SCIENCE NEWS: Ecosystem cascades affecting salmon; Messy is good for fish; Neutralizing nutrient pollution; An 8,000-year Paleoperspective of hydroclimate variability in the Southern Sierra Nevada; and more …

In science news this week: Ecosystem cascades affecting salmon; Messy is good for fish: A new NOAA Fisheries program monitors salmon habitat in Puget Sound; Neutralizing nutrient pollution; An 8,000-year Paleoperspective of hydroclimate variability in the Southern Sierra Nevada; Summer algal blooms and aquatic grass growth forces boats off of water at Berkeley’s Aquatic Park; Climate change means more rain, more nitrogen runoff, more problems; Butterflies, rounding errors, and the chaos of climate models

Ecosystem cascades affecting salmon:  “Interpreting relationships between species and their environments is crucial to inform ecosystem-based management (EBM), a priority for NOAA Fisheries. EBM recognizes the diverse interactions within an ecosystem — including human impacts — so NOAA Fisheries can consider resource tradeoffs that help protect and sustain productive ecosystems and the services they provide.  In the coastal ocean of California — seabird predators, forage fish on which they feed, and the survival of salmon out-migrating to sea are each of particular interest, and an improved understanding of their interactions could in turn improve the management of the ocean ecosystem. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Ecosystem cascades affecting salmon

Messy Is Good for Fish: A new NOAA Fisheries program monitors salmon habitat in Puget Sound:Puget Sound’s iconic salmon are struggling. A team of researchers led by fish biologist Tim Beechie at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) have begun an ambitious, long-term program to monitor and track changes in the natural habitat most essential to the health and survival of threatened steelhead, coho, and Chinook salmon. A new Technical Memorandum, the first report on this program, has just been published at NWFSC. … ”  Read more from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center here:  Messy Is Good for Fish: A new NOAA Fisheries program monitors salmon habitat in Puget Sound

An 8,000-year Paleoperspective of hydroclimate variability in the Southern Sierra Nevada:  “Climate impact assessments allow researchers to understand and anticipate the effects of climate change on the environment. However, being able to conduct accurate assessments requires understanding how and why climate changes have occurred. To do this, researchers need to be able to differentiate natural climate variability from human – induced climate changes.  “Deciphering patterns of natural hydroclimate variability from underlying anthropogenic climate change is only possible by understanding the climate of the recent geologic past,” explains Steven Bacon, the principal investigator of the project. … ”  Read more from NIWR here:  An 8,000-year Paleoperspective of hydroclimate variability in the Southern Sierra Nevada

Neutralizing nutrient pollution:  “Nutrients — such as nitrogen — are essential to life, but an overabundance can mean trouble for waterways. Take Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, which are infamous for “dead zones” where closely-packed bodies of fish float to the surface or wash ashore by the thousands. These dead zones are caused by nutrient pollution, which makes algae grow too fast. The resulting algal blooms ultimately kill fish and other aquatic creatures by using up the oxygen they breathe.  Nitrogen is high in the San Francisco Bay as well, but so far it has escaped the catastrophic effects of nutrient pollution. That may be about to change, however.  “Nutrients are one of the more substantial problems the San Francisco Bay may face over the long-term,” said the San Francisco Estuary Institute’s David Senn, lead scientist for the Bay Area Nutrient Management Program. … ”  Read more from the Bay Area Monitor here:  Neutralizing nutrient pollution

Summer algal blooms and aquatic grass growth forces boats off of water at Berkeley’s Aquatic Park:  “The final approach to the dock at the Berkeley Paddling and Rowing Club at Berkeley’s Aquatic Park usually takes Ellen Braithwaite about 30 seconds to row. But on the 4th of July, it took her nearly 20 minutes. The reason? Dense grasses accompanying a summer algal bloom.  The Aquatic Park lagoon has been covered with algae since late June, and while blooms there are typical this time of year, Braithwaite, who is on the club’s board of directors, says this summer’s algae and aquatic growth seems heavier than usual. It’s easily visible from the Eastshore Freeway, a two-inch thick yellow-brown blanket rolled over the lagoon. “It’s lasted longer, it seems to be thicker,” Braithwaite said. “It’s been almost impossible to leave the dock.” … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  Summer algal blooms and aquatic grass growth forces boats off of water at Berkeley’s Aquatic Park

Climate change means more rain, more nitrogen runoff, more problems:  “An intensifying water cycle will likely cause dramatic increases — nearing 20% by 2100 — in the amount of nitrogen runoff in the U.S., according to a new study. Excessive nitrogen that mixes with rivers and estuaries can profoundly affect water systems; for example it can spur algal blooms, which have negative impacts on human health, aquatic ecosystems and the economy.  Future changes in precipitation patterns, induced by climate change, could strongly influence the degree of future nitrogen runoff; however, most analyses have been limited to local regions and only rely on a small handful of climate models. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Climate change means more rain, more nitrogen runoff, more problems

Butterflies, rounding errors, and the chaos of climate models:  “If you say “model” to a weather or climate forecaster, she’ll immediately think of a computer program that takes in information on current conditions and outputs a picture of potential future conditions. Here, I’ll be talking about dynamical models, which use complex physical equations to predict the future, rather than statistical models. Statistical models are simpler, and use historical observations and their relationships to predict how conditions might evolve. Tony has a brief explanation of statistical models in the notes of this post.  Dynamical models have only become feasible in the last couple of decades because supercomputers are required to crunch through all of the observational input data and mathematical equations they use. … ”  Read more from Climate.gov here:  Butterflies, rounding errors, and the chaos of climate models

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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