Science Spotlight

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


California’s Disappearing Kelp Forests: What Scientists and Divers can do to Reverse this Trend

Abalone attached to top of kelp stalk underwater.
The view of northern California’s beautiful coastline has historically been pristine and breathtaking. With dense kelp forest canopies blanketing the surface of the nearshore areas and protecting the abundant rockfishes, red abalone, sea stars and red urchins that lived below, it was a healthy, natural ecosystem rich with thriving inhabitants. Unfortunately, the ocean is now changing, and this idyllic scene is no more.

CDFW Biologists Confirm Green Sturgeon Spawn in Yuba River

Underwater photo of a green sturgeon swimming along rocky river bottom.
CDFW biologists have been taking a new approach to looking at reproduction in one of the oldest fish species in existence. Green sturgeon, which are listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act, are in effect a living fossil, having swam in both the fresh and ocean waters from California to Alaska for more than 200 million years.

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.

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.”