UC Davis, DWR, and USGS drop cages to culture Delta smelt in wild river conditions

SCIENCE NEWS: New videos put restitution to work for imperiled coho salmon; A fragile fleet; Abstract art? Floating laboratory? or both? And more …

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New videos put restitution to work for imperiled coho salmon

Coho salmon once supported a wealth of tribal, commercial, and recreational fisheries along the West Coast. Today some populations of the swift silvery fish are nearing extinction. The good news? We can reverse that decline, as biologists and others demonstrate in a new video series that offers hope for California’s endangered fish and wildlife species.  The video series was produced in collaboration with state and federal fish and wildlife agencies with a community service payment made by a real estate development company. … ”  Read more from NOAA Fisheries here: New videos put restitution to work for imperiled coho salmon

A fragile fleet

The naming of boats and ships is a serious matter. Each larger vessel’s name starts with a code that tells what it carries, what propels it, or what purpose it serves. If it were your hobby to keep tabs on traffic on San Francisco Bay, you’d see a lot of big UCCs (container ships) and TCHs and TCRs (tankers). You’d see ferries emblazoned with MV, standing for “motor vessel.” Before COVID-19, you would have spotted the occasional SS, standing for “single screw” but meaning a passenger liner. And if you looked hard you might see the occasional modest hull labeled RV. RV stands for research vessel. Seeing these letters, you know you’re looking at one of the indispensable craft that take scientists and their gear to collect data from the waters and sediments of San Francisco Bay and the Delta.  Watching Bay-Delta science unfold, we take for granted the little armada that keeps it all going. But, like many of the systems that quietly sustain our society, this one is showing signs of strain. … ”  Read more from Estuary News here:  A fragile fleet

Abstract art? Floating laboratory? Oakland’s buoyant ecologies float lab is both

Off the coast of Oakland’s Middle Harbor Shoreline Park floats a fiberglass structure that resembles a bulbous amoeba. About the size of a small car, the structure is defined by two hill-like mounds and an uneven corrugated surface. Seawater and rainwater have pooled in some of its valleys, and its original factory-white color has been weathered green and gray by algae.  Though hidden below the water, the underside of the structure is a mirror image of what sits above the surface—and is ultimately more important than its visible counterpart. Rather than a piece of abstract art, as it might appear to those on the shore—or perhaps in addition to this function—the structure is actually a floating laboratory exploring novel ways to adapt to climate change. … ”  Read more from Bay Nature here:  Abstract art? Floating laboratory? Oakland’s buoyant ecologies float lab is both

Trolling for salmon by kayak

Whales scare us much more than sharks. They erupt from the ocean with a rush of displaced water and a poof of air. A collision could be disastrous.   “Whale – go-go-go!” I shout.  We pedal double-time to dodge the humpback, behind us and approaching from the left. A moment later it surfaces again, with another poof, now off to our right, moving away. We relax and slow back to our standard trolling speed of about 2.5 miles per hour, and we plod forward.  My brother Andrew and I are in a pedal-powered kayak two miles from shore off the Marin County coast, where anchovies so thick they darken the water have attracted birds, porpoises, sea lions, thresher sharks, humpback whales and — our target — Chinook salmon. … ”  Read more from Estuary News here: Trolling for salmon by kayak

A watershed study for wetland restoration

Where rivers meet oceans, each cycle of the tide moves water in and out of estuaries. The mixing and mingling of fresh and briny water, combined with seasonal weather, creates a unique environment for ecosystems in coastal estuaries and upstream tidal rivers.  But what does climate change mean for these wetland communities? And how might activities such as dam operations and land development affect them?  To help answer those questions, researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Marine and Coastal Research Laboratory developed a predictive framework of ecological indicators and analyses for estuarine–tidal river research and management. … ”  Read more from Pacific Northwest National Labs here:  A watershed study for wetland restoration

How river capture affects the evolution of aquatic organisms

The evolution of organisms and of their environments is inherently linked. Although the understanding that the gene pool is dynamic has shaped much of our understanding of modern biology, it’s easy to forget that environments are also in flux.  Research has shown that geologically active areas of the planet, especially those with rugged topography, may generate more species diversity. Stokes and Perron investigate the consequences of changes in topography for aquatic organisms and their habitats. … ”  Read more from EOS here: How river capture affects the evolution of aquatic organisms

Tiny worlds reveal fundamental drivers of abundance, diversity

The natural world is astonishingly complex. After centuries of study, scientists still have much to learn about how all the species in an ecosystem coexist, for example. New research on microbial communities published in Nature Communications helps light the way to answering this fundamental question in ecology.  “What I wanted to know is, sure communities are very complicated, there are many species interacting, but if we try to describe the most important forces shaping this community, what are they?” says author Jacopo Grilli, a biological physicist at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy and a former Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute in the U.S. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Tiny worlds reveal fundamental drivers of abundance, diversity 

The scarcity or overabundance of water presents some of the most dangerous, damaging and costly threats to human life, ecosystems and property in the form of drought, floods and debris flows. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration assessment of severe weather and climate event costs found that, on average, droughts and floods cost about $9.5 billion and $4.3 billion per event, respectively. … ”  Read more from the USGS here:  USGS science to keep us safe: floods and drought

Major wind-driven ocean currents are shifting toward the poles

The severe droughts in the USA and Australia are the first sign that the tropics, and their warm temperatures, are apparently expanding in the wake of climate change. But until now, scientists have been unable to conclusively explain the reasons for this, because they were mostly focusing on atmospheric processes. Now, experts at the AWI have solved the puzzle: the alarming expansion of the tropics is not caused by processes in the atmosphere, but quite simply by warming subtropical ocean. … ”  Read more from Science Daily here:  Major wind-driven ocean currents are shifting toward the poles

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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