Science News and Reports: Hungry salmon, invasive spartina, living shorelines, going with the flow, tracking the dynamics of drought and more …


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Hungry salmon: We recently conducted a pilot-level study to investigate the diet of Chinook salmon parr and smolts on the Lower Sacramento River — and the number of prey items that we encountered in these little fish surprised us. The goal of the study is to document the diets of juvenile Chinook salmon during the latter portion of their migration to the estuary and ocean. We employed a technique called gastric lavage, which is a non-lethal method to sample gut contents in fish – essentially making the fish regurgitate its last meal. … ”  er … continue reading at the FishBio blog here:  Hungry, hungry salmon?

Turning the corner on invasive spartina:  “On a crisp day in early January, 10 workers and two biologists pulled sleds loaded with young grindelia and Spartina foliosa through tangled pickleweed to the edge of the Alameda Flood Control Channel. The marsh seemed to be asleep, everything a muted brown and a bit dry for lack of rain. But in the midst of this hibernation, little neon-colored flags marked the places where thousands of plants would soon have a new start, the next stage of a battle waged mostly out of sight on the edges of sleepy marshes around the Bay Area. … ”  Read more from Bay-Nature here:  Turning the Corner on Invasive Spartina

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Living Shorelines: Recruiting Oysters for Habitat Restoration and Climate Adaptation:When the first live eastern oysters came to the Bay Area by train in the late 1800s, Victorian-era foodies lined up to buy them by the box at four dollars for 200. Capitalizing on San Franciscans and their love of trendy food, would-be oyster farmers followed, hoping to raise their imported shellfish in the Bay.  But life proved difficult for the farmers, and their oysters. For the preferred eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica), summers in the Bay Area were too hot and dry, stingrays too hungry, and one particular “parasite” far too fast-growing for the bivalve to take hold, as the naturalist Charles Townsend wrote in 1893. “It is possible that I have not attached sufficient importance to the evil of overcrowding,” Townsend declared, by this “remarkably fertile” competitor. … ”  Read more from Bay-Nature here: Living Shorelines:Recruiting Oysters for Habitat Restoration and Climate Adaptation

Go with the Flow: Using Flow Experiments to Guide River Management:”Rivers and streams have seen widespread habitat and species loss, prompting extensive restoration efforts.  But what types of rehabilitation are likely to have the greatest effects?  The recent news of a “pulse flow” in the Lower Colorado River has highlighted a steadily growing trend in freshwater conservation along “working” rivers – restoring elements of natural flow regimes. … ”  Read more from the Cool Green Science Blog here: Go with the Flow: Using Flow Experiments to Guide River Management

A hidden world that thrives beneath the snow:  ““The winter is a pretty incredible time of year,” Jonathan Pauli told me. Looking out the window of his office at Wisconsin’s stubborn crust of snow, it occurred to me that “incredible” might not be the most popular adjective, especially this year, as a harrowing winter slowly releases its grip on the United States.  Pauli and his colleague Benjamin Zuckerberg explained that winter’s thick blanket of snow,inhospitable as it looks, actually provides a safe haven for plants and animals that spend their lives in northerly latitudes. “You look at the landscape and you see a blanket of homogeneous white,” said Pauli. “You think that it makes everything simple. But what is kind of fun to think about is that complex world that lives underneath the snow.” .. ”  Read more from Quest here:  A Hidden World Thrives Below the Snow

Geographers developing a system to track the dynamics of drought: University of Cincinnati researchers are at work tracking drought patterns across the United States. Qiusheng Wu, a doctoral student and research assistant for the UC Department of Geography, and Hongxing Liu, a UC professor and head of the Department of Geography, will present details this week at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) in Tampa, Florida.  To trace the dynamics around agricultural drought, the UC researchers implemented an Event-based Spatial-Temporal Data Model (ESTDM) to detect, track and monitor conditions. The framework organizes data into objects, sequences, processes and events. … ” Read more from PhysOrg here:  UC geographers develop a system to track the dynamics of drought

Maven’s XKCD pick of the week:

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