Monday, June 11, 2018

6/11 Worm, plankton, PS Pipe, Pope's climate, Trump science, eat plastic, farmed fish, murrelet, bioblitz

Earthworm [Slater Museum]
Earthworm Lumbricus sp.
Although we can go long times without seeing one, earthworms are among the most common and widespread organisms. They are under our feet, ubiquitous in moist soils. Their abundance can be seen after a rain, when many of them come to the surface. Crawling above ground, some become stranded on sidewalks and streets.... Earthworms are very efficient dirt-eaters. They take in bits of the soil through which they burrow and extract nutrients from the organic matter they digest. Their feces fertilize the soil even after they have extracted most nutrients, and their burrowing aerates the soil to the advantage of plant roots and the abundant soil fauna. They can also come to the surface and take in organic detritus such as pieces of dead leaves through their suckerlike mouth.(Slater Museum of Natural History)

Orange plankton bloom is not a good sign for ecological health
If you notice an orange tint to the waters of Central Puget Sound, it’s not your imagination. It is a dense plankton bloom dominated by the dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans. Noctiluca is often seen in some numbers at this time of year, but it may be a bit more intense this time around, according to Christopher Krembs, an oceanographer with the Washington Department of Ecology.... The orange-colored species does not produce any toxins found to be harmful to humans, but it is not exactly a friendly organism either. It often shows up in marine waters that are out of balance with nutrients or impaired in some other way. It can gobble up other plankton that feed tiny fish and other creatures, but it does not seem to provide a food supply that interests very many species — probably because of its ammonia content. Consequently, Noctiluca is often referred to as a “dead end” in the food web. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways) See also: Puget Sound waters are turning orange and Washington snow is pink  (Tacoma News Tribune)

Concerns raised over Canada's plans to buy pipeline serving March Point refineries
Environmental and indigenous groups said Thursday they are worried Canada may soon own the Puget Sound Pipeline that delivers crude oil to refineries in Whatcom and Skagit counties. They are concerned the 69-mile pipeline may be expanded or the amount of oil that flows through it may be increased. They are also concerned about plans to expand the larger Trans Mountain Pipeline that runs through Canada and connects with the local pipeline.... The Puget Sound Pipeline supplies two refineries in Whatcom County and two in Skagit County — the Andeavor Anacortes Refinery and Shell Puget Sound Refinery — with Alberta tar sands oil. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Spill at Kinder Morgan station near Kamloops, B.C. was larger than first stated by province  (CBC)

Climate change: Pope urges action on clean energy
Pope Francis has said climate change is a challenge of "epochal proportions" and that the world must convert to clean fuel. "Civilisation requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilisation," he said. He was speaking to a group of oil company executives at the end of a two-day conference in the Vatican. Firms present included ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Norway's Equinor and Pemex of Mexico. (BBC)

In the Trump Administration, Science Is Unwelcome. So Is Advice.
As President Trump prepares to meet Kim Jong-un of North Korea to negotiate denuclearization, a challenge that has bedeviled the world for years, he is doing so without the help of a White House science adviser or senior counselor trained in nuclear physics. Mr. Trump is the first president since 1941 not to name a science adviser, a position created during World War II to guide the Oval Office on technical matters ranging from nuclear warfare to global pandemics. As a businessman and president, Mr. Trump has proudly been guided by his instincts. Nevertheless, people who have participated in past nuclear negotiations say the absence of such high-level expertise could put him at a tactical disadvantage in one of the weightiest diplomatic matters of his presidency.  Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

Orca pod cruises through Victoria's Inner Harbour during hour-long visit
A pod of killer whales made a rare appearance in Victoria’s Inner Harbour Thursday, frolicking not far from the British Columbia legislature. The group of four or five orcas, including a large male and what appeared to be a calf, brought vessel traffic to a near standstill and delayed floatplane activity during the roughly hour-long visit. (Canadian Press)

One scientist's solution to our plastic problem: Eat it
A scientist at Oregon State University is developing edible food packing as well as edible coating for fruits and vegetables. Her goals: reduce plastic waste and keep food fresher longer. In this debut episode of ReInventors, host Katie Herzog visits Yanyun Zhao in her lab for a taste test. (KCTS)

Despite WA ban on farmed salmon, BC impacts may flow across border
A high-profile salmon escape led to a ban on salmon farms in Washington earlier this year. But just across the border, scientists say salmon farms in British Columbia expose migrating fish from Puget Sound to potential maladies like parasites, bacteria and dangerous viruses. They say simply getting rid of salmon farms in Washington does not put the potential impacts to rest. Eric Wagner reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Expedition off Haida Gwaii will explore underwater volcanoes — live online
The protection and understanding of underwater mountains near the islands of Haida Gwaii in British Columbia will be the focus of a new partnership — and expedition involving four groups — announced Friday. Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it's joining forces with the Haida Nation, Oceana Canada and Ocean Networks Canada to share resources and knowledge about seamounts. It says seamounts, or underwater mountains, are internationally recognized as highly structured environments that are ideal for coral and sponge growth and as foraging habitat for fish and other marine life. (Canadian Press)

Oregon Reverses Course On Increasing Protections For An Imperiled Seabird
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has decided not to elevate the endangered species status of the marbled murrelet after all. The board reversed its earlier vote on the issue at a meeting Thursday. Commissioners had voted in February to change the “threatened” status of the seabird to “endangered.” But Commissioner Bob Webber, who changed his vote once in February to support the up-listing, changed it back on Thursday. He said new information changed the way he was thinking about the issue. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Bioblitz At Wolf Haven Will Use Citizen Scientists To Document Species Of South Sound Prairie
About fifty citizen scientists and volunteer experts are converging in the south Sound Saturday for a "bioblitz." That’s when people get together for a few hours and try to document as many species as possible in one place. This bioblitz is organized by the Washington office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s taking place at Wolfhaven International in Tenino, which has one of the more intact prairie ecosystems in the region.   Americorps volunteer Ruthie Aldrich will be leading the blitz. She says Puget Sound prairies are unsung heroes of our environment because they clean our drinking water. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)


Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  147 AM PDT Mon Jun 11 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt rising to 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon.  Wind waves 1 ft or less building to 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W  swell 4 ft at 8 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt easing to 10 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft subsiding to 1 ft or less after midnight. SW  swell 4 ft at 9 seconds.
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