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Response to Octafish (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 24, 2014, 11:25 AM

8. I worry about my grandkids.

 

Scientists don’t know what’s causing the problem, whether it’s bacteria, a toxin, something that’s been discharged in the water or ocean acidification. They’ve termed the outbreak “sea star wasting disease.” (Scientists now call starfish “sea stars” because they aren’t fish.)

Starfish die-offs have happened before in Southern California in 1983-1984 and 1997-1998, when El Niño events turned ocean waters warmer than normal. But those events were localized, only affecting portions of the population. That made it easier for starfish to recover.

Scientists say they’ve never seen a die-off of this magnitude. It’s spread through most of the starfish’s range, which stretches from Alaska to Baja California. And it’s affecting several starfish species including pisaster, the five-armed, orange and purple starfish commonly seen on the Oregon coast.

Broad outbreaks can pose recovery risks. A die-off in the Gulf of California in Mexico between 1976-1978 killed 99 percent of one species of starfish there, said Pete Raimondi, chairman of UC Santa Cruz’s ecology and evolutionary biology department. More than 30 years later, the population still hasn’t recovered because the die-off affected the species’ whole range.
http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2013/12/oregon_coast_isolated_from_mys.html


(AP) LOS ANGELES - Across the vast Pacific, the mighty bluefin tuna carried radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan's crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the United States 6,000 miles away — the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance.

"We were frankly kind of startled," said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that's still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the U.S. and Japanese governments.

Previously, smaller fish and plankton were found with elevated levels of radiation in Japanese waters after a magnitude-9 earthquake in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that badly damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/radioactive-bluefin-tuna-crossed-pacific-to-us/

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