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SCIENCE NEWS: Crunching data on climate change and freshwater fish; International voyage aims to unravel mysteries of Pacific salmon survival; Climate change reduces forest regrowth after wildfires; and more …

Waterproofing slurry by BASF
In science news this week:

Crunching data on climate change and freshwater fish:  “While polar bears are often the face of climate change vulnerability, freshwater fish may face just as many or even greater challenges from a shifting climate. Freshwater fish are already among the most imperiled animals on the planet, and climate change represents a major threat to the numerous ecological, cultural, and economic benefits that fish provide. In addition, freshwater habitats such as lakes and streams are often naturally isolated and fragmented, meaning fish cannot disperse to more suitable areas like terrestrial animals can when faced with a unfavorable conditions. Scientists have long been assessing this threat through numerous studies that document the current effects of climate change on fish populations, as well as those seeking to predict future impacts under different scenarios. … ”  Read more from FishBio here:  Crunching data on climate change and freshwater fish

New issue of California Fish and Game available:  “The latest two issues of California Fish and Game, CDFW’s long-running scientific journal, are now available online.  Issue 104(3) features a rather dignified-looking desert spiny lizard (Sceloporus magister) on the cover. It is one of 15 species captured and documented by Cummings et. al in Biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles at the Camp Cady Wildlife Area, Mojave Desert, California and comparison with other desert locations. The paper’s eight authors spent months in the Mojave desert location, trapping and identifying its inhabitants. The finding were combined with a review of scientific literature to document the biological diversity of the area in comparison to other desert habitats. … ”  Continue reading at the Department of Fish and Wildlife here:  New issue of California Fish and Game available

International voyage aims to unravel mysteries of Pacific salmon survival: “An international team of biologists is setting out into some of the roughest waters in the North Pacific Ocean in the middle of winter to try to solve the fundamental mystery of Pacific salmon: What determines whether they live or die?  Perhaps the most critical, but least known, part of the salmon life cycle is the few years the fish spend on the high seas, gaining energy to return to their home rivers and spawn. This is where most of the salmon that stream out of Northwest and Alaska rivers each year disappear, most never to be seen again. Now the science team is headed into the remote Gulf of Alaska to try to find out which fish survive, and why. … ”  Read more from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center here:  International voyage aims to unravel mysteries of Pacific salmon survival

Climate change reduces forest regrowth after wildfires:  “The wildfire that swept through northern California this past November was one of the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history. Wildfires can consume everything in their paths, and forever change the local communities and the lives they leave in their wake. While it may take a long time for these communities to rebuild after these natural disasters, what is often missed is how the forest will rebuild itself. It turns out forests are struggling to come back, and climate change might have something to do with it. … ”  Read more from EnviroBites here:  Climate change reduces forest regrowth after wildfires

Research forms complex picture of mercury pollution in a period of global change: “Climate change and the loss of wetlands may contribute to increased levels of mercury concentrations in coastal fish, according to a Dartmouth College study.  The finding implies that forces directly associated with global change — including increased precipitation and land use modifications — will raise levels of the toxic metal that enter the marine food chain.  Estuaries, including coastal wetlands, provide much of the seafood that is harvested for human consumption and also serve as important feeding grounds for larger marine fish. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Research forms complex picture of mercury pollution in a period of global change

Monarchs are disappearing in the Western US.  What’s happening?  “Four women walk through a meadow of green, knee-high grass with white gauze nets in their hands. Three are interns, one is an expert, but all of them are looking for butterflies. Not the orange painted lady variety that fools wing watchers often, but monarchs. Monarchs are larger, more vibrant and less abundant.  The crew is working within Idaho’s Curlew National Grassland, barely a handful of miles north of the Utah border. It’s the biggest monarch butterfly breeding site the U.S. Forest Service manages in the Intermountain West. While eastern monarch butterflies fly south to Mexico for the winter, most western monarchs migrate to the California coast. The netters at Curlew try to tag them en route. … ”  Read more from the Cool Green Science blog here:  Monarchs are disappearing in the Western US.  What’s happening?

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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