SCIENCE NEWS: The invasive European green crab; Status of selenium in the South Bay; Rapid 3D analysis of rockfalls in Yosemite; Sea level rise could double erosion rates of SoCal coastal cliffs; and more …

Uranium; Photo courtesy Pacific Northwest National Labs

In science news this week: Crab wars: The invasive European green crab; Status of selenium in the South Bay; Rapid 3D analysis of rockfalls in Yosemite; Sea level rise could double erosion rates of Southern California coastal cliffs; This patch of water can predict Southwest drought; Four things ECOSTRESS can see from space (in addition to plants); Break it down: Understanding the formation of chemical byproducts during water treatment

Crab wars: The invasive European green crab:  “San Francisco Bay is considered the most invaded estuary in the world, in part due to its heavy ship traffic that transports species from other places. One unassuming but costly invader that has hitchhiked into San Francisco Bay is the European green crab (Carcinus maenas). Considered one of the world’s worst invasive species, these crabs feed voraciously on native invertebrates such as young oysters, clams, and even other shore crabs, which can have both ecological and economic consequences. The first evidence of European green crabs in America was found in the 1800s, when crabs were brought over to Cape Cod on a sailing ship. In 1989, European green crabs were spotted in San Francisco Bay and began spreading north, being observed in Oregon in 1997, Washington in 1998 and British Columbia in 1999. Researchers have been searching for ways to keep this invasive marine invertebrate in check, and may even have some unlikely allies in the restaurant sector. ... ” Read more from FishBio here:  Crab wars: The invasive European green crab

Status of selenium in the South Bay:  Abstract: “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed Aquatic Life and AquaticDependent Wildlife Criteria for Selenium (Se) in California’s San Francisco Bay and Delta (Bay-Delta) in June 2016. Here we apply the same modeling methodology—Ecosystem-Scale Selenium Modeling— to an assessment of conditions and documentation of food webs of south San Francisco Bay (South Bay) as an exploratory framework in support of site-specific Se criteria development. Long-term datasets contribute to the basis for modeling, especially the 21-year collection of the clam Macoma petalum from a mudflat at the lower end of South Bay (Lower South Bay). As such, this is a working document that may serve as a basis to establish an understanding of the specifics of Se biodynamics within the estuary and reduce uncertainties about how to protect it. This approach brings together the main factors involved in toxicity: likelihood of high exposure, inherent species sensitivity, and the behavioral ecology (for example, demographics and life history) of an organism in terms of susceptibility to a reproductive toxicant. ... ”  Read the report from the USGS here: Status of selenium in the South Bay

2018 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey Shows Continuing Upward Trend: “The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its 2018 waterfowl breeding population survey — and it’s good news for hunters and birdwatchers alike, as the total waterfowl population in the state now tops out at over a half million, for the first time in six years.  Melanie Weaver, who oversees CDFW’s Waterfowl Program, said that duck populations responded positively to the wet winter conditions of 2017. “Given the good upland and wetland habitat conditions last year from excessive precipitation, we anticipated good production,” she said. “We are pleased to see that higher recruitment reflected in this year’s breeding population survey.” ... ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here: 2018 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey Shows Continuing Upward Trend

Rapid 3D analysis of rockfalls in Yosemite:  “Yosemite National Park contains some of the world’s most iconic landforms, including Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and El Capitan. Although the cliffs of Yosemite Valley may appear static, rockfalls from these cliffs are common, with a rockfall occurring every four to five days on average. Rockfalls are key to shaping this iconic landscape but also pose risk to the four- to five-million visitors to the park annually.  On 27 and 28 September 2017, eight large rockfalls occurred from the southeast face of El Capitan. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Rapid 3D analysis of rockfalls in Yosemite+

Sea level rise could double erosion rates of Southern California coastal cliffs:  “U.S. Geological Survey scientists combined several computer models for the first time to forecast cliff erosion along the Southern California coast. Their peer-reviewed study was published in a recent issue of the American Geophysical Union’s Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface.  The research also showed that for sea-level rise scenarios ranging from about 1.5 feet to 6.6 feet by 2100, bluff tops along nearly 300 miles of Southern California coasts could lose an average of 62 to 135 feet by 2100 – and much more in some areas.  “Sea cliff retreat is a serious hazard,” said USGS research geologist and lead author Patrick Limber. “Unlike beaches, cliffs can be stable for decades between large landslides that remove several feet of bluff top.” ... ”  Read more from the USGS here:  Sea level rise could double erosion rates of Southern California coastal cliffs

This patch of water can predict Southwest drought: Scientists discovered that the temperature of a patch of water on the other side of the world can help predict how dry winters will be in the Southwest: “Researchers are starting to shy away from using the word “drought” to describe the miserable precipitation the American Southwest has seen in recent years. Instead, we should think of the dry conditions as the new normal. And in a future with less water, predicting just how little rain or snowfall to expect is increasingly important. That’s why scientists are so worked up about a patch of water off the coast of New Zealand. ... ”  Continue reading from Outside Magazine here:  This patch of water can predict Southwest drought

Four things ECOSTRESS can see from space (in addition to plants):  “NASA’s Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) is designed to study how plants respond to heat and water stress by measuring the temperature of Earth’s vegetation at all times of day with an accuracy of a few tenths of a degree.  Unusual heat can be a warning sign of important changes and concerns in many fields of research besides botany. Here are four other areas where ECOSTRESS’s precise temperature measurements could make a difference. … ”  Read more from NASA here:  Four things ECOSTRESS can see from space (in addition to plants)

Break it down: Understanding the formation of chemical byproducts during water treatment:  “Synthetical chemicals are ever-present in modern life — in our medications, cosmetics and clothing — but what happens to them when they enter our municipal water supplies?  Because these chemicals are out-of-sight, out-of-mind, we assume they cannot harm us after we flush them down the sink. However, most water treatment infrastructures were not designed to remove synthetic organic chemicals like those found in opioids, personal care products and pharmaceuticals. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Break it down: Understanding the formation of chemical byproducts during water treatment

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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