SCIENCE NEWS: Massive sensor network helps scientists monitor mountain water resources; Water science in the Tahoe Basin; Look at what they pulled out of Lake Tulloch; and more …

Hurricane Irma, Category 5, Sept 6

In science news this week: Massive sensor network helps scientists monitor mountain water resources; Water science in the Tahoe Basin; Look at what they pulled out of Lake Tulloch; NOAA Fisheries partnership with local fishing vessels build collaboration with industry; Ocean surveys show poor outlook for Columbia salmon; Wildfire and invasive species drives increasing size and cost of public land restoration efforts; Feminized fish and the power of pollution; Two great fish reads

Massive sensor network helps scientists monitor mountain water resources:  “Scientists from the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, UC Merced, UC Berkeley and the USDA Agricultural Research Service have designed the first ever wireless sensor network (WSN) capable of accurately monitoring the hydrology of large mountain river basins. The new system is detailed in two papers just published in the journal Water Resource Research.  Deployed and tested in the American River basin on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, the new WSN represents a significant improvement over existing systems. It allows for vastly improved predictions of mountain water supplies, which had long been based on very limited measurements of precipitation, snowpack and water stored as soil moisture. ... ”  Read more from UC Merced here:  Massive sensor network helps scientists monitor mountain water resources

Water science in the Tahoe Basin:  “Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. It currently attracts almost 3 million visitors a year. After the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, it became a major tourist attraction, which resulted in increased development and an influx of motorized watercraft to the lake. Damage to the lake soon became noticeable with a reduction in lake clarity. This catalyzed a movement to use science and regional planning to reduce human impacts on the lake.  Contributing to this effort, the U.S. Geological Survey is delivering a range of science through its hydrologists, geologists, geographers, biologists, computer modeling experts and others. The USGS provides a wide range of consistent, reliable, long-term data and maps that are crucial for evaluating and managing the lake and basin. … ”  Read more from the USGS here:  Water science in the Tahoe Basin

Look at what they pulled out of Lake Tulloch:  “What is this gelatinous, slippery blob that a homeowner recently pulled out of Lake Tulloch, California? Spend enough time in nature and you are likely to encounter some interesting creatures, but this one had us scratching our heads. It turned out to be a bryozoan (Pectinatella magnifica), and the scientific name of this species literally means “magnificent jelly moss-animal.” Magnificent may be debatable, but these animals are certainly intriguing. Bryozoans are aquatic invertebrates like jellyfish, but unlike jellies, which are singular organisms, this blob is made up of thousands of individual microscopic animals, called zooids, living in a colony. … ”  Read more here: Bryozoan Blobs

NOAA Fisheries partnership with local fishing vessels build collaboration with industry:  “When the 60-foot fishing vessel Timmy Boy returned to Newport, Oregon, last week after two full days at sea, it had no fish in the hold. Instead, the vessel and its crew brought back lots of data, research samples and knowledge of the latest ocean conditions off the Pacific Northwest.  The crew on this trip coordinated by NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center field station in Newport included researchers from, Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, and Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission working alongside the vessel’s own crew as part of a NOAA Fisheries science initiative that employs local fishing boats as floating research platforms. … ”  Read more from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center here:  NOAA Fisheries partnership with local fishing vessels build collaboration with industry

Ocean surveys show poor outlook for Columbia salmon:  “Ocean conditions for salmon headed to sea this year are very poor, according to recent NOAA Fisheries research surveys, and have a high likelihood of depressing salmon returns to the Columbia River in the next few years.  The outlook is described in a recent research memorandum from NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC), which has been studying the ecology of young salmon entering the ocean for more than 20 years. The research has helped reveal how conditions in the ocean affect salmon survival and, ultimately, how many salmon complete their life cycle to return to their home streams and spawn a new generation of fish. … ”  Read more from NOAA here:  Ocean surveys show poor outlook for Columbia salmon

Wildfire and invasive species drives increasing size and cost of public land restoration efforts:  “An examination of long-term data for lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management finds that land treatments in the southwestern United States are increasingly large, expensive and related to fire and invasive species control.  The study, recently published in Restoration Ecology, reveals an extensive legacy of land management decisions and provides new insight on strategies to increase future treatment efficacy in an extremely water-limited region.  The study’s findings are based on the analysis of data collected for approximately 4,000 land treatments conducted on BLM lands across the Southwest between 1940 and 2010. The study was undertaken by researchers from Northern Arizona University and the U.S. Geological Survey using the Land Treatment Digital Library database. … ”  Read more from the USGS here:  Wildfire and invasive species drives increasing size and cost of public land restoration efforts

Feminized fish and the power of pollution:  “Pollution in the environment can take many forms, from physical trash to invisible chemicals. Once it enters a waterway, chemical pollution can spread over great distances and pose harm to aquatic species. While humans have the ability to pick up and physically move away from an unfavorable environment, such as leaving a heavily air-polluted city for one with cleaner air, escape often isn’t possible for fish in polluted water. We’ve previously described how pharmaceutical drugs can change the behavior of fish (see Fishy Side Effects). In recent years, attention has been focused on substances discharged into the environment that can disrupt the normal endocrine (hormone) function of fish and wildlife. One bizarre characteristic of fish exposed to hormone-disrupting water pollution is the presence of female egg cells growing in the testes of male fish, a condition termed “intersex.” Intersex fish are occurring around the globe, even in wildlife refuges, illustrating the power of aquatic pollution to infiltrate even supposedly pristine areas. … ”  Read more from FishBio here:  Feminized fish and the power of pollution

Two great fish reads: I’m always looking for a good fishing book in the summer, and two recent releases are among the most enjoyable I’ve read in years. Even better, they’re perfect for angler-naturalists and conservationists.  A visitor looking through my bookshelves will sometimes ask how many books on hunting, fishing and outdoor life I’ve read. About the best answer I can provide is “Too many.”  Many are honestly not very good and some qualify as crimes against paper. I also have a love of good writing, natural history and science, and too often outdoor writing contains none of the above. It would seem you can only read so much half-baked fly fishing philosophy, or face so many charging Cape buffalo, before crying mercy. And yet I persist. … I add these two fishing books to that shelf, praise I don’t give lightly. And they should appeal even to those who don’t share my addiction to outdoor books. These are titles for fish nerds, conservationists and anyone who loves a well-spun story set in nature. … ”  Read more from the Cool Green Science blog here:  Two great fish reads

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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