SCIENCE NEWS: Imperiled spring-run chinook salmon released into the San Joaquin River; What’s cuing salmon migration patterns?; El Nino’s gone, but some unusual visitors remain on the North Coast; History of abrupt sinking of Seal Beach wetlands; and more …

Photo by Steve Martarano, USFWS
In science news this week: Imperiled spring-run chinook salmon released into the San Joaquin River; Anomalous ocean conditions in 2015 may bode poorly for juvenile Chinook salmon survival; What’s cuing salmon migration patterns?; Coho salmon return to Oregon’s Grande Ronde; Fish in a barrel: The benefits of terminal fisheries; Information flows freely, even in a drought; El Nino’s gone, but some unusual visitors remain on the North Coast; History of abrupt sinking of Seal Beach wetlands; Study: Water conservation messaging effectiveness during California’s drought; Reconsider the impact of trees on water cycles and climate; From entanglement to invasions of alien species: The harm of marine litter; and The skeleton revealed: Vertebrates as you’ve never seen them before

Into the darkness: Imperiled spring-run chinook salmon released into the San Joaquin River:  “When almost 90,000 3-inch spring-run Chinook salmon shot into the darkness of the Eastside Bypass of the San Joaquin River the night of March 6, they didn’t get there alone. It took a strong, collaborative effort by numerous state, federal, university and private entities, working for months under the umbrella of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP) to ensure that the imperiled salmon species continued to thrive for future generations.  That collaboration was impressive.  While California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is the state natural resource partner in the program and conducted the rearing, tagging, transport and release of the fish, numerous entities laid groundwork for the release. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the lead agency responsible for the reintroduction of spring-run to the San Joaquin River. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the permitting lead and established a rule under the Endangered Species Act that allowed for the reintroduction of spring-run, outside the species’ current range. ... ”  Continue reading at the USFWS here:  Into the darkness: Imperiled spring-run chinook salmon released into the San Joaquin River

Anomalous ocean conditions in 2015 may bode poorly for juvenile Chinook salmon survival:  “Fisheries managers have been predicting a slightly below-average run of spring Chinook salmon on the Columbia River this year but a newly published suggests that it may be worse. According to researchers from Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ocean conditions were historically bad in the spring of 2015, when migrating yearling fish that will comprise the bulk of this spring’s adult Chinook run first went out to sea. In fact, Pacific Decadal Oscillation values – which reflect warm and cold sea surface temperatures – suggest it was one of the warmest nearshore oceans encountered by migrating Chinook salmon dating back to at least 1900. … ”  Read more from the Phys Org here:  Anomalous ocean conditions in 2015 may bode poorly for juvenile Chinook salmon survival

What’s cuing salmon migration patterns?  “The spring-fed water that flows through Hansen Creek in southwestern Alaska is almost always clear. Its rate and temperature stay relatively constant throughout the year. Each summer, sockeye salmon migrate through the shallow, narrow creek bed in distinct pulses, in a migration pattern common to salmon populations around the world. Why the salmon move in pulses is the subject of a new paper published today in Animal Behavior.  “The folk wisdom is that the salmon are all independently cueing off common environmental cues, and that tends to synchronize their movements,” says co-author Andrew Berdahl, an SFI Omidyar Fellow. That trigger could be a change in tide or water temperature or the patterns of the moon. … ”  Read more from Phys Org here:  What’s cuing salmon migration patterns?

Coho salmon return to Oregon’s Grande Ronde:  “Coho salmon are swimming in Oregon’s Grande Ronde River Basin for the first time in decades following the release of 500,000 juvenile coho in the Lostine River, a tributary of the Grande Ronde, by the Nez Perce Tribe and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  The release on March 9, 2017, continued efforts by the Nez Perce and other tribes to rebuild naturally spawning populations of coho throughout the Columbia Basin that will support tribal and non-tribal fisheries. The revival of coho is expected to provide cultural and economic benefits for the Tribe as well as rural Oregon communities. … ”  Read more from NOAA here:  Coho salmon return to Oregon’s Grande Ronde

SWAMP newsletter now online:  The latest issue of the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program Newsletter is now available online.    Articles in this issue include: Citizen Scientists Watching the Waters: 2017 California Citizen Monitoring Calendar;Importance of Monitoring Current-Use and Emerging Pesticides; Citizen Science & Watershed Stewardship Webinar Series; Safe to Swim Monitoring in the Central Valley; Water Board Partners with Obama White House to Advance Data-Driven Water Management;Water Quality Indicators and Data Science Symposium; and SWAMP’s Website Gets A Fresh New Look.  Access the 1st Quarter 2017 Issue at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/swamp/newsletter/1st_quarter2017/1st_quarter2017.pdf.

Fish in a barrel: The benefits of terminal fisheries:  “California’s hatcheries have released approximately 2 billion Central Valley fall-run Chinook salmon into the state’s waterways since the construction of the first modern fish hatchery in 1942. As of today, more than 90 percent of the California’s ocean population of salmon originated in hatcheries (Barnett-Johnson et al. 2007). This massive production of fish has ensured that the fall-run salmon fishery remains relatively stable despite the numerous threats that have decimated other California Chinook salmon populations, like winter-run and spring-run. However, this production comes at a cost, such as threatening the genetic diversity of wild salmon when the two groups interbreed. Keeping hatchery produced and naturally spawned salmon separated in the wild is one strategy for reducing such threats. … ” Read more from FishBio here:  Fish in a barrel: The benefits of terminal fisheries

Information flows freely, even in a drought:  “The Colorado River system provides about 35 million Americans with a portion of their water supply. It irrigates 5½ million acres of land in the West and provides water to tribes, parks, and wildlife. The system serves parts of seven States and Mexico—but reservoir levels have crept lower over the past several years, sparking questions about how much water remains and who will have access.  … With such a large system, keeping the stakeholders informed of the river’s status and how the water is allotted can be a confusing process.  Fortunately, the information drought ended in December 2015, when Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) unveiled the Colorado River Basin Drought Visualization App: a free, online application that gathers existing data on various aspects of the river system into a single, user-friendly space. … ”  Read more from the USGS here:  Information flows freely, even in a drought

El Nino’s gone, but some unusual visitors remain on the North Coast:  “Bodega Marine Lab research coordinator Jacqueline Sones and ecology professor Eric Sanford often walk the beaches of the North Coast, looking for interesting or unusual things to photograph or take back to the lab. For the last two years, with sea surface temperatures in the North Pacific at unusual highs, they’ve found lots of creatures that normally live much further south, in more tropical water. One thing they hadn’t found was a living pelagic red crab – until late January, when one of their regular walks along the beach at the mouth of Salmon Creek turned up several of the rare visitors.  ... ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  El Nino’s gone, but some unusual visitors remain on the North Coast

History of abrupt sinking of Seal Beach wetlands:  “A new collaborative study shows evidence of prior abrupt sinking of the wetlands near Seal Beach, caused by ancient earthquakes that shook the area at least three times in the past 2,000 years, according to researchers.  “Imagine a large earthquake — and it can happen again — causing the Seal Beach wetlands to sink abruptly by up to three feet. This would be significant, especially since the area already is at sea level,” said Dr. Matthew E. Kirby, Cal State Fullerton professor of geological sciences. … ”  Read more from the USGS here:  History of abrupt sinking of Seal Beach wetlands

Study: Water conservation messaging effectiveness during California’s drought: “Chapman University has published the results of a state-wide study on the communication campaigns California has been employing to address its ongoing drought. The study looked at current message strategies aimed to reduce residential water use in California.  “What we learned was counterintuitive to what we expected,” said Jake Liang, Ph.D., assistant professor in Chapman’s School of Communication, and lead author on the study. “Conservation campaigns, regardless of the strategy — in general — led to participants having an attitude change in a negative direction — meaning they were less inclined to take action to conserve water after seeing the messages. This calls for a re-examination of the conservation strategies that the state is currently using.” … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Study: Water conservation messaging effectiveness during California’s drought

Reconsider the impact of trees on water cycles and climate:  “Forests and trees play a major role on water cycles and cooler temperatures, contributing to food security and climate change adaptation. In recent decades, the climate change discourse has looked at forests and trees mostly as carbon stocks and carbon sinks, but now scientists are calling for more attention on the relation between trees and water in climate change.  Scientists suggest that the global conversation on trees, forests and climate needs to be turned on its head: the direct effects of trees on climate through rainfall and cooling may be more important than their well-studied capacity of storing carbon. A new publication and a symposium try to shed new light on the debate. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Reconsider the impact of trees on water cycles and climate

From entanglement to invasions of alien species: The harm of marine litter:  “Millions of animals that live in the oceans are debilitated, mutilated and killed by marine litter every year. Marine litter can be transported by ocean currents over long distances, and is found in all marine environments, even in remote areas in the open oceans and the deep sea.  Records show that marine litter is dominated by plastic items, both in shallow and deeper waters. The top ten items recorded by the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup initiative were, in descending order: cigarette butts, plastic food wrappers, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps, straws and stirrers, plastic grocery bags, glass beverage bottles, other plastic bags, paper bags and beverage cans. Seven of these items are made of plastics. Past studies estimate that over 80% of recorded incidents involving marine species were associated with plastic litter. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  From entanglement to invasions of alien species: The harm of marine litter

The skeleton revealed: Vertebrates as you’ve never seen them before:  ““By simply examining the skeleton of today’s vertebrates, one can gather a remarkable amount of information about the species with which we share our planet,” writes Steve Huskey in his incredible new book, The Skeleton Revealed: An Illustrated Tour of the Vertebrates.  Skeletons have long fascinated naturalists, including Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace. I have friends who keep wildlife skull collections. Others enjoy examining museum specimens. I once met some student bison researchers who were attempting to assemble a full bison skeleton from isolated bones they found during their daily forays on a prairie preserve.  I enjoy a good museum exhibit, but I admit I’ve often found skeletal displays to be static, lacking much connection to the real animal. That’s why The Skeleton Revealed immediately caught my attention. Here are vertebrate skeletons displayed showing their form and function. … ”  Read more the Cool Green Science blog here:  The skeleton revealed: Vertebrates as you’ve never seen them before

Maven’s XKCD Comic Pick of the Week …

 

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About Science News and Reports: This weekly feature, posted every Thursday, is a collection of the latest scientific research and reports with a focus on relevant issues to the Delta and to California water, although other issues such as climate change are sometimes included. Do you have an item to be included here? Submissions of relevant research and other materials is welcome. Email Maven

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