Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Study: Dead sea creatures covered 98% of seafloor last year about 150 miles off California coast; Unprecedented, had been below 1% prior to event — ‘Major’ changes began in spring 2011

Published: December 11th, 2013 By

National Geographic, Nov. 22, 2013: [...] “In the 24 years of this study, the past 2 years have been the biggest amounts of this detritus by far,”  said study leader Christine Huffard, a marine biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California. [...] In March 2012, less than one percent of the seafloor beneath Station M [located 145 miles west of the coast of California between Santa Barbara and Monterey] was covered in dead sea salps. By July 1, more than 98 percent of it was covered in the decomposing organisms, according to the study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [...]  Although climate change is a leading contender for explaining the major increases in 2011 and 2012, Huffard says that these spikes could be part of a longer-term trend that scientists haven’t yet observed. She hopes to continue gathering data from Station M to try and figure it out.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nov. 11, 2013 (emphasis added): [...] Two major peaks in POC [particulate organic carbon] flux occurred over the last 18 mo of the time series [...] The peak POC flux in spring/summer 2011 was the highest recorded over the 24-y time series (Fig. 1D)  [...] The daily presence of detrital aggregates on the sea floor did not exceed 15% coverage over the period from 1990 to 2007. The highest sea-floor coverage by detrital aggregates measured throughout the 24-y time series occurred between March and August 2012, when salp detritus ranged from <1 1="" 98="" a="" cover="" early="" high="" in="" july="" march="" of="" on="" strong="" to=""> (Fig. 1E). This was the only measurable deposition event of salps observed during the entire time series. Following this salp pulse, phytodetrital aggregates combined with some salp detritus formed another major deposition event beginning in late August and peaking in mid-September. This pulse covered up to 61% of the sea floor (Fig. 1E), the largest primarily phytodetrital aggregate peak recorded during the time series. [...] Although environmental variation, such as air temperature and winds, affect the physical dynamics of this upwelling ecosystem, the specific mechanisms behind the changes in food-supply composition and food-web processes corresponding with the peaks in 2011 and 2012 remain unknown. Such increases in food supply appear to change the structure and functioning of deep-sea communities. We already are observing significant changes in populations of benthic fauna [...]

Study’s Supporting Information: Sea Floor Megafaunal Community Change [...] Over an 18-mo period beginning in spring 2011, the densities of epibenthic animals increased by nearly an order-of-magnitude and diversity was considerably lower. Major faunal changes included a substantial reduction in sponge and other sessile animal abundance, and by late 2012 three holothurian species were at the highest densities recorded since mobile megafaunal investigations began in 1989.

See also: "Weird things" happening on California coast: Previously unknown toxic algae blooms proliferating; Unprecedented mass of oxygen-poor water near shore -- TV: Mystery strandings of large squid covered miles and experts baffled... "essentially killing themselves, it’s just really weird" (VIDEO)
And: CBC News: Something very odd is happening in Pacific; Sea creatures acting strangely, species turning up where rarely seen -- Related to Fukushima crisis? -- L.A. Lifeguard: Used to be 2 shark sightings a year, now it's 2 a day (VIDEOS)

Related Posts

  1. NYTimes: Unprecedented concentration of sea creatures near shore in California; Experts baffled, longtime residents astounded — Biologist: “It’s a very strange year… The $64,000 question is why?” — Similar to ‘extraordinary’ events seen recently along Canada’s Pacific coast? (VIDEO) November 25, 2013
  2. “Weird things” happening on California coast: Previously unknown toxic algae blooms proliferating; Unprecedented mass of oxygen-poor water near shore — TV: Mystery strandings of large squid covered miles and experts baffled… “essentially killing themselves, it’s just really weird” (VIDEO) December 9, 2013
  3. Gov’t scientists unsure why giant fish washing up dead on West Coast, “testing tissue for radiation” — “One dead oarfish is odd, two is a pattern” — PBS: “After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, there were accounts of several washing ashore” October 24, 2013
  4. NBC News: “Grisly disease decimating starfish populations… from Orange County to Alaska” — Scientists: Alarm as they began eating each other, then melting away — Similar problem on East Coast observed since 2011 — Now spreading at “scary” rate (VIDEO) November 2, 2013
  5. Federal gov’t declares rare Unusual Mortality Event in So. California — 70% of all newborn sea lions may be dying — Testing for toxins, infectious agents (VIDEO) March 28, 2013


The Black Sheep tries to warn its friends with the truth it has seen, unfortunately herd mentality kicks in for the Sheeple, and they run in fear from the black sheep and keep to the safety of their flock.

Having tried to no avail to awaken his peers, the Black Sheep have no other choice but to unite with each other and escape the impending doom.

What color Sheep are you?