Science news & reports: Watershed momentum, lower food web dynamics, IEP Annual Workshop, monster invasive fish found in San Francisco lake, and more

Washington landslide

NASA picture of Washington landslide

UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences has a watershed momentum: The cramped field researchers’ office carries the faint whiffs of fish, locker room and dog. Louie, the Labrador, snoozes on his tattered mattress under a desk alongside mud-caked wading and hiking boots, a wet bag, dusty backpack and the big sandaled feet of his owner, Carson Jeffres.  Jeffres ’02, M.S. ’06, parks at his computer monitors back-to-back with Ryan Peek and parallel with Drew Nichols, M.S. ’08. No privacy panels separate the three cozy researchers. The fish biologist, amphibian ecologist and geologist are here to collaborate. The same goes for the entomologists down the hall and the economists, hydrologists and engineers around the corner.  They’re all part of an environmental research hub at UC Davis known as the Center for Watershed Sciences, a name that reflects its holistic view of rivers, lakes and estuaries. … ”  Read more from the UC Davis here:  A watershed momentum

CABA Seminar explores lower food web dynamics:  “One of the state’s coequal goals is the restoration and enhancement of the Delta ecosystem. Just restoring or creating habitat, however, may not produce the desired results, especially in the creation of improved food sources for fish.  “If we invest in large-scale restoration activities in the Delta by turning existing properties into marsh, food productivity may or may not increase enough to support fish in open water, so we’d better find out,” said Garrett Liles, an environmental scientist in the Delta Stewardship Council’s (Council) Delta Science Program. … ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council here:  CABA Seminar Explores Lower Food Web Dynamics

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Interagency Ecological Program Annual Workshop:  “The Interagency Ecological Program (IEP) held its annual workshop Feb. 26-28, 2014 in Folsom as a focal point for IEP activities.  The IEP is a science consortium with nine member agencies: three state and six federal. The IEP also partners with the San Francisco Estuary Institute, the Delta Science Program, and many academic and private scientists. The mission of the IEP is, in collaboration with others, to provide ecological information and scientific leadership for use in management of the San Francisco Estuary. … ”  Read more from the Delta Stewardship Council here:  Interagency Ecological Program Annual Workshop

All of these monster invasive fish came out of one small San Francisco lake:  “Jonathan Young, a San Francisco State graduate student in biology and ecological restoration intern at the Presidio Trust, has the job of trying to restore some semblance of native life to Mountain Lake, in San Francisco’s Presidio. But as this sequence of photos shows, the native three-spined sticklebacks and Pacific chorus frogs he’d like to restore would face some ferocious predators lurking in the watery depths. So it’s Young’s job, for now, to try and get the predators out. … ”  Read more and check out the pictures from Bay Nature here:  All of These Monster Invasive Fish Came Out of One Small San Francisco Lake

Plankton make scents for seabirds and a cooler planet:The top predators of the Southern Ocean, far-ranging seabirds, are tied both to the health of the ocean ecosystem and to global climate regulation through a mutual relationship with phytoplankton, according to newly published work from the University of California, Davis.  When phytoplankton are eaten by grazing crustaceans called krill, they release a chemical signal that calls in krill-eating birds. At the same time, this chemical signal — dimethyl sulfide, or DMS — forms sulfur compounds in the atmosphere that promote cloud formation and help cool the planet. Seabirds consume the grazers, and fertilize the phytoplankton with iron, which is scarce in the vast Southern Ocean. The work was published March 3 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. … ”  Read more from UC Davis here: Plankton make scents for seabirds and a cooler planet

Place-based integrated water management planning discussion paper:  From the abstract: “This Discussion Paper examines regional or local water planning approaches from three western states – California’s Integrated Regional Water Management, Texas’ Regional Water Planning Program, and Washington’s Watershed Planning process. The purpose of this paper is to highlight several key planning elements that could inform Oregon’s approach to place-based, integrated water resources planning. Several questions are posed throughout the document, and serve as a starting point for discussion with stakeholders and the public. The state’s objective is to develop guidelines that can facilitate place-based planning efforts within Oregon communities, with the ultimate goal of meeting current and future water needs – instream and out-of-stream, including water quantity, water quality, and ecosystem needs.”  The examination of CA, WA, and TX approaches alone is worth the price of admission, writes the Water Wired blog.  Read it all here:  Oregon WRD Report: ‘Placed-Based Integrated Water Resources Planning’

Emerging Contaminants Symposium: Summary of the 28th Symposium in the Groundwater Resources Association’s series on groundwater contaminants:  In case you missed it, the symposium is summarized here:  Hydrovisions Spring 2014

Science for Nature and People (SNAP) announces six new working groups & new RFP:Science for Nature and People (SNAP) announces the selection of six new Working Groups that will bring science to solving some of the world’s biggest challenges involving nature and human well-being — from urban water security to hydraulic fracturing’s impact on water quality, from the sustainable management of fish stocks to feeding 9 billion people without destroying the planet.  SNAP also announces its 2014 Request for Proposals (RFP) for additional working groups to be chosen in July. Applications are now being accepted through May 20, 2014.  SNAP — a scientific collaboration among The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the National Center for Ecological Synthesis and Analysis (NCEAS) — is developing approaches to how protecting nature can help secure food, energy and water and enhance the quality of life for all humankind, especially the planets poorest and most marginalized citizens. ... ”  Read more here:  SNAP: Announcing Six New Working Groups & New RFP

Wet La Nina years mask sea level rise:  “Heavy rains from the Amazon to Australia have curbed sea level rise so far this century by shifting water from the oceans to land, according to a study that rejects theories that the slowdown is tied to a pause in global warming.  Sea level rise has been one of the clearest signs of climate change — water expands as it warms and parts of Greenland and Antarctica are thawing, along with glaciers from the Himalayas to the Alps. … ”  Read more from ABC News (Australia) here:  Wet La Nina years mask sea level rise

Invasive weeds on the rise due to climate change:One of the most serious threats to global biodiversity and the leisure and tourism industries is set to increase with climate change according to new research by Queen’s University Belfast. Researchers at Queen’s have found that certain , which have previously been killed off by low winter temperatures, are set to thrive as global temperatures increase.  The team based at Quercus, Northern Ireland’s centre for biodiversity and conservation science research, predicts that invasive waterweeds will become more widespread over the next 70 years. … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here: Study shows invasive species in waterways on rise due to climate change

Researchers test seasonal to decadal prediction for climate:  “Researchers are exploring the potential for seasonal to decadal climate prediction. Seasonal-to-decadal prediction is now being tested with an advanced initialization method that has proven successful in weather forecasting and operational oceanography.”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Predicting climate: Researchers test seasonal-to-decadal prediction

Linking storms to climate change a distraction, say experts:Connecting extreme weather to climate change distracts from the need to protect society from high-impact weather events which will continue to happen irrespective of human-induced climate change, say experts. researchers argue that cutting greenhouse gas emissions, while crucial to reducing humanity’s longer-term impact on the planet, will not eliminate violent storms, tornadoes or flooding and the damage they cause.”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Linking storms to climate change a ‘distraction’, say experts


Photo credit:  NASA satellite picture of Washington landslide.  More information here.

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