Tag Archives: freshwater

NASA Responds to California’s Evolving Drought

NASA is partnering with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to develop and apply new technology and products to better manage and monitor the state’s water resources and respond to its ongoing drought.

NASA scientists, DWR water managers, university researchers and other state resource management agencies will collaborate to apply advanced remote sensing and improved forecast modeling to better assess water resources, monitor drought conditions and water supplies, plan for drought response and mitigation, and measure drought impacts. (more…)

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Ancient sharks reared young in prehistoric river-delta nursery

ANN ARBOR — Like salmon in reverse, long-snouted Bandringa sharks migrated downstream from freshwater swamps to a tropical coastline to spawn 310 million years ago, leaving behind fossil evidence of one of the earliest known shark nurseries.

That’s the surprising conclusion of University of Michigan paleontologist Lauren Sallan and a University of Chicago colleague, who reanalyzed all known specimens of Bandringa, a bottom-feeding predator that lived in an ancient river delta system that spanned what is today the Upper Midwest. (more…)

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The Black Sea is a Goldmine of Ancient Genetic Data

New Study Reconstructs the Past Ocean ‘Paleome’

When Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) marine paleoecologist Marco Coolen was mining through vast amounts of genetic data from the Black Sea sediment record, he was amazed about the variety of past plankton species that left behind their genetic makeup (i.e., the plankton paleome).

The semi-isolated Black Sea is highly sensitive to climate driven environmental changes, and the underlying sediments represent high-resolution archives of past continental climate and concurrent hydrologic changes in the basin. The brackish Black Sea is currently receiving salty Mediterranean waters via the narrow Strait of Bosphorus as well as freshwater from rivers and via precipitation. (more…)

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An Ancient Biosonar Sheds New Light on the Evolution of Echolocation in Toothed Whales

Some thirty million years ago, Ganges river dolphins diverged from other toothed whales, making them one of the oldest species of aquatic mammals that use echolocation, or biosonar, to navigate and find food. This also makes them ideal subjects for scientists working to understand the evolution of echolocation among toothed whales.

New research, led by Frants Havmand Jensen, a Danish Council for Independent Research | Natural Sciences postdoctoral fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, shows that freshwater dolphins produce echolocation signals at very low sound intensities compared to marine dolphins, and that Ganges river dolphins echolocate at surprisingly low sound frequencies. The study, “Clicking in shallow rivers,” was published in the journal PLOS ONE. (more…)

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Scientists Uncover Vast Differences in Earth’s Polar Ocean Microbial Communities

ANN ARBOR— An international team of scientists, including a University of Michigan graduate student, has demonstrated that a clear difference exists between the marine microbial communities in the Southern and Arctic oceans, contributing to a better understanding of the biodiversity of marine life at the poles.

The most comprehensive comparison of microbial diversity at both of Earth’s polar oceans showed that about 75 percent of the organisms at each pole are different. This insight sheds light on newly recognized biodiversity patterns and reinforces the importance of studying Earth’s polar regions in the face of a changing climate. And it highlights the need for further research on the impacts of sea ice, seasonal shifts and freshwater input in both regions. (more…)

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Yale Study Reveals New Family Tree for Ray-Finned Fish

The most common lineages of fish found today in oceans, lakes, and rivers evolved about the same time as mammals and birds, a new Yale University-led study shows.

The comparative genetic analysis of more than 200 fish species, reported the week of Aug. 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, gave an earlier than expected evolutionary birthday to well-known teleost — or ray-finned — fish such as salmon, bass, or tuna.

The analysis also shows that the very earliest lineages of living teleost fish were eels and bonefishes, not tropical freshwater bonytongue fish as some scientists had proposed. (more…)

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Russian River Water Unexpected Culprit Behind Arctic Freshening

A hemispherewide phenomenon – and not just regional forces – has caused record-breaking amounts of freshwater to accumulate in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea.

Frigid freshwater flowing into the Arctic Ocean from three of Russia’s mighty rivers was diverted hundreds of miles to a completely different part of the ocean in response to a decades-long shift in atmospheric pressure associated with the phenomenon called the Arctic Oscillation, according to findings published in the Jan. 5 issue of Nature. (more…)

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Aquarius to Illuminate Links Between Salt, Climate

When NASA’s salt-seeking Aquarius instrument ascends to the heavens this June, the moon above its launch site at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base won’t be in the seventh house, and Jupiter’s latest alignment with Mars will be weeks in the past, in contrast to the lyrics of the song from the popular Broadway musical “Hair.” Yet for the science team eagerly awaiting Aquarius’ ocean surface salinity data, the dawning of NASA’s “Age of Aquarius” promises revelations on how salinity is linked to Earth’s water cycle, ocean circulation and climate.

Salinity – the concentration of salt – on the ocean surface is a key missing puzzle piece in satellite studies of Earth that will improve our understanding of how the ocean and atmosphere are coupled and work in tandem to affect our climate. While satellites already measure sea surface temperature and winds, rainfall, water vapor, sea level, and ocean color, measurements of ocean surface salinity have, until quite recently, been limited to sparse data collected from ships, buoys and a small number of airborne science campaigns. (more…)

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