Science news and reports: Bass in the Delta, life cycle monitoring, climate change, invasive species, dust, and homicidal fish on Prozac … !

Climate change flowchart

Bass in the Delta: The Delta has been named one of the top 10 fishing spots for the nonnative black bass, but not everybody is celebrating, says the Fishbio blog:  ” … The Delta garnered the number 9 slot, behind such locations as Clear Lake, California; Lake Eerie; and Lake Okeechobee, Florida. While the term “lake” might at first seem a misnomer for a tidal estuary like the Delta, we have transformed its variable habitats over the decades to a more uniform, lake-like environment, complete with an abundance of warm-water sportfishes. … ”  Find out more about bass from the Fishbio blog:  The Delta: California’s big bass lake

Life cycle modeling for salmon on coastal streams:  Recently, the Fishbio blog headed north to learn about current monitoring efforts in coastal watersheds:  ” … Salmon and steelhead populations living in California’s coastal streams are listed under the California and Federal Endangered Species Acts, and their populations therefore require extensive monitoring and restoration efforts. One approach is life cycle monitoring, which is the combined process of counting juvenile fish traveling downstream and adults traveling upstream on the same river. … ”  Find out more from the Fishbio blog here:  Going coastal

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Updating our water allocation framework to reflect climate change:  The unavoidable effects of climate change are already underway in California, writes the California Water Blog:  ” … The forecasts repeatedly call for reduced Sierra snowpack, earlier spring snowmelt, prolonged hot spells and droughts, warmer rivers stressing cold-water fish, wilder storms and sea level rise that threaten Delta water supplies for thousands of farms and millions of Californians.  And, yet, we Californians continue to rely on a decades-old water allocations framework that assumes our climate will remain unchanged.  Water managers determine how much water gets allocated and who gets it depending on whether the year is expected to be “wet,” “above normal,” “below normal” “dry” or “critically dry.” ... ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  The new ‘normal’ water year in a changing California climate

And speaking of climate change, the clever graphic with today’s post comes from the Climate Desk via the NRDC Switchboard blog and outlines the actions required to solve climate change, allowing you to “choose your own climate solution adventure.”  Click on the graphic or here for more from the NRDC Switchboard blog:  Saving the Planet One Flow Chart at a Time

The microcosm and the macrocosm at the Salton Sea:  Christina Agapakis, biological designer and blogger for Scientific American, explores the unique ecosystem of the Salton Sea, and writes:    ” … This strange and thriving ecosystem of birds that should be elsewhere eating fish species introduced to lure tourists to a desert lake that shouldn’t exist is a powerful symbol of the complexities of the “post-natural” world. The Salton Sea tells a much bigger story than simply the resilience of “natural” ecology despite human interference and shows that there are no clear answers for what nature “should” be. … ”  So what does a little bacterial experimentation show us?  Find out more here from Scientific American:  Bacterial Encounters at the Salton Sea

Invasive species may be getting a bad rap, says a new study:  A study of Europe’s top ten invasive species found that claims of impacts were assumed and oftentimes not backed up by evidence:  ” …‘Some invasive species are possibly getting a harder time than they deserve,’ says Claire McLaughlan, a NERC-funded PhD student at the University of Cambridge, who led the study.   ‘It’s an emotive subject but it needs to be looked at in a balanced way. For many of the species in the list of Europe’s top ten worst invaders, we could find little evidence of their reported effects in the literature.’ … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here:  Alien invaders get a bad press

Windblown dust increasing in the West:  The amount of dust being blown across the landscape has increased over the past 17 years, says a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder: ” … The escalation in dust emissions — which may be due to the interplay of several factors, including increased windstorm frequency, drought cycles and changing land-use patterns — has implications both for the areas where the dust is first picked up by the winds and for the places where the dust is put back down.  “Dust storms cause a large-scale reorganization of nutrients on the surface of the Earth,” said Janice Brahney, who led the study as a CU-Boulder doctoral student. “And we don’t routinely monitor dust in most places, which means we don’t have a good handle on how the material is moving, when it’s moving and where it’s going.” … ”  Read more here from Science Daily: Amount of Dust Blown Across the Western U.S. Is Increasing

Apparently, Prozac is no happy pill for fish:  Fish who swim in waters tainted with antidepressant drugs become anxious, anti-social and sometimes even homicidal, new research has found:  ” … Exposure to fluoxetine, known by the trade name Prozac, had a bizarre effect on male fathead minnows, according to new, unpublished research by scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Male minnows exposed to a small dose of the drug in laboratories ignored females. They spent more time under a tile, so their reproduction decreased and they took more time capturing prey, according to Rebecca Klaper, a professor of freshwater sciences who spoke about her findings at a Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference last fall. Klaper said the doses of Prozac added to the fishes’ water were “very low concentrations,” 1 part per billion, which is found in some wastewater discharged into streams. … ”  Read more from Environmental Health News here:  Fish on Prozac: Anxious, anti-social, aggressive


Science honorable mentions:  The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is developing the world’s deepest imaging system for CO2 sequestration, research scientists have made a major breakthrough in the modeling of water, and hydrology student Alice Berg explains why she chose hydrology as a major.
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