Friday, May 28, 2010

Aquatic Sciences Chronicle

New from the Aquatic Sciences Center: the spring 2010 issue of the Chronicle, news and events of Sea Grant and Water Resources Institutes.

The month's highlights include updates on asian carp, an award for Sea Grant-funded researcher Jim Kitchell, a video on yellow perch aquaculture, staff news and the library column on asian carp resources.

Read the full issue.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Clean Marinas

A new resource just out: Wisconsin Sea Grant has partnered with the newly formed Wisconsin Marina Association to create a Clean Marina Program for Wisconsin. Participating marinas can reduce waste disposal costs, receive free technical assistance and attract more customers who appreciate patronizing an environmentally friendly operation.

It involves voluntary participation by the state’s 300 marinas that vow to employ pollution-prevention practices such as washing boats on land with non-polluting cleaners, minimizing use of and recycling hazardous materials, and being prepared for petroleum spills. Marinas and boatyards that go above and beyond the existing state and federal environmental regulations may become certified and promoted by the WMA as “clean marinas.”

Visit the Clean Marine web site to learn more. The full text of Wisconsin Clean Marina Best Management Practices Guidebook 2010 is included.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Atrazine research from USGS

New report from the US Geological Survey:

Commonly Used Atrazine Herbicide Adversely Affects Fish Reproduction

Atrazine, one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world, has been shown to affect reproduction of fish, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study.

“Concentrations of atrazine commonly found in agricultural streams and rivers caused reduced reproduction and spawning, as well as tissue abnormalities in laboratory studies with fish,” said USGS scientist Donald Tillitt, the lead author of the study published in Aquatic Toxicology.

Fathead minnows were exposed to atrazine at the USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center in Columbia, Mo., and observed for effects on egg production, tissue abnormalities and hormone levels. Fish were exposed to concentrations ranging from zero to 50 micrograms per liter of atrazine for up to 30 days. All tested levels of exposure are less than the USEPA Office of Pesticides Aquatic Life Benchmark of 65 micrograms per liter for chronic exposure of fish. Thus, substantial reproductive effects were observed in this study at concentrations below the USEPA water-quality guideline.

Study results show that normal reproductive cycling was disrupted by atrazine and fish did not spawn as much or as well when exposed to atrazine. Researchers found that total egg production was lower in all atrazine-exposed fish, as compared to the non-exposed fish, within 17 to 20 days of exposure. In addition, atrazine-exposed fish spawned less and there were abnormalities in reproductive tissues of both males and females.

Read entire press release.

Research findings found here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Climate news from NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just issued temperature data for April 2010 and the data shows that last month was the warmest April on record around the world.

Read the details here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lake Sturgeon Have Genes from Parasite, Signs of Human STD

From Science Daily:

(May 12, 2010) — While trying to find a DNA-based test to determine the sex of lake sturgeon, Purdue University researchers found that the sturgeon genome contains trematode genes that didn't originally belong to it and may harbor a protozoan parasite that causes a sexually transmitted disease in humans.

Genetics professor Andrew DeWoody and postdoctoral associate Matthew C. Hale found the parasite and pathogen genes while analyzing DNA from the gonads of lake sturgeon, a species that is on the decline because of overfishing and pollution of its habitats. The only way to determine a lake sturgeon's sex currently is to examine its internal sexual organs.

DeWoody said about 15 genes found in the lake sturgeon came from Schistosoma, a parasitic worm. Lateral gene transfer from one organism to another is rare, especially in multicellular animals, he said, but could be part of some evolutionary process for the sturgeon.

"Organisms may accept some new genes from other species because the new genes can serve as raw material for evolution," said DeWoody, whose findings were reported in the early online version of the journal Genetica. "The genome may be more fluid than we usually think."

Read more.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Recent Acquisitions in the Water Library

Wisconsin's Water Library invites you to check out our list of new books cataloged into the library in March and April 2010. The library is very appreciative of the grant from the Friends of UW Madison Libraries to purchase the climate change titles included here.

Library staff were thrilled to see and hear a phenomenal sight recently at Stricker’s Pond near Middleton. On a recent weekend, the sound of American Toads filled the air and the pond was overflowing with the little critters. To learn more about toads, visit Wisconsin Sea Grant’s information page. And if you want to learn more about frogs and toads, the library offers this recommended reading list.

And as we mentioned last month, if your travel plans include the Great Lakes, visit the Great Lakes Circle Tour Web site. Or read one of the great guides from the library.

Happy reading!

Anne Moser

Monday, May 3, 2010

Need help in the garden?

Spring has sprung and Wisconsin's Water Library encourages you to think green.

Wish you had a green thumb? How about making that thumb even greener with a few tips and helpful guides to garden in an environmentally safe way? Wisconsin's Water Library has both a recommended reading list of books to help you get started.

And the library has also assemble a nice introductory list of Web sites with information on water gardening, water conservation, lawn alternatives and more.

Dig in!