Science Spotlight

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Biologists Work to Restore Kirman Lake’s Trophy Trout Fishery

Small green and brown spotted fish held in hands
It’s a question that has been asked by more than a few eastern Sierra trout anglers: What happened to the fishing at Kirman Lake?

New Issue of CDFW’s Scientific Journal Dives Deep into Marine Studies

Book cover with photo of orange fish and text that reads California Fish and Game Conservation of Wildlife Through Education Volume 105 Winter 2019 Number 1 Published Quarterly by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
The latest issue of California Fish and Game, Vol. 105, Issue 1, focuses on marine species, bringing new insights and understanding of several fish species found off the California coast.

Counting Lizards: New CDFW Study Confirms a Better Way to Survey Reptiles

Small brown, gray, and blue speckled lizard on man's hands
One might say that a groundbreaking new study conducted by two CDFW scientists and their research partners provides a leap forward in lizard research.

Remotely Operated Vehicle Gives Scientists an Underwater View into California’s MPAs

Three men on boat wearing thick coats, life vests, and white hard hats. Two of the men are looking over side of boat at large green and black machine on crane above water. Third man holding gray metal box with large buttons.
Marine scientists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Marine Applied Research and Exploration (MARE) recently completed an unprecedented three-year survey of deep-water habitats off the California coast using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

California’s Missing Monarchs: Scientists Work to Reverse a Worrisome Trend

Dangling tree branches covered in orange monarch butterflies
For residents of many coastal California towns, the colorful Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) migration has been a welcome wintertime sight for generations. The beautiful and distinctive orange-and-black patterned insects have historically congregated at more than 400 known sites in the Golden State.

Habitat Study Shows How American Pikas Fare in Warming Temperatures

Closeup of small brown and gray rodent atop rocks chewing on leaves
CDFW staff recently conducted a study to determine whether American pika in California are able to find sufficient refuge from elevated temperatures in their natural habitat. Previous CDFW collaborative research and related work has suggested that pikas in California and Nevada have been declining in warmer areas, but some scientists contend that underground temperature refuges will protect pikas from warming temperature trends.

California Fish and Game, Issue 104(3) and Issue 104(4)

Scientific journal cover with photo of lizard on branch
The latest two issues of California Fish and Game, CDFW’s long-running scientific journal, are now available online.

CDFW Herring Surveys

hand holding aquatic plant material covered in tiny clear balls
On a drizzly winter day in San Francisco Bay, you might find CDFW Environmental Scientist Ryan Bartling surveying the shoreline on the research vessel Smoothhound in search of Pacific Herring (Clupea pallasii) eggs.

Iron Gate Hatchery

Short-haired woman in yellow rain jacket and black gloves holding fish on side of metal basin along side man in yellow rain jacket, black gloves, and camo hat holding fish over metal basin as dark orange liquid streams out of fish into metal basin.
At Iron Gate Hatchery in Hornbrook, the fall 2018 spawning operation has just concluded. Iron Gate spawns both Fall-Run Chinook Salmon and Coho Salmon from the Klamath River. For Chinook, the hatchery staff manually collect the eggs and mix it with the milt immediately after the fish come into the facility.

Conserving the Short-eared Owl: An Opportunity for Citizen Scientists

Woman, boy, and girl holding and looking through binoculars in direction of field from road. Sunset in background.
A team of raptor biologists is working on a study of western populations of the Short-eared Owl – and are inviting members of the public to help collect and contribute important data as “citizen scientists.”