SCIENCE NEWS: Spotting redds: The art of biology; Piling it on: Benefits of large wood in streams; Floods are necessary for maintaining healthy river ecosystems; and more …

In science news this week: Spotting redds: The art of biology; Piling it on: Benefits of large wood in streams; Floods are necessary for maintaining healthy river ecosystems; Bridging the ‘practice science gap’ to optimize restoration projects; Timing is key in keeping organic matter in wet soils, study suggests; A new model yields a better picture of methane fluxes; Reducing phosphorous runoff; The world needs to rethink the value of water; And lastly … Meet the magnificently weird Mola mola

Spotting redds: The art of biology:  “With salmon spawning season in full swing, our fisheries technicians and biologists are hard at work both in the office and out in the field collecting and analyzing data. Whether it’s installing or maintaining portable resistance board weirs and rotary screw traps, reviewing the live footage of fish passages, or conducting redd surveys, the spawning and migration seasons are busy times for us at FISHBIO. We conduct redd surveys on approximately 450 miles of river annually to document trout and salmon redds, or nests. Moreover, the work we do requires a unique set of skill and experience. Not only can it be hard for the inexperienced eye to spot a redd at all, it can be especially difficult to distinguish rainbow trout redds from salmon redds, which are sometimes found in the same stream at the same time. … ”  Read more from Science News here:  Spotting redds: The art of biology

Piling it on: Benefits of large wood in streams:  “Losing your favorite spinner on a log can be a real drag, but besides collecting fishing lures, large wood like dead trees and branches play a pivotal role in the dynamics of stream ecosystems. When plants evolved roots more than 415 million years ago, they completely changed how rivers flow. Plant roots stabilize stream banks and create narrower, deeper stream channels that meander. Once trees evolved and began falling into rivers, they changed things further still, forcing water to flow around logjams, which sometimes carved out new channels. These days, logs and logjams (known to stream scientists as “large wood”, “large woody debris”, “large woody material”, or “coarse woody debris”) still drive river processes and provide many benefits for trout and salmon in streams where they haven’t been removed. However, large woody debris can also pose safety concerns for river users, infrastructure, and homes, especially during flood events, highlighting the challenges of maintaining natural processes in managed rivers. … ”  Read more from FishBio here:  Piling it on: Benefits of large wood in streams

Floods are necessary for maintaining healthy river ecosystems:  “Flooding rivers can wreak havoc on homes and roads but are necessary for healthy ecosystems, research at Oregon State University suggests.  The study shows that alterations to rivers’ – because of dams, diversions and changes in precipitation – cause damage to riparian plant communities and river ecosystems in general.  Even minor shifts in temporal flow patterns harm networks of competing vegetation, said the study’s corresponding author, Jonathan Tonkin of the OSU College of Science.  The most severe effects, he said, occur when cyclical flooding is removed from the equation. … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here:  Floods are necessary for maintaining healthy river ecosystems

Bridging the ‘practice science gap’ to optimize restoration projects:  “As restoration projects throughout Massachusetts and the country focus on restoring natural ecosystems, researchers are looking for ways to better bridge the “practice science gap” between practitioners and biodiversity research in an effort optimize these types of projects. The findings were recently published in the journal Conservation Letters.  “Our sense was that some of the science we do wasn’t being translated to restoration practice,” said Dr. Randall Hughes of Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center and lead author of the paper. “We aren’t pointing any fingers at a particular side of this gap, we are pointing out that the gap exists and it would be nice to try and close it.” ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Bridging the ‘practice science gap’ to optimize restoration projects

Timing is key in keeping organic matter in wet soils, study suggests:  “When it comes to keeping organic matter contained in wet soils, timing is everything. At least, that’s what a new study led by an Iowa State University ecologist suggests.  The findings, published recently in the peer-reviewed academic journal Nature Communications, show periodically flooded soils may actually lose organic matter at accelerated rates, said Steven Hall, an assistant professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology and corresponding author of the study. The findings contradict the widely held view that soils with high water content necessarily accumulate organic matter better than dry soils, which could have implications for agricultural and wetlands conservation practices, Hall said. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Timing is key in keeping organic matter in wet soils, study suggests

A new model yields a better picture of methane fluxes:  “Peat-forming wetlands, including bogs and fens, can switch between acting as sources and sinks of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. Which process wins out depends on a multitude of factors, including climate, vegetation type, water table levels, nutrient inputs, microbe communities, hydrology, and the day-to-day conditions of the ecosystem. Current models can approximate net methane emission in these areas, but clearer predictions in the face of a changing climate require a more detailed model.  Methane is created when simple carbon-containing molecules, such as carbon dioxide and acetate, are reduced in the soil; that is, the carbon gains electrons and attracts neighboring hydrogen ions to form methane. Methane is destroyed when its carbon is oxidized, losing its electrons to nearby oxygen molecules. Both processes are mediated by soil microbes. … ” Read more from EOS here:  A new model yields a better picture of methane fluxes

Reducing phosphorous runoff:  “Throughout the United States, toxic algal blooms are wreaking havoc on bodies of water, causing pollution and having harmful effects on people, fish and marine mammals.  One of the main contributors to these algal blooms is excess phosphorus that runs off from agricultural fields and while there has been a lot of efforts in recent years by farmers to improve agricultural management, the problem persists and there is still a lot of work to be done. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Reducing phosphorous runoff

The world needs to rethink the value of water:  “Research led by Oxford University highlights the accelerating pressure on measuring, monitoring and managing water locally and globally. A new four-part framework is proposed to value water for sustainable development to guide better policy and practice.  The value of water for people, the environment, industry, agriculture and cultures has been long-recognised, not least because achieving safely-managed drinking water is essential for human life. The scale of the investment for universal and safely-managed drinking water and sanitation is vast, with estimates around $114B USD per year, for capital costs alone. ... ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  The world needs to rethink the value of water

And lastly … Meet the magnificently weird Mola mola:  “This is one of those stories where the truth is stranger than fiction. And certainly uglier.  You’ve probably see a picture of the utterly ridiculous Mola mola before. But this species and its other mola brethren are even stranger than their unforgettable appearance suggests. Slimy and brimming with parasites, they’re shapeshifters that out-gun every vertebrate fish in the ocean and even dupe unwitting scientists.  So read on to learn more about the mysterious Mola mola. ... ” Read more from the Cool Green Science blog here:  And lastly … Meet the magnificently weird Mola mola

Maven’s XKCD Comic Pick of the Week …

Daily emailsSign up for daily email service and you’ll never miss a post!

Sign up for daily emails and get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. Breaking news alerts, too. Sign me up!


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

(Visited 111 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply