Since 2003 harmful bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) levels have created a health risk to recreational users in Boulder Creek. Boulder Creek has been designated as an impaired stream and is not meeting an EPA health-based water quality standard. Concentrations of E. coli increase from the mouth of Boulder Canyon to the University of Colorado-Boulder and beyond based upon data collected by the City of Boulder according to information published by the CU Independent and the Boulder Camera.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, in collaboration with other partners, recently deployed a new ocean acidification (OA) monitoring site in Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, American Samoa. Derek Manzello, a coral ecologist with NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) in Florida, connected with EM about the deployment.
Around the world, extreme wave heights and ocean winds are increasing. The greatest increase is happening in the Southern Ocean, according to recent research from the University of Melbourne, and Dr. Ian Young corresponded with EM about what inspired the work. “Our main interest is ocean waves, and we are interested in wind because it generates waves,” explains Dr. Young. “Ocean waves are important for the design of coastal and offshore structures, the erosion of beaches and coastal flooding. . ."
All year long the US Geological Survey (USGS) in North Dakota and South Dakota monitors water levels, but during times of flooding, all eyes are on the team. EM spoke to USGS data chief Chris Laveau about the monitoring efforts. “The US Geological Survey in North Dakota and South Dakota is one entity, so we monitor the flooding in both states,” explains Mr. Laveau.. . .
Say the word “tsunami” and images of tremendous waves engulfing homes or masses of debris might come to mind. Those tsunamis that are triggered by massive landslides and earthquakes are in fact at that scale. But weather can trigger more localized “meteotsunamis” as well, and new research shows just how common these are along the East Coast of the United States.. . .
For scientists working in the field, monitoring for data isn’t enough—you have to get that data back. This is of course true, no matter how sophisticated a real-time monitoring solution is. Recent testing of a wireless mesh environmental sensing network at Virginia Tech reveals a promising new option for this kind of problem, and Innovative Wireless Technologies (IWT) principal investigator Matthew Fisher spoke to EM about the testing and the network: Envōk.
Around the world, the occasional phenomenon known as sneaker waves poses a threat to beachgoers. Unusually large sneaker waves in 2016 and 2018 prompted Oregon State University (OSU) researchers to investigate these mysterious events. The research revealed the presence of runup signals that can provide earlier warnings to officials, reducing risk from these dangerous events.
“Sneaker waves occur in the Pacific Northwest, but they’re also a worldwide phenomenon,” explains Dr. Ozkan-Haller...
Recent research from a University of Guelph (U of G) team reveals that warmer temperatures caused by climate change are forcing species to alter their behavior, causing food webs in Ontario lakes to transform. As temperatures warm, larger species hunt new prey in deeper waters, changing the ways nutrients and energy flow in lakes and triggering a “rewiring” of food webs.
Some of the most interesting data in the world of river and stream monitoring come at times when it’s practically impossible to capture—during extreme weather events, for example. Timing alone makes capturing unusual events a challenge, and these kinds of issues have prompted researchers to use classic monitoring data along with new technologies to develop and improve hydraulic modeling for estimating river flows.
Adrift on the open ocean, even aquatic species can feel stranded, without their usual habitats and food sources. This has been the situation for various species post-2011 Japanese tsunami for years now. Researchers are digging into the lasting effects this displacement could have on them—and on the places they end up. Dr. Linsey Haram, a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), spoke to EM about her research following the winding path of some of these species.
This past winter, physical oceanographer Jenny Brown and her team at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), United Kingdom, were trialing a new concept: “WireWall” with colleagues at HR Wallingford. This new system for measuring wave hazard at sea walls allows managers to understand flood risk for existing coastal structures better, and Dr. Brown spoke to EM about the system and what inspired it.
So much of what many field scientists and engineers do hinges upon their ability to communicate the value of their work. Communicating the value of science, generally, is part of that process—one that Mika McKinnon has down cold. We spoke with geophysicist Mika McKinnon about her work as a freelance scientist, and what it’s like to do work that touches on science communication in so many areas.
Most of the time when we think of monitoring streams and rivers, we think of water, and for a good reason. However, in some parts of the country, many rivers are intermittent—dry at some point in space or time—and therefore have not had equal amounts of attention from ecologists and hydrologists. A project led by a University of Oklahoma (OU) team is working to change that with the help of citizen scientists.
For most humans, mayflies seem like a nuisance, hovering over the waterways as we try to enjoy them. However, for anyone hoping to monitor the health of watersheds, mayflies are important aquatic species—and now, a digital version of the mayfly is helping some scientists keep an eye on the water. Research scientist Dr. Scott Ensign, who serves as Assistant Director of the Stroud Water Research Center, spoke to EM about how the digital mayfly technology developed.
Time is of the essence when it comes to tracking algal blooms, and people everywhere are looking for solutions. In Florida, scientists from Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) recently trialed a solar-powered, algae-tracking sail boat developed by Navocean, Inc. Dr. Jordon Beckler of Florida Atlantic University (FAU) directs HBOI’s Geochemistry and Geochemical Sensing Lab and spoke to EM about the trials and the boat.