Wednesday, August 1, 2018

8/1 Blackberry, J35, whale grief, orca breach, BC pipe protesters, 'Losing Earth,' cod, wolf spider, dredging

Himalayan blackberry [WA State Toxic Weed Board]
Himalayan blackberry Rubus discolor
Himalayan blackberry, also known as Rubus procures, is the most common introduced blackberry in our area, a favorite of berry pickers. Regardless of color, look at the way the fruits come off the plant: if they are 'hollow,' they are raspberries; it they are solid (i.e., with a central core'), they are blackberries. Either way, they are likely delicious. (Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast)

Researchers searched all day for the grieving orca mother. Then they found her, still clinging to her calf.
Researchers searched all day Tuesday for orca mother Tahlequah, or J35, who has captured worldwide attention for carrying her dead calf for a week. First, in late afternoon, members of her clan came into view. The boat full of researchers scanned the water, ruling out one whale after another. As day turned to evening and windswept seas settled, she came into view in a 1,000-foot-deep stretch of water in B.C.’s Southern Gulf Islands, as her family traveled around her. But was her baby, a calf that lived for just a half-hour, still with her, pushed along in a ritual of mourning? “It can be hard to see,” said Taylor Shedd of Soundwatch, who has been monitoring the mother at a distance. And then: “I saw it,” he said. There it was, tiny, and still held on the mother orca’s rostrum. It was day eight for Tahlequah. She has traveled hundreds of miles in that time. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times) See also: Whale Museum in Washington releases audio of the mourning mother communicating with her pod  (CBC) And also: 'It really pulls at your heartstrings when you see that,' says marine mammal co-ordinator  Briar Stewart reports. (CBC)

Killer whale holding dead calf afloat is showing human-like grief, expert says
An expert on animal emotion says a resident killer whale in the Salish Sea carrying its dead calf afloat is showing what humans would call "grief." Barbara King, professor emeritus of anthropology at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, says it wouldn't be going too far to say the animal is experiencing profound emotions at the loss of its calf, not unlike a human would. "It's not anthropomorphic to use this label for them," King told Gloria Macarenko, host of CBC's On The Coast. "Grief and love are not human qualities. They're things we share with some other animals." (CBC)

If you like to watch: Hundreds watch killer whale put on a jumping show in Comox harbour
A lone killer whale that moved into a Comox harbour more than a week ago is entertaining crowds on the local waterfront with a non-stop swimming and leaping spectacle. Comox Valley Harbour Authority spokesman Robert Clarke says there are hundreds of people on the community promenade today watching the orca breach and swim around the harbour. He says there have also been reports of the whale swimming up the Comox River which flows through the Vancouver Island community and the same animal has been seen at Union Bay, about 20 kilometres south. (Canadian Press)

Judge sends Trans Mountain pipeline protesters to jail for the first time
Two protesters arrested at a Burnaby site of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project have received the first jail terms imposed for defying a court injunction ordering opponents to not disrupt construction work. Laurie Embree, who was arrested on June 19, and Constance Lasheras, who was arrested on June 30, were each handed seven-day jail sentences after pleading guilty to criminal contempt of court in B.C. Supreme Court. Before the sentences on Tuesday, the 86 protesters who had either pleaded guilty or were found guilty following a trial had been sentenced to either fines or community work service. Keith Fraser reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change
Thirty years ago, we had a chance to save the planet. The science of climate change was settled. The world was ready to act. Almost nothing stood in our way — except ourselves. Nathaniel Rich reports. Photographs and Videos by George Steinmetz. (NY Times)

Gulf Of Alaska Cod Are Disappearing. Blame 'The Blob'
A hint of optimism creeps into Darius Kasprzak's voice as he pilots his boat, the Marona, out of Kodiak harbor on a recent calm day. "We're in the morning, we're at the start of the flood tide," he says. "This is where you want to be." He is fishing a bay on the northwestern edge of the Gulf of Alaska, about 200 miles southwest of Anchorage. The chilly waters here are some of the most productive fish habitat on Earth. In a good year, Kasprzak could catch more than 100,000 pounds of cod.... For years, Alaska fishermen like Kasprzak have worried that climate change would threaten their livelihoods. Now it has. The cod population in the Gulf of Alaska is at its lowest level on record, according to an expert at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The culprit is a warm-water mass called "the blob" that churned in the Pacific Ocean between 2013 and 2017. At its peak, the blob stretched from Alaska to South America. In the Gulf of Alaska, the cod population plummeted by more than 80 percent.  Annie Feidt reports. (NPR)

New prey for wolf spiders could be good news for climate
Under warming conditions, arctic wolf spiders’ tastes in prey might be changing, research shows. This could initiate a new cascade of food web interactions that could potentially alleviate some impacts of global warming. There are so many wolf spiders that they outweigh real wolves in the Alaskan Arctic by several orders of magnitude. Their sheer numbers make them one of the important predators on the tundra. Scientists generally agree that climate change will affect the ways in which animals interact with each other. But few studies have explored the larger picture of how these changes will alter not just individual species, but also all of the biological and physical interactions in a given environment. (Futurity)

Dredging planned in Seattle to make way for bigger ships
In 2016, we saw the future. The Benjamin Franklin, the largest cargo ship to call in Puget Sound, arrived in Elliot Bay. Cargo ships are getting bigger so, to stay competitive, the Northwest Seaport Alliance plans to dredge two waterways to create the nation's deepest seaport.... In June, leaders at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed off on a $60 million plan to dredge on both sides of Harbor Island, in what's known as the East and West Waterways. Graham Johnson reports. (KIRO)

Now, your tug weather--

West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  300 AM PDT Wed Aug 1 2018   

TODAY  W wind to 10 kt becoming NW in the afternoon. Wind waves 1  ft or less. W swell 3 ft at 8 seconds. A chance of drizzle in the  morning. 

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. W swell 3 ft at 10  seconds. A chance of drizzle.

"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato (@) Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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