Science news and reports: It was the perfect fish study, until nature messed it up, the fishy food chain, study finds 1934 drought worst of the last millennium and more …

antarcticaIn science news this week, It was the perfect fish study, until nature messed it up, the fishy food chain, study finds 1934 drought worst of the last millennium, Drought: Questions of survival, Fish moving poleward at a rate of 26 kilometers per decade, The mystery of Alaska’s Chinook salmon decline, Researchers assess risks to wildlife and ecosystems posted by pharmaceuticals, and more …

Weekly Science News

Click here for more editions of Science News.

It was the perfect fish study, until nature messed it up:  “When the San Clemente Dam in Carmel Valley gets demolished next year, steelhead trout will get 25 miles of an open-water, upriver swim to find their spawning sites – something the seafaring fish haven’t had since the 106-foot-high dam was built in 1921. For scientists, the dam removal project presented the chance to study the threatened Central Coast trout before, and after, the river restoration. The setup seemed ideal: scientists could take advantage of the meticulously planned project to design simple studies that would yield high-quality research data.  But, to borrow a line from Steinbeck, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: It Was The Perfect Fish Study — Until Nature Messed It Up

Fishy food chain:  “We’ve frequently observed that juvenile Chinook salmon are a popular menu item for a number of introduced predatory fish, such as striped bass and largemouth bass. However, it is often forgotten that juvenile salmon in the Central Valley also act as predators themselves, by preying on other fishes. It seems intuitive that a young Chinook trying to feed and grow wouldn’t turn down the chance to feast on other fishes even smaller than itself. Fish larvae can provide a protein-packed dining option when they become seasonally abundant in many river habitats. … ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here:  Fishy food chain

1934 drought worst of the last millennium, study finds:  “The 1934 drought was by far the most intense and far-reaching drought of the last 1,000 years in North America, and was caused in part by an atmospheric phenomenon that may have also led to the current drought in California, according to a new study.  New research finds that the extent of the 1934 drought was approximately seven times larger than droughts of comparable intensity that struck North America between 1000 A.D. and 2005, and nearly 30 percent worse than the next most severe drought that struck the continent in 1580.  “We noticed that 1934 really stuck out as not only the worst drought but far outside the normal range of what we see in the record,” said Benjamin Cook, an environmental scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and lead author of a new paper that has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. … ”  Read more from YubaNet.com here:  1934 drought was worst of the last millennium, study finds

Drought: Questions of survival:  Faith Kearns writes:  “Okay, so this drought in California has been going on for a while now, and many of us are starting to anticipate the beginning of our rainy season, which is normally somewhere around November through the end of March, with equal parts hope and dread, and that anxiety seems to be coming out in strange ways. Earlier this week, I woke up to this headline: “In virtual mega-drought, California avoids defeat.” All of my days are filled with this kind of thing, like “It takes HOW much water to grow an avocado?!” or greek yogurt or other food of your choice, but I still felt a little cognitively challenged in even understanding the idea of a “virtual mega-drought” or what it might mean for California to “avoid defeat.” ... ”  Read more from The Science Unicorn here:  Questions of survival

Fish moving poleward at a rate of 26 kilometers per decade:  “Large numbers of fish will disappear from the tropics by 2050, finds a new University of British Columbia study that examined the impact of climate change on fish stocks. The study identified ocean hotspots for local fish extinction but also found that changing temperatures will drive more fish into the Arctic and Antarctic waters.  Using the same climate change scenarios as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, researchers projected a large-scale shift of marine fish and invertebrates. In the worst-case scenario, where the Earth’s oceans warm by three degrees Celsius by 2100, fish could move away from their current habitats at a rate of 26 kilometres per decade. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Fish moving poleward at a rate of 26 kilometers per decade

The mystery of Alaska’s Chinook salmon decline:  “Things have been looking rather dim for Chinook salmon in the land of the midnight sun. Although species such as pink salmon are currently booming in Alaska, Chinook salmon runs have dwindled in recent years on rivers stretching from southeast Alaska to the Yukon, sending researchers on a search for answers. Populations of returning salmon that once averaged 300,000 on the Yukon River in the mid-’90s have dropped to half that amount or fewer since 2007. The decline affects commercial and recreational fishermen alike, as well as subsistence fishers who depend on the salmon to feed their families through the winter. In an effort to better understand the waning Chinook salmon populations, the state of Alaska is beginning a five-year, $30-million comprehensive Chinook Salmon Research Initiative. The goals of this massive effort are to develop strategies to improve sustainability and produce better conditions to increase fish returns on 12 major river systems throughout the state. … ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here:  The mystery of Alaska’s Chinook salmon decline

Researchers assess risks to wildlife and ecosystems posted by pharmaceuticals: “A University of York researcher has edited a special edition of a Royal Society publication examining the potential risks and impacts of pharmaceuticals in the environment on wildlife and ecosystems. Dr Kathryn Arnold, from York’s Environment Department, is one of four experts who has compiled the special edition of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, which presents the latest international research. … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here: Researchers assess risks to wildlife and ecosystems posed by pharmaceuticals

Details on the October ENSO Diagnostic Discussion: Trust, but verify: Do we sound like a broken record? The CPC/IRI El Niño-Southern Oscillation forecast released [last week] is essentially unchanged from last month, with around 60-65% chance of El Niño, starting in October-November. Sea surface temperatures in the Niño3.4 region are +0.3°C over the last week, a downwelling Kelvin wave continues to transport warm water toward the eastern equatorial Pacific, and global climate models continue to call for the development of a weak El Niño.  Just how good are these models, though? … ”  Read more from the ENSO blog: Details on the October ENSO Diagnostic Discussion: Trust, but verify.

Some sections of the San Andreas fault in the Bay Area are locked, overdue:Four urban sections of the San Andreas Fault system in Northern California have stored enough energy to produce major earthquakes, according to a new study that measures fault creep. Three fault sections — Hayward, Rodgers Creek and Green Valley — are nearing or past their average recurrence interval, according to the study published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA).  The earthquake cycle reflects the accumulation of strain on a fault, its release as slip, and its re-accumulation and re-release. Fault creep is the slip and slow release of strain in the uppermost part of the Earth’s crust that occurs on some faults between large earthquakes, when much greater stress is released in only seconds. Where no fault creep occurs, a fault is considered locked and stress will build until it is released by an earthquake. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here: Some sections of the San Andreas Fault system in San Francisco Bay Area are locked, overdue

The Best New Photos of Earth From a Huge Flock of Minisatellites: Tracking what’s happening on Earth from space is becoming more and more feasible as Earth-observing satellites increase in number and resolution. The USGS’s Landsat mission has an incredible 40-year record of the planet’s changing landscape, with virtually every spot imaged every eight days. It’s an incredible scientific asset. But what if you could see every bit of the globe, every single day? That opens a new range of possible uses for satellite imagery.  This is the mission of Planet Labs. … ”  Read more from WIRED Science here: The Best New Photos of Earth From a Huge Flock of Minisatellites

Maven’s XKCD Pick of the Week:

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: