SCIENCE NEWS: How many Central Valley salmon come from hatcheries?; Pacific Northwest woodlands less vulnerable to drought; New study explores ecosystem stability; US groundwater in peril; and more …

In science news this week:

Clips and codes: How many Central Valley salmon come from hatcheries?  “Every year, hundreds of thousands of adult Chinook salmon race upstream to their spawning grounds in the tributaries and mainstems of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. But sometimes, salmon get mixed up about which river they should return to for spawning. Following the 2016 fall-run migration season, we shared our surprising results of adult salmon monitoring on the Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers. Despite the intense drought that began in 2011, and the underwhelming ocean harvest for the 2016 season, we saw a record-breaking number of salmon return to the Stanislaus River, and the second largest return we’d ever recorded on the Tuolumne River. ... ”  Read more from FishBio here:  Clips and codes: How many Central Valley salmon come from hatcheries?

Pacific Northwest woodlands will be less vulnerable to drought, fire than Rocky Mountain, Sierra forests:  “Forests in the Pacific Northwest will be less vulnerable to drought and fire over the next three decades than those in the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada, computer modeling by researchers in Oregon State University’s College of Forestry shows.  The findings, published today in Global Change Biology, represent an important tool for scientists and land managers because woodlands throughout the western United States are under increasing stress from accelerated rates of drought-related mortality related to global, human-caused climate change. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Pacific Northwest woodlands will be less vulnerable to drought, fire than Rocky Mountain, Sierra forests

New study explores ecosystem stability:  “In an era of rapid ecological change, scientists are turning to historical periods of persistence to better understand what drives stability. A team from the California Academy of Sciences and the Field Museum of Natural History has examined the structural complexity of ancient ecosystems by looking at the number of species and how they’re organized by function, such as top predators or decomposers. All stable ecosystems have species grouped by function, and the study found that these functional groupings are more important to an ecosystem’s stability than the sheer number of species present. Surprisingly, the study also found that among simulated systems of equal but different complexity, those representing actual ancient ecosystems tended to be more stable. The team is now investigating why certain functional compositions are better than others and how those structures arise over time. Understanding the organization of stable ecosystems of the past allows scientists to better predict whether modern human impacts have pushed our current planetary system past a point of recovering to its original state. … ”  Read more from PhysOrg here:  New study explores ecosystem stability

US groundwater in peril:  “The U.S. groundwater supply is smaller than originally thought, according to a new research study that includes a University of Arizona hydrologist.  The study provides important insights into the depths of underground fresh and brackish water in some of the most prominent sedimentary basins across the U.S.  The research by scientists from the University of Saskatchewan, the UA and the University of California, Santa Barbara was published Nov. 14 in Environmental Research Letters. “We found that potable groundwater supplies in the U.S. do not go as deep as previously reported, meaning there is less groundwater for human and agricultural uses,” said Jennifer McIntosh, a University of Arizona Distinguished Scholar and professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  US groundwater in peril

Lake Erie algal blooms ‘seeded’ internally by overwintering cells in lake-bottom sediments: “Western Lake Erie’s annual summer algal blooms are triggered, at least in part, by cyanobacteria cells that survive the winter in lake-bottom sediments, then emerge in the spring to “seed” the next year’s bloom, according to a research team led by University of Michigan scientists.  The findings advance scientists’ understanding of the basic biology driving the annual summer blooms, which are both an unsightly nuisance and a potential public health hazard. In addition, the work identifies a mechanism to explain the rapid increase in Lake Erie bloom size and spatial extent in early summer. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here: Lake Erie algal blooms ‘seeded’ internally by overwintering cells in lake-bottom sediments

The Tragedy of the Commons, Revisited: “Fifty years ago, in December, 1968, Garrett Hardin published his seminal article “The Tragedy of the Commons” in Science. The article has been incredibly influential in a variety of academic disciplines as well as in public policy. It’s read annually by legions of high schoolers and undergrads. You probably read it yourself and have almost certainly heard it discussed. Remember, there’s a bunch of sheep herders who share a pasture openly. Each individual rationally expands the number of sheep in his flock, but since they all do it, they exceed the carrying capacity of the land, leading inevitably to ruin. … ”  Read more from Science Magazine here:  The Tragedy of the Commons, Revisited

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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