay

chapter 6|12 pages

Humans Arrive

chapter 7|32 pages

The Bay Today

chapter 8|37 pages

Biology of the Bay

chapter 9|17 pages

Restoring the Bay

chapter 10|17 pages

Future of the Bay