SCIENCE NEWS: How wildfires are polluting rivers and threatening water supplies; Soaring views and hawks highlight new Jenner Headlands Preserve; Steelhead life cycle linked to environment, pink salmon abundance; and more …

“Tapestry” from USGS Earth as Art 5 Collection

In science news this week:

How wildfires are polluting rivers and threatening water supplies:  “Cameron Falls in Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park runs cold and clear in summer, when as many as a half-million people come to canoe, fish, hike, and bike in this pristine Rocky Mountain landscape along the Alberta/Montana border. On very rare occasions, it runs a Pepto Bismol pink when heavy rains stir up argillite, a red mudstone that is found upstream. But on June 21, residents, tourists, and park officials were shocked to see the waterfalls suddenly running pitch black. Heavy rain had flushed in soot, ash, and charred tree debris from a fire that burned most of the 195-square-mile park the year before. … ”  Read more from Yale 360 here:  How wildfires are polluting rivers and threatening water supplies

Soaring Views and Hawks Highlight New Jenner Headlands Preserve:  “A bold landform rises from the ocean’s edge just north of the Russian River mouth, in Sonoma County, and above it a highway of hawks forms in the fall. Southbound raptors ride a band of air that’s shaped in part by the weather, in part by the Jenner Headlands terrain.  On a warm September day, four or five sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks may be in view at once within this sweeping landscape. These slender brown birds of prey, distinguished by their small size and their flap-and-glide flight styles, belong to the genus Accipiter, known for eating songbirds, especially in woodlands. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  Soaring Views and Hawks Highlight New Jenner Headlands Preserve

Stats help take stock of fish stocking efforts:  “In the year 1100 CE, someone left a message in a runic stone saying that a person named Ailifr Algr had stocked trout into the mountain lake Rausjøen in eastern Norway. As this ancient message demonstrates, people have been stocking fish for a very long time. However, the modern process is a little more sophisticated than it was back in Ailifr’s day. Fisheries biologists and managers ideally go to great lengths to maximize the benefits and minimize the harmful effects of stocking, which can be a very complex process involving ecological, social, and economic trade-offs.  … ”  Read more from the FishBio blog here:  Stats help take stock of fish stocking efforts

Even an Anemone Can Tell the Difference Between “Self” and “Other”: “A long time ago, on a little blue planet tucked away in a galaxy called the Milky Way, a great adventure took place. We don’t know exactly when it happened, but it must have been very shortly after the evolution of the first living cells. First, some small prokaryotic cell walled itself off from its surroundings. By doing so, it defined the biological concept of “self”. Then it learned how to divide and make copies of itself, forming a clone of genetically identical units. Sooner or later, however, our clone of cells encountered cells that were not genetically identical to them. These foreign cells were “other” and were recognized as such because they had a different set of markers on their outer covering. For the first time, life had distinguished “self” from “non-self”. It was a crucial step in the evolution of life on Earth. ... ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  Even an Anemone Can Tell the Difference Between “Self” and “Other”

Steelhead life cycle linked to environment, pink salmon abundance: “A Simon Fraser University study has found that steelhead trout have a remarkable life-cycle variation that responds to changes in temperature and numbers of other species of salmon. They may go to the ocean when they are only a year old and the size of a pinky finger, or when they are five years old and the size of a standard ruler. The study appears this week in the journal Ecosphere.  Researchers found that the steelhead trout age of migration, as well as their size and numbers, is controlled by a combination of temperature, co-occurring salmon, and other factors. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Steelhead life cycle linked to environment, pink salmon abundance

Acidic oceans stink for fish:  “Well, not literally. But recent research proves that acidic oceans do impair olfaction in sea bass, and probably other fish—and that really does stink, for everyone.  Fish sniff out safe habitats, food, suitable spawning grounds and each other—and they also use their sense of smell to avoid predators. This means that reduced olfaction can threaten their survival.  Dr. Cosima Porteus of the University of Exeter, who led the study, discussed her recent research on this issue with EM. ... ”  Read more from Environmental Monitor here:  Acidic oceans stink for fish

AI may be monitoring water supply sources soon:  “Right now, when an expert at a water treatment plant detects cyanobacteria in a sample, they have to take action quickly. Some treatment facilities can handle cyanobacteria, but many smaller systems can’t, and separate water supplies such as those from private wells are typically not tested at all.  A recent feasibility study of new artificial intelligence (AI) water monitoring technology may mean an easier, more cost-effective solution for water treatment plants—especially for smaller and more rural municipalities. … ”  Read more from the Environmental Monitor here:  AI may be monitoring water supply sources soon

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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