SCIENCE NEWS: Saildrone launch begins test to improve West Coast fisheries surveys; Two-Way Bay: Estuary leaders reflect on resilience; Meet the urban osprey; Large salmon getting smaller, old salmon getting younger; and more …

Once in a Blue Dune; Photo by NASA’s Marshall Space Center

In science news this week: Saildrone launch begins test to improve West Coast fisheries surveys; Video: Two-Way Bay: Estuary Leaders Reflect on Resilience; Meet the Urban Osprey; Large salmon getting smaller, old salmon getting younger; An acidified San Francisco Bay? Nobody has studied that yet; The Guadalupe River and the hidden heart of San Jose; A cud above: Cattle operations help endangered wildlife; How can we protect endemic species in the face of urban growth?; From seaports to the deep blue sea, bathymetry matters on many different scales; Nanomaterials could mean more algae outbreaks for wetlands, waterways

Saildrone launch begins test to improve West Coast fisheries surveys: “Two autonomous Saildrones launched from Neah Bay, Wash., Tuesday on a summer-long partnership between Saildrone Inc., NOAA Fisheries and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to find out whether the wind and solar-powered vehicles can improve the efficiency and accuracy of fisheries surveys off the West Coast.  The two Saildrones will first head to the northern end of Vancouver Island and will then turn south, following a series of transects along the Coast south to San Francisco. Two other Saildrones will join the project fleet next week from Alameda, Calif., following transects from San Francisco south to the Southern California Bight. … ”  Read more from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center here:  Saildrone launch begins test to improve West Coast fisheries surveys

Video: Two-Way Bay: Estuary Leaders Reflect on Resilience:This 8-minute film interviews eight directors of water quality, restoration, and environmental programs around the San Francisco Estuary about their experience of the 2017-2018 Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge.  ESTUARY News asked these leaders — some of whom also sit on the SF Estuary Partnership’s Estuary Blueprint Implementation Committee — how the results of the Challenge fit in with what they are already doing around the Bay to prepare for rising sea levels. Their answers reflect a new found sense of urgency around resilience planning, an appreciation for the fresh look at current strategies, and the push for bigger picture thinking as the Bay creeps steadily onto our shores.” Watch here: Video: Two-Way Bay: Estuary Leaders Reflect on Resilience

Meet the Urban Osprey. It’s a Little Bit Punk and a Little Bit Geeky … and Then it Goes Hunting: “At first glance, the osprey is easy to overlook. Resting, it lacks the noble profile that made the bald eagle an American icon; in fact, the osprey’s head seems awkwardly small for its body. Orange eyes peer out from behind a black bandit mask. The feathers at the back often ruffle up, disheveled. It’s a little bit punk. A little bit geeky.  Hunting, though, the bird is something else. Circling high over the shallows, catching sight of a promising shadow or burst of sand, an osprey flicks from horizontal to vertical. Wings cant up and back over the head, beak juts down, right above a sharp star of talons—a spear hurling itself at the water. This single-minded devotion to fish and fishing is the bird’s defining characteristic. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  Meet the Urban Osprey. It’s a Little Bit Punk and a Little Bit Geeky … and Then it Goes Hunting

Large salmon getting smaller, old salmon getting younger:  “Those who fished for salmon decades ago often lament the bygone “good old days” of abundant, large fish. As it turns out, there is some truth to this sentiment. Negative trends in salmon sizes have been noted as early as the 1930s (as cited in Ricker 1980), prompting long-standing concerns about the consequences of losing the oldest, largest individuals in a fish population: decreased spawning productivity, destabilized populations, and putting fisheries in jeopardy. A recent publication in the journal Fish and Fisheries examined 40 years of salmon population data from across the West Coast and demonstrated once more that older, larger Chinook salmon are becoming increasingly rare across most of the species’ North American distribution. … ”  Read more from FishBio blog here:  Large salmon getting smaller, old salmon getting younger

An acidified San Francisco Bay?  Nobody has studied that yet:  “Ocean acidification and the effect it will have on the San Francisco Bay hasn’t received the scientific study you might imagine, given how frequently climate change comes up in discussions of the Bay.  To date there has been almost no long-term monitoring of the Bay’s carbon chemistry, for example. Ocean acidification is “expected to impact estuaries on the West Coast,” one scientific report concluded in 2016, but “chemical and biological data on acidification threats and impacts are lacking.” … ”  Read more from Bay Nature Magazine here:  An acidified San Francisco Bay?  Nobody has studied that yet

The Guadalupe River and the hidden heart of San Jose:  “To hear Roger Castillo tell it, all of the City of San José—its million inhabitants, its sprawling residential neighborhoods, its glittery glass high-rises and office-park tech campuses—is more or less floating around on the backs of a bunch of salmon.  This is not so implausible as it sounds. San José is a river city, split neatly from north to south by the Guadalupe River, a 14-mile waterway that can flood with 14,000 cubic feet per second of water in the winter and shrink to mostly dust in the summer. Over the years the water that flows inevitably from the hills and reservoirs in the Santa Cruz Mountains northward into the San Francisco Bay has been diverted into culverts and storm sewers to tame the river’s once vast, wandering path. But the water flows nonetheless. And where there is flowing water, there might be salmon. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature Magazine here:  The Guadalupe River and the hidden heart of San Jose

A cud above: Cattle operations help endangered wildlife:  ““My grandfather was an environmentalist,” said Frank Imhof. “… he just wouldn’t have thought to put it that way.”  Like both his grandfathers and his father, Imhof is a rancher, a cattleman. Now he’s training his son, Frank Jr.—better known as Frankie—to take over the business.  But it’s a challenge in the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area, where grazing lands for cattle have been squeezed out by sprawling development. That’s why the partnership between the Imhofs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is so important. … ”  Read more from the US FWS here:  A cud above: Cattle operations help endangered wildlife

How can we protect endemic species in the face of urban growth?  “Already, more than half of humanity lives in cities, and there will be almost 2 billion additional urban dwellers by 2030. Forecasts are that humanity may develop an additional area of 120 million hectares. That’s an area the size of the state of Texas urbanized, a massive transformation of the Earth.  What’s a conservationist to do? In the face of this massive urban growth, how can we make the best use of our conservation investments to help protect plants and animals that are endemic to different regions around the world?  That question is exactly what The Nature Conservancy and its partners at Yale University and Texas A & M set out to answer in our recent paper, “Conservation priorities to protect vertebrate endemics from global urban expansion. … ” Read more from the Cool Green Science blog here:  How can we protect endemic species in the face of urban growth?

From seaports to the deep blue sea, bathymetry matters on many different scales:  “On Thursday, June 21, we celebrate World Hydrography Day. This year’s theme—Bathymetry – the foundation for sustainable seas, oceans and waterways—is very timely as many hydrographic organizations worldwide are focusing on bathymetry at local and global scales. While we work to perfect real-time data and high-resolution bathymetry for ports, we are still working to build a foundational baseline dataset of the global seafloor. Our work at both scales have implications for the local and global economies. … ”  Read more from NOAA here:  From seaports to the deep blue sea, bathymetry matters on many different scales

Nanomaterials could mean more algae outbreaks for wetlands, waterways:  “The last 10 years have seen a surge in the use of tiny substances called nanomaterials in agrochemicals like pesticides and fungicides. The idea is to provide more disease protection and better yields for crops, while decreasing the amount of toxins sprayed on agricultural fields.  But when combined with nutrient runoff from fertilized cropland and manure-filled pastures, these “nanopesticides” could also mean more toxic algae outbreaks for nearby streams, lakes and wetlands, a new study finds. … ” Read more from Science Daily here:  Nanomaterials could mean more algae outbreaks for wetlands, waterways

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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