In science news this week: Bustin’ berms: The restoration of Tule Red; Researchers look to wetlands to increase Delta water quality; What’s That Fish Jumping at the Shallow Bay’s Edge?; The Curious Case of the Jerusalem Cricket; It’s all in the genes: how water pollution keeps silver carp at bay; Best of Frenemies: Unexpected Role of Social Networks in Ecology; Dozens of dinosaur footprints reveal ancient ecosystem of Alaskan Peninsula; Housing developers could be the secret weapon to improving air quality; River deltas are ‘drowning,’ threatening hundreds of millions of people; and more…
Bustin’ berms: The restoration of Tule Red: “On October 15th, an excavator trundled out onto the narrow isthmus of land separating the freshwater Tule Red pond from Suisun Bay and began digging. As the salty water from Grizzly Bay began to pour through the breach, the 460-acre pond felt the push and pull of the tides for the first time in a century, beginning its transition back into marsh habitat. This reconnection represents the culmination of a three-year endeavor and is one of several ongoing efforts to restore tidal wetland ecosystems in the San Francisco Bay, which has lost an estimated 82.7% of its historic 190,135 acres of wetlands. The resurrection of this marsh will provide vitally important habitat for imperiled species like Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytsha), longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys), and Delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus). … ” Read more from FishBio here: Bustin’ berms: The restoration of Tule Red
Researchers look to wetlands to increase Delta water quality: “UC Merced Professor Peggy O’Day hopes to improve water quality in the California Delta by studying local wetlands. O’Day is leading a new three-year study of Merced County wetlands that drain into the San Joaquin River and eventually the Delta. “The Delta is sort of the heart and lungs of Northern California,” said O’Day, a geochemistry professor, founding faculty member and former chair of the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences in the School of Natural Sciences. … ” Read more from UC Merced here: Researchers look to wetlands to increase Delta water quality
What’s That Fish Jumping at the Shallow Bay’s Edge? “Fishes flip and jump for a variety of reasons. Sturgeon, for example, are thought to do it for communication. The massive, Jurassic-period descendants migrate upstream to spawn during the muddy water flows of winter and spring when it’s hard to see even inches into the water. Anyone who’s ever witnessed or experienced a belly-flop at the pool (ouch!) knows that the sound of a six-foot creature slapping the water sure gets attention! What an amazing thrill to hear the slap of a massive white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) after it leaps from the water under a moonlit sky in the spring.” Read more from Bay Nature here: What’s That Fish Jumping at the Shallow Bay’s Edge?
The Curious Case of the Jerusalem Cricket “Few insects in California are as strange as those in the genus Stenopelmatus, such as this individual spotted by one of our scientists in the field. Even more bizarre than their appearance is the wide array of common names this group has collected over the years, including potato bug, stone cricket, sand cricket, niño de la tierra (“child of the earth” in Spanish), qalatötö (“shiny bug” in Hopi), and c’ic’in lici (“red skull” in Navajo). Today they are most commonly referred to as Jerusalem crickets, and the origins of that name are a source of much debate in the scientific community.” Read more from Fishbio here: The Curious Case of the Jerusalem Cricket
It’s all in the genes: how water pollution keeps silver carp at bay. “Silver carp are a common aquatic invasive fish species found throughout the Mississippi River Basin in the United States. Brought to Arkansas from Asia in the 1970s to control algae growth, silver carp are now notoriously known for their ability to destroy healthy aquatic habitats by out-competing native fish species. You may also recognize silver carp by their propensity to leap out of the water when they are frightened or startled, which has led to many injuries of fishermen, folks engaged in water sports, and casual boaters. Silver carp abundance has sky-rocketed since their introduction, and their range has increased throughout the Mississippi River and its tributaries. “ Read more from Envirobites here: It’s all in the genes: how water pollution keeps silver carp at bay.
The Carp Show: An Inside Look at the Jumping Fish Invasion “The boat drifts to a stop near some submerged trees, the river quiet and tranquil. For the moment. “You ready for your first carp show?” asks Jim Lamer, director of the Illinois River Biological Station. Lamer and fisheries ecologist Kris Maxson have brought me to this section of the Illinois River for a morning of electrofishing. I’ve been electrofishing in a number of habitats, from Idaho spring creeks to Louisiana bayou. I’m familiar with the stunned fish on the water’s surface when researchers survey the river with electric current. But Lamer promises a bit of a different experience today.” Read more from Cool Green Science here: The Carp Show: An Inside Look at the Jumping Fish Invasion
Best of Frenemies: Unexpected Role of Social Networks in Ecology “Social networking, even between competing species, plays a much bigger role in ecology than anyone previously thought, according to three biologists at the University of California, Davis. “ Read more from UC Davis here: Best of Frenemies: Unexpected Role of Social Networks in Ecology
Atlantic high-activity eras: What does it mean for hurricane season? “Why are some Atlantic hurricane seasons more active than others? For any given season, multiple ocean and atmospheric conditions, such as El Nino or La Nina, influence whether Atlantic storms develop, how big they get and how long they last. Since 1995, we have been experiencing what scientists refer to as an active or high-activity era for Atlantic hurricane seasons — a natural, cyclical phenomenon.” Read more from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration here: Atlantic high-activity eras: What does it mean for hurricane season?
How the House Finch Conquered Your Feeder…and a Continent “At this time of year, with frost on the windows and a chill in the air, I can count on plentiful birds foraging around the habitat in our backyard. Cedar waxwings pluck berries from the trees and dark-eyed juncos scurry under shrubs. I can count on seeing American goldfinches, hairy woodpeckers, California quail, and lots and lots of house finches.” Read more from Cool Green Science here: How the House Finch Conquered Your Feeder…and a Continent
Dozens of dinosaur footprints reveal ancient ecosystem of Alaskan Peninsula “Dinosaur fossils are well-known from Alaska, most famously from areas like Denali National Park and the North Slope, but there are very few records of dinosaurs from the Alaskan Peninsula in the southwest part of the state. In this study, Fiorillo and colleagues document abundant dinosaur trackways from Aniakchak National Monument, around 670km southwest of Anchorage.” Read more from Science Daily here: Dozens of dinosaur footprints reveal ancient ecosystem of Alaskan Peninsula
Housing developers could be the secret weapon to improving air quality “In a paper published by a multinational and multidisciplinary team of researchers in the journal Environmental International, led by Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), experts argue that the international research community should put together a set of clear guidelines for developers and urban planners to follow when implementing green infrastructure — such as planting trees, hedges and green roofs — to maximise their benefits and to reverse the effects of air pollution.” Read more from Science Daily here: Housing developers could be the secret weapon to improving air quality
Climate models and geology reveal new insights into the East Asian monsoon “A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, have used climate models and geological records to better understand changes in the East Asian monsoon over long geologic time scales.” Read more from Science Daily here: Climate models and geology reveal new insights into the East Asian monsoon
New Artificial Intelligence Helps to Identify, Track Bird Species “Scientists have developed artificial intelligence that can identify 200 species of birds from just a single photo, offering another way to quickly and cheaply monitor bird populations than the traditional in-person counts often used today. The technique, created by scientists at Duke University, uses deep learning, algorithms based on the way the human brain works.” Read more from Yale Environment 360 here: New Artificial Intelligence Helps to Identify, Track Bird Species
River deltas are ‘drowning,’ threatening hundreds of millions of people “The world’s river deltas take up less than 0.5 percent of the global land area, but they are home to hundreds of millions of people. Many live in major fast-growing cities such as Kolkata in the Ganges delta, Bangkok in the Chao Phraya delta, or Shanghai, one of dozens of large cities in the Yangtze delta region.” Read more from Phys.org here: River deltas are ‘drowning,’ threatening hundreds of millions of people
Farms Can Harvest Energy Along with Food “In 2008, J. David Marley, an engineer who owned a construction firm in Amherst, Mass., had an idea. He had just finished building a large solar array on the rooftop of his downtown office building.” Read more from Scientific American here: Farms Can Harvest Energy Along with Food
Lisa’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