Ocean currents off the continental shelf of North America; Photo by NASA

SCIENCE NEWS: New threat facing Lahontan Cutthroat Trout at Independence Lake: hybridization; Scanning for lifeforms: The Aquatic eDNAtlas Project; Understanding microbiomes in salmon hatcheries; and more …

New threat facing Lahontan Cutthroat Trout at Independence Lake: hybridization:  “The news out of UC Davis last spring knocked California native fish biologists for a loop.  Genetic testing of native Lahontan cutthroat trout from Independence Lake in the Tahoe National Forest near Truckee found evidence of hybridization with non-native rainbow trout.  To understand the magnitude of that news you have to understand that Independence Lake is the only lake in California – and just one of two lakes in the world – to support a self-sustaining lake population of Lahontan cutthroat trout, a trout native to the eastern Sierra range and the Lahontan basin of Nevada. And you have to understand that for decades, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) biologists – joined by colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conservation groups including The Nature Conservancy and Trout Unlimited – have worked to safeguard these fish, enhance their habitat, and reduce competition from non-native brook trout, brown trout and Kokanee salmon introduced over the years into Independence Lake. … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here:  New threat facing Lahontan Cutthroat Trout at Independence Lake: hybridization

Everything you wanted to know about red tides:  “A red tide offshore Southern California is bringing a spectacular display of bioluminescence to beaches at night. From glowing waves seen at several San Diego beaches to swirls of electric blue light stirred by dolphins gliding through the water off Newport Beach, photos and videos of the phenomenon are making the rounds on social media. But what is the science behind this natural light show?  Bioluminescence expert Michael Latz, a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, said the red tide is due to aggregations of the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedra, a species well known for its bioluminescent displays. Each microscopic cell contains some “sunscreen,” giving it a reddish-brown color. On sunny days, the organisms swim toward the surface where they concentrate, resulting in the intensified coloration of the water—and the reason for the term “red tide.” At night, when the phytoplankton are agitated by waves or other movement in the water, they emit a dazzling neon blue glow. ... ”  Continue reading at Scripps Institute of Oceanography here: Everything you wanted to know about red tides

Scanning for lifeforms: The Aquatic eDNAtlas Project:  “Hidden beneath the water’s surface in murky swamps, deep lakes, and rushing rivers, aquatic organisms are frequently entirely invisible to passersby, and are often undetectable even to the scientists seeking them out. However, technological advances are making it easier for researchers to find rare and cryptic freshwater fish, amphibians, invertebrates, and mammals. All animals leave traces of genetic material in their environment, and for those organisms living in water, this means their DNA is constantly being shed into the rivers or lakes where they reside. Like something out of Star Trek, scientists can essentially scan for lifeforms by filtering this environmental DNA (eDNA) out of the water and utilizing molecular techniques to either detect a certain species or to assess the composition of the entire aquatic community. … ”  Read more from FishBio here: Scanning for lifeforms: The Aquatic eDNAtlas Project

Research highlight: understanding microbiomes in salmon hatcheries:  “Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the University of Tasmania have found that different hatchery systems for salmon greatly influence the microbial communities of the fish, which in turn may influence their overall health. These findings, published April 17 in the journal Applied Environmental Microbiology, could have impacts that determine which hatchery methods produce healthier and greater volumes of salmon. ... ”  Read more from Scripps Institute of Oceanography here: Research highlight: understanding microbiomes in salmon hatcheries

On-the-ground guidance for L.A.’s far-reaching climate strategy:  “Los Angeles’ ambitious plan to cool the city as the planet grows warmer is getting a boost from two university professors and a street-smart robot named MaRTy.  The researchers from UCLA and Arizona State University have completed the first on-site evaluation of the city’s Cool Streets program, one of several sustainability strategies outlined in Los Angeles’ 2019 Green New Deal. … ”  Read more from PhsyOrg here:  On-the-ground guidance for L.A.’s far-reaching climate strategy

Power plant carbon capture could strain water supplies:  “Our energy and water systems are inextricably linked. Climate change necessitates that we transition to carbon-free energy and also that we conserve water resources as they become simultaneously more in demand and less available. Policymakers, business leaders, and scientists seeking to address the urgency of climate change are increasingly looking to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) to help meet global climate goals. While CCS minimizes emissions from the combustion of fuels, its impact on global water resources has not been widely explored. New research(link is external) shows that CCS could stress water resources in about 43% of the world’s power plants where water scarcity is already a problem. Further, the technology deployed in these water-scarce regions matters, and emerging CCS technologies could greatly mitigate the demand CCS places on water consumption. ... ”  Read more from UC Berkeley here:  Power plant carbon capture could strain water supplies

Covid-19 forces spring science field work to go fallow:  “During a normal May, Jill Anderson would be loading a U-Haul with supplies, saying goodbye to her family, and driving west from her home in Athens, Georgia, to an abandoned silver mining town high in the Colorado Rockies. That’s where Anderson, a genetic ecologist studying climate change, and dozens of other researchers gather each summer to study plants, animals, and the environment at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory.  Every year, she drives mustard seedlings up to the mountains and plants them at different altitudes and climate zones. Then she returns with several graduate students each summer to check how the mustard plants—and, by proxy, other forms of vegetation—are adapting to a rapidly changing climate. … ”  Read more from Wired Magazine here: Covid-19 forces spring science field work to go fallow

Recent changes in United States extreme 3-day precipitation using the R-CAT Scale:  “CW3E recent PhD graduate Maryam Lamjiri, along with co-authors CW3E Director F. Martin Ralph and longtime CW3E collaborator Mike Dettinger (newly minted CW3E “visiting researcher”), published a paper in the Journal of Hydrometeorology titled “Recent Changes in United States Extreme 3-Day Precipitation Using the R-CAT Scale” (Lamjiri et al. 2020). This work is a part of CW3E’s ongoing effort to understand and improve the predictions of extreme precipitation and support emergency preparedness and resource management in the western United States. This effort includes monitoring and projections of climate variability and change, and the new study in particular strives to provide new insights from weather and climate observations to understand changes in the most extreme events, changes that may already be happening in the US. ... ”  Read more from the Center for Western Weather & Water Extremes here: Recent changes in United States extreme 3-day precipitation using the R-CAT Scale

Scientists find plastic hotspots in the deep ocean:  “Scientists have discovered microplastic hotspots on the ocean floor, formed by deep-sea currents that act as conveyor belts moving tiny plastic fragments around. One such hotspot, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, part of the Mediterranean Sea, had 1.9 million microplastic pieces on just one square meter, according to a new study published in the journal Science. … ”  Read more from Yale E360 here: Scientists find plastic hotspots in the deep ocean

Featured image credit: Ocean currents off the continental shelf of North America; Photo by NASA via Flickr

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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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