Science

Western monarch butterflies could disappear

Each year, thousands of monarch butterflies from across the west make their way to the California coast where they spend their winter, including making migratory stops at East Bay parks. For the past two decades, volunteer citizen scientists have been counting them during the Annual Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count, organized by the Xerces Society. Christina Garcia, a naturalist at the East Bay Regional Park District, has been counting butterflies at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont for over 20 years. This…

Climate change puts Richmond’s plant and animal populations in a state of flux

Faster-than-average warming is bringing changes to Richmond’s ecosystems. Temperatures and sea levels are rising. Fog patterns are shifting. Richmond’s plants and animals are facing a future of altered habitats. Anna’s hummingbird feeding on pallid manzanita nectar in a stand of maritime chaparral at Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve To the west lies 32 miles of shoreline, the longest of any city in the Bay Area. To the east lie the hills: Sobrante Ridge and Wildcat Canyon. These open spaces contain salt…

Community-oriented process to monitor air quality kicks off tomorrow

Richmond is about to begin a unique process to identify a group of community leaders to work with the state and local air resources boards to determine key drivers of the city’s pollution and put together a plan to reduce it. This Wednesday, Nov. 7, leaders of community environmental organizations and other members of the public are invited by County Supervisor John Gioia to attend a meeting on the new plan at the Richmond City Recreation Complex on MacDonald Avenue….

Meet Richmond’s fishermen (and one woman)

Despite some concerns about water pollution from the city’s industries, people fish in many different spots across Richmond’s extensive shoreline: in parks, off piers, and even under bridges and highways. They do so for relaxation, to enjoy the outdoors, and to feed their families. Meet some of them here.

Climate change and land subsidence pose threat for coastal Bay Area

The Bay Area is sinking and climate change is speeding things up, according to a new study published in Science Advances this month. The study was conducted over the span of two years by researchers Manoocher Shirzaei and Roland Burgmann, who used satellite images to evaluate regions of the Bay Area, such as Treasure Island, which are experiencing sea level rise because of the accelerated melting of polar ice. Shirzaei is a former UC Berkeley post-doctoral student, and Burgmann is…

Researchers team up to solve a ‘50-year old murder mystery’: What’s killing sharks in the San Francisco Bay?

Spirits were low in McCovey Cove as the San Francisco Giants played a discouraging game against the Kansas City Royals. The visitors were on track to win, holding on to an 8-1 lead for several innings. The atmosphere was buoyed, however, when a cameraman spotted an unlikely supporter in the cove: a leopard shark swimming along the surface of the water. Giants player Jeff Samardzija’s nickname is “Shark,” and fans seemed to interpret the animal as a good omen. The…

Around the Way: DeepFlight designs sleek, personal submarines fit for a Bond villain

Two men wearing red knit caps sit inside a sleek, winged vehicle as it bobs on the ocean’s surface. They’re seated one behind the other, and their features appear slightly magnified inside twin glass domes that enclose each cockpit. A third man wearing a mask and snorkel circles the vehicle, then gives a thumbs-up to its pilot, Graham Hawkes. Hawkes engages two propellers and directs the vessel, which looks more like a bulbous airplane than any kind of watercraft, into…