Science Spotlight

Science Institute News

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Wildlife Corridors at Yolo Bypass Will Help Animals Escape Flooding

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CDFW’s Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area serves two critical – but sometimes competing – needs. The 16,670 acres of riparian and agricultural habitat in Yolo County provide a refuge and an all-you-can-eat buffet for migratory waterfowl and resident wildlife to the west of Sacramento and the increasingly urbanized surrounding communities.

Dove Banding

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As the second half of California’s split dove season kicks off, dove hunters may put more than birds in their bags. They may harvest a bird with a band on its right leg – thus getting an opportunity to contribute important data that will help guide future management efforts.

CDFW Kelp Survey

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Beneath the waters off the California coast are vast forests that are home to an astounding variety of plants and animals. Their sunlit canopies can soar 150 feet from the ocean’s floor. But instead of trees, these forests are made of kelp.

Scientists Battle Mange Outbreak in Urban Kit Fox Population

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Fate has not been kind to the San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica). Shrinking habitat caused by urbanization and agricultural expansion landed this Central Valley native on the federal Endangered Species List decades ago. California’s total population of San Joaquin kit foxes may now be down to a few thousand animals. To make matters worse, its favorite food, the kangaroo rat, is likewise endangered as the desert habitat it prefers continues to disappear.

Pacific Herring Report

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The Pacific herring – much like squid and anchovy – is an important forage fish that supports a commercial fishery and provides a prey source for all manner of fish and wildlife, including whales, seals, sea lions, sturgeon, salmon, pelicans and numerous other species of birds and invertebrates.

Golden Trout Relocation

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This summer marked the end of an incredible journey for four dozen of California’s designated state freshwater fish, the golden trout, as they returned home after 10 months away. The fish traveled more than 500 miles in tanks and buckets, by hand and by mule, en route to their native waters 9,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada range.

Saving California’s White Abalone

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California’s coastal waters are home to seven species of abalone, and all but one are endangered or listed as species of special concern. The white abalone in particular has been nearly decimated by overfishing and disease, and scientists can find no evidence that the remaining population is reproducing in the wild.

California Fish and Game Journal, Issue 103-1

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The latest issue of California Fish and Game, CDFW’s scientific journal, is now available online. This century-old quarterly journal contains peer-reviewed scientific literature that explores and advances the conservation and understanding of California’s flora and fauna.

Suisun Marsh Study Seeks to Unlock Mysteries of Western Pond Turtles

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Does the Western pond turtle (Actinemys marmorata), a freshwater species native to the Pacific Coast, hold secrets to survive climate change and adapt to rising sea levels? CDFW biologists want to know and have partnered with UC Davis and the Department of Water Resources to conduct a long-term study in Solano County’s Suisun Marsh to better understand the aquatic reptiles.

How Harvest Numbers Help Biologists Plan for the Future

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As California deer hunters head to the fields, forests and mountains this summer and fall, their experiences will provide wildlife biologists with key data on the health of the state’s deer herds.