SCIENCE NEWS: Updates from the State of the San Lorenzo Symposium; DWR research vessel helps monitor climate change in Delta; How a team of scientists studying drought helped build the world’s leading famine prediction model; To bugs in streams, fine sediment is not so fine; and more …

Heart of Santa Cruz: Updates from the State of the San Lorenzo Symposium: “In the shade of the redwoods, a mere stone’s throw away from Lompico Creek, interested citizens, agencies, and organizations gathered on February 29, 2020, for the State of the San Lorenzo Symposium. This annual meeting provides an update on research, conservation, and management in Santa Cruz’s local watershed. Since last year’s meeting was held near where the San Lorenzo River meets the sea, this year’s symposium took place in the upper watershed in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Presentations described new developments within the watershed, ongoing efforts to manage and restore habitats, challenges with invasive species, insights from monitoring programs, and the many unique animals that call the San Lorenzo home. … ”  Read more from FishBio here: Heart of Santa Cruz: Updates from the State of the San Lorenzo Symposium

DWR research vessel helps monitor climate change in Delta:  “This April marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and to commemorate its theme of “climate action” the Department of Water Resources (DWR) is highlighting an important tool used for detecting the impacts of climate change in California’s Delta region; its research vessel, the Sentinel.  The flagship of DWR’s Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP), the Sentinel is used as a floating laboratory that monitors water quality and ecosystem biology in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Estuaries. … ”  Read more from DWR News here:  DWR research vessel helps monitor climate change in Delta

How a team of scientists studying drought helped build the world’s leading famine prediction model:  “The Indian Ocean seemed ready to hit Africa with a one-two punch. It was September 2019, and the waters off the Horn of Africa were ominously hot. Every few years, natural swings in the ocean can lead to such a warming, drastically altering weather on land—and setting the stage for flooding rains in East Africa. But at the same time, a second ocean shift was brewing. An unusually cold pool of water threatened to park itself south of Madagascar, leading to equally extreme, but opposite, weather farther south on the continent: drought. … ”  Read more from Science Magazine here: How a team of scientists studying drought helped build the world’s leading famine prediction model

To bugs in streams, fine sediment is not so fine:  “Converting land for agriculture can often drastically change the above-ground plant and animal communities, increase tilling (i.e., loosening) of soil, and redirect water flow. These alterations to the landscape contribute to soil erosion and less water in nearby streams and other bodies of water; in turn, the eroded material often ends up in streams, and flow velocities in the shrunken streams decrease.  The maintenance of current or development of further agricultural land under modern practices has the potential to exacerbate these impacts on streams and their inhabitants. … ”  Read more from EnviroBites here: To bugs in streams, fine sediment is not so fine

The beautiful geometry of short-eared owls:  “I’m not usually masochistic. But then I spent three months this winter trying to observe extremely elusive short eared owls in a busy park in the inner Bay Area. (I’ll omit the location in order to preserve a semblance of their privacy.) From this I learned patience, frustration, and futility. Each outing was a Zen exercise in holding no expectations. Each day’s outcome disconnected from the one before. Short eared owls exquisitely randomize their behavior. One afternoon’s success did not build on the next. It took me three months to recognize the larger patterns of their movements. ... ”  Read more from Bay Nature here: The beautiful geometry of short-eared owls

Carbon emissions are plummeting, but researchers say it’s still not enough:  “With the dramatic reduction in car traffic and commercial flights, carbon emissions have been falling around the globe. If the slowdown continues, some are estimating the world could see the largest drop in emissions in the last century.  Still, overall greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere are still going up and the decline will likely be smaller than what scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.  So far, the effects are just starting to appear. In China, the first country to lock down, greenhouse gas emissions dropped an estimated 25% in February as factories and industrial producers slowed output. That decreased coal burning, which has come back slowly since then. ... ”  Read more from KQED here: Carbon emissions are plummeting, but researchers say it’s still not enough

From deep water to the surface: The nexus between climate, upwelling and marine ecosystems:  “Upwelling is a process in which deep, cold water rises toward the surface. Typically, water that rises to the surface as a result of upwelling is colder and rich in nutrients. This is the reason why coastal upwelling ecosystems are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world and support many of the world’s most important fisheries.   For example, the Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems (EBUS), such as the California Current System (CalCS), the Canary Current System (CanCS), the Humboldt Current System (HCS), and the Benguela Current System (BenCS), are among the most productive marine ecosystems, supplying up to 20% of the global fish catches, although they only cover approximately 1% of the total ocean. ... ”  Read more from PhysOrg here: From deep water to the surface: The nexus between climate, upwelling and marine ecosystems

Featured image credit: Pollution solutions, from Pacific Northwest National Labs via Flickr

Maven’s XKCD Comic Pick of the Week …

 

 


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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