Tuesday, June 26, 2018

6/26 Jellies, sea star disease, troubled pikas, NOAA 'vision,' beaver benefits

Moon jelly metropolis [Laurie MacBride]
Mysterious Worlds at Hand
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "On a magical morning a few weeks ago, I watched in awe from our boat as a virtual metropolis of luminous moon jellies and other planktonic creatures drifted through our anchorage. As the long, waving curtain of strange and wonderful life forms pulsated alongside and past me, the effect was like watching an underwater aurora – an extraordinary moving light show in slow motion.... (read more)"

Sea Stars Started Dissolving. What Helped Some of Them Survive?
In the summer of 2013, the ochre sea stars of the California coast fell victim to a deadly plague.... More than 80 percent of the ochre sea stars on the northern coast died as a result of that outbreak of sea star wasting syndrome, as the disease is called. In the wake of the devastation, Dr. Schiebelhut and her colleagues looked at the survivors and wondered: Did they have something that the dead did not? In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they report a detectable difference between the genes of sea stars before the epidemic and the survivors. Genetic tests also show that new generations of sea stars have more in common with the survivors than with past generations — the events of 2013 seem to have left an indelible mark on the sea star’s gene pool. Veronique Greenwood reports. (NY Times)

Washington's pikas are in even more trouble than scientists thought
Pikas are little rabbit-like mammals that could fit in the palm of your hand. They’re often seen scurrying around rocky alpine slopes with their mouths full of wildflowers. Pikas like it cold, so, as the climate has warmed, they’ve disappeared from lower elevations where they used to live. For years, scientists thought pikas were adapting to climate change by moving uphill. But new research indicates the news is even worse than that. Pikas aren’t adapting to climate change by moving uphill. In fact, because of the way they move around the landscape, they’re not adapting to climate change at all. Michael Russello and his fellow researchers at the University of British Columbia used DNA sequencing to track the movements of pikas in the North Cascades. What they found was, when young pikas strike out on their own, they tend to move downhill to look for living space. And, once they get there, they’re dying off instead of establishing lower-altitude populations. Eilis O'Neill reports. (KUOW)

Ocean science agency chief floats removing ‘climate’ from mission statement and focusing on trade deficit
A recent presentation by the acting head of the United States’ top weather and oceans agency suggested removing the study of “climate” from its official mission statement, focusing the agency’s work instead on economic goals and “homeland and national security.” Critics say this would upend the mission of the $5.9 billion National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But the administration disputes that interpretation, saying the presentation did not intend to create a change of direction at a vast agency that tracks hurricanes and atmospheric carbon dioxide, operates weather satellites, manages marine reserves and protects endangered ocean species, among other functions.... But in a presentation at a Commerce Department “Vision Setting Summit” this month, Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, the agency’s acting administrator, suggested a change to that mission statement, as well as a new emphasis on tripling the size of the U.S. aquaculture industry within a decade and moving to “reduce the seafood trade deficit.” Chris Mooney and Jason Samenow report. (Washington Post) See also: Trawling for data: NOAA research ship surveys salmon, other ocean fish  Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)



The Bountiful Benefits Of Bringing Back The Beavers
Few species manipulate their surroundings enough to make big ecological changes. Humans are one. Beavers are another. At one point, the rodents numbered in the hundreds of millions in North America, changing the ecological workings of countless streams and rivers. As settlers moved West, they hunted and trapped them to near extinction. Now there are new efforts across the Western U.S. to understand what makes them tick, mimic their engineering skills, boost their numbers, and in turn, get us more comfortable with the way they transform rivers and streams. Luke Runyon reports. (NPR)



Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  221 AM PDT Tue Jun 26 2018   

TODAY  Light wind becoming W 10 to 20 kt in the afternoon. Wind  waves less than 1 ft becoming 1 to 3 ft in the afternoon. W swell  6 ft at 10 seconds. 

TONIGHT  W wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt after midnight.  Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 5 ft at 9 seconds.


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