September 1, 2017

Story and photos
by Charles S. Potter Jr./McGraw
If I never experience it again, it was one of life's moving moments. Being in the "totality" zone of the solar eclipse was more special than words can really describe, or pictures can capture.

As I sat in a camping chair high in the mountains of southern Idaho, a spiritual event happened that brings into focus why earlier civilizations created gods and carried out sacrifices when the sun went black during the light of day. All in one it was eerie, imaginative, spooky and awe inspiring.

The buildup to this event captured the attention of the nation. For the largely rural areas of where the moon would fully block the sun, there were dire predictions of massive traffic, shortages of food and gas, warnings of no hotel rooms. Well, the hotel room shortage was real -- but the rest of the hype proved to be just that.
Invasive Species Clogging Chicago's
Montrose Harbor
By Stefano Esposito/Sun-Times
Photo by Center for Lakes and Reservoirs/flickr
Its tendrils slither toward the surface, sometimes advancing inches each day from the gloomy depths.

Heaps of the stuff, glistening in the summer sun, lie along the edge of Chicago's Montrose Harbor - evidence of the so-far failed effort to defeat it. Just beneath the surface of the water, it swarms like giant tangles of swamp-green yarn.

"It's terrible, It gets in the props. [It's] all over the place," said Ira Myerson, 69, who owns a 27-foot sailboat that's been moored at Montrose since 1985.

He's talking about an invasive weed, Eurasian water milfoil, that's common along the lakefront but, for some reason, has choked the waters at Montrose the hardest this year.
Eclipse Blamed for Atlantic Salmon Escape
By Kara Kostanich/KOMO
Photo by Maritime Museum at Norwalk/flickr
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is calling all fishermen to help catch thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon that were accidentally released just off Cypress Island in the San Juan Islands.

Cooke Aquaculture had a net pen failure that caused the release of Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound.

The company says 305,000 fish were in the net pen but believes only up to 5,000 escaped.

The company released a statement to KOMO News that said in part, "Exceptionally high tides and currents coinciding with this week's solar eclipse caused damage to a salmon farm that has been in operation near Cypress Island for approximately 30 years."

Salmon managers with WDFW are encouraging anglers to catch and keep the fish.
Cities' Impact on Rivers is Far-Reaching
By Sarah DeWeerdt/Anthropecene
Photo by Mariano Mantel/flickr
Throughout history, cites and towns have often been established along the banks of rivers, because these waterways provided a source of drinking water, power, and transport links to other communities. The effects of our settlements on those riverbanks - on terrestrial ecosystems - are easy to see. But because we're mostly land animals, the urban transformation of environments below the water's surface has gone relatively unnoticed.

Now, researchers have undertaken the first comprehensive study of how the infrastructure of U.S. cities alters rivers and their biodiversity. The effects are extensive, they reported yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, extending both upstream and downstream for tens or even thousands of kilometers like the branches of a nerve cell.

The researchers used data on river hydrology from the U.S. Geological Survey in a computer model to determine the effects of urban land transformation, electric power, and municipal water supplies on rivers nationwide. They also pulled information from a fine-grained database of species occurrence to assess the biodiversity of freshwater fish, mussels, and crayfish in urban-affected stream reaches.
Lionfish May Not Be Exactly What They Seem
By Clay Steell/Hakai
Photo by Mandy Janesn/flickr
It's been more than 20 years since one of the most destructive invasive species in history was released off the coast of Florida. Originally from the Indian and Pacific Oceans, predatory lionfish have invaded the western Atlantic Ocean, spreading from the American east coast through the Caribbean to southern Brazil, devastating coastal ecosystems with their voracious appetites. Now, new research has revealed that invasive lionfish are not quite what they seem.

"Marine invasions ... are a scourge," says Brian Bowen, a geneticist at the University of Hawai'i. "But this is an invasion of what could be a superfish."

Twelve species of lionfish live in the Indo-Pacific, but only two closely related ones were thought to comprise the lionfish invasion: red lionfish, Pterois volitans, and common lionfish, Pterois miles. Most of the western Atlantic invaders were identified as red lionfish, though the two lionfish are almost indistinguishable in appearance. For the past decade, marine biologists studying the lionfish invasion have assumed that most of the invaders are red lionfish.  But a new study , recently published in the Journal of Heredity,flips the whole situation on its head.

We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong."