SCIENCE NEWS: Hatchery fish often fail in the wild; now we might know why; There is no ‘no-fire’ option in California; How aquaculture will shape the future of Olympia oysters at Elkhorn Slough; Making room for wildlife in an urbanized world; and more …

It is frigid in much of Canada and the Midwestern and Eastern United States, but in the West, not so much. Why is that? Click on the picture to find out.

Hatchery fish often fail in the wild; now we might know why:  “Wild salmon are struggling to get their groove back. Along North America’s Pacific coast, salmon populations—already hit by overfishing—have been forced to dodge the Blob and hungry seals. For years, Canada has tried to help bolster the salmon population by releasing hatchery-raised juvenile fish, or smolts, into the wild.  Scientists know these hatchery smolts don’t do well in the wild—the fish tend to die younger than their wild brethren and reproduce less, but it’s unclear why.  In a recent study, however, researchers think they’ve hit upon a possible explanation. ... ”  Read more from Hakai Magazine here:  Hatchery fish often fail in the wild; now we might know why

There is no ‘no-fire’ option in California: Once, in what is now Northern California, a fire burned across a grassy hill and against the base of an oak. It left a black scar on the tree but didn’t kill it. Soot from the fire settled out of the air into a nearby lake. It drifted to the lake bed and soon was covered with other sediment. Five or ten years after the first fire, there was another. Back then, fire came often.  Tree ring scars and charcoal layers in lake beds can tell scientists how often fire visited those places. By joining many of these records experts can stitch together a portrait of how the land burned, over centuries and across continents. Fire ecologists estimate that when Europeans arrived in North America 500 years ago, an area more than twice the size of New Mexico burned across what is now the Lower 48 states each year. In California alone, fire annually burned an area bigger than Connecticut. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  There is no ‘no-fire’ option in California

How aquaculture will shape the future of Olympia oysters at Elkhorn Slough:  “For the first time in California history, scientists are turning to shellfish farming techniques to restore native oyster populations.  The groundbreaking research is taking place with Olympia oysters at CDFW’s Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in Monterey County, in partnership with the California State University’s nearby Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and its new Center for Aquaculture. Olympia oysters and other shellfish were once so abundant at Elkhorn Slough that Native Americans living there had multiple processing centers along the estuary’s banks to handle their harvest.  ... ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here:  How aquaculture will shape the future of Olympia oysters at Elkhorn Slough

Students become ‘Estuary Explorers’ at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve:  “Elkhorn Elementary School in California serves a predominantly low-income, Hispanic community that resides within the Elkhorn Slough watershed. In 2014, the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) received a Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grant to create the Estuary Explorers Cluboffsite link, an afterschool program in partnership with Elkhorn Elementary School. This program provides a unique opportunity for local students to experience the Elkhorn Slough Reserve. … ”  Read more from NOAA here:  Students become ‘Estuary Explorers’ at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve

Habitat on the Edges: Making room for wildlife in an urbanized world:  “One morning not long ago, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, I traveled with a Wildlife Conservation Society biologist on a switchback route up and over the high ridge of the Western Ghats. Our itinerary loosely followed the corridor connecting Bhadra Tiger Reserve with Kudremakh National Park 30 miles to the south.  In places, we passed beautiful shade coffee plantations, with an understory of coffee plants, and pepper vines — a second cash crop — twining up the trunks of the shade trees. Coffee plantations managed in this fashion, connected to surviving patches of natural forest, “provide continuous camouflage for the predators,” — especially tigers moving through by night, my guide explained, and wildlife conflict was minimal. ... ”  Read more from Yale 360 here:  Habitat on the Edges: Making room for wildlife in an urbanized world

To mow or not to mow: Tackling nuisance growth of water plants at the root:  “Massive growth of submerged aquatic plants can be a nuisance, especially in summer. It’s up to water managers to limit the inconvenience for swimmers, boats and fishermen in a way that is both responsible and cost-effective. NIOO researcher Michiel Verhofstad defended his PhD thesis this week on the ‘root’ causes of the problem, and how best to tackle it.  Mowing as a way of trimming not just grass but aquatic plants is getting to be more and more common. In some situations, submerged aquatic plants can become rampant. That’s not just true for invasive species such as western waterweed in the Netherlands, but also for indigenous ones, including Eurasian watermilfoil and perfoliate pondweed. … ” Read more from PhysOrg here:   To mow or not to mow: Tackling nuisance growth of water plants at the root

Streams can be sensors:  “Scientists at Michigan State University have shown that streams can be key health indicators of a region’s landscape, but the way they’re being monitored can be improved. New research featured in Ecology Letters showcases how streams can be used as sensors to diagnose a watershed’s sensitivity or resiliency to changes in land use practices, including the long-term use of fertilizers. Using streams as sensors — specifically, near the headwaters — can allow scientists, land-use managers and farmers to diagnose which watersheds can be more sustainably developed for food production, said Jay Zarnetske, MSU earth and environmental scientist and co-author of the study. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Streams can be sensors

Panning for silver in laundry wastewater:  “Silver nanoparticles are being used in clothing for their anti-odor abilities but some of this silver comes off when the clothes are laundered. The wastewater from this process could end up in the environment, possibly harming aquatic life, so researchers have attempted to recover the silver. Now, one group reports in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering that detergent chemistry plays a significant role in how much of this silver can be removed from laundry wastewater. Some clothing manufacturers incorporate silver nanoparticles into their products because these tiny bits of metal can kill odor-causing bacteria.   … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Panning for silver in laundry wastewater

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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