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'Dead zone' startles scientists

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posted on Aug, 10 2006 @ 04:09 PM
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'Dead zone' startles scientists

Ocean scientists took their first look Tuesday into the oxygen-starved "dead zone" spreading off the Oregon Coast and were shocked by what they saw: a lifeless wasteland of thousands of dead crabs, starfish and no live fish at all.

"It was a real eye-opener for all of us," said Hal Weeks, a marine ecologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "I don't think anybody expected this sort of thing."

Dead Dungeness crabs off Cape Perpetua, just south of Yachats, "were like jellybeans in a jar. You just can't count them, there were so many."

More...



Terrific... more great news...




posted on Aug, 10 2006 @ 04:36 PM
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That is pretty interesting.
I wonder what the actual process is that causes this and why it is only in a certain area and keeps coming back. Weird.



posted on Aug, 10 2006 @ 04:40 PM
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Those are strange and worrying news.

Could that be the equivalent to a desert in the ocean?



posted on Aug, 10 2006 @ 04:42 PM
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Originally posted by lardo5150
That is pretty interesting.
I wonder what the actual process is that causes this and why it is only in a certain area and keeps coming back. Weird.



According to the article:



Scientists suspect swings in the Earth's climate tied to global warming may be shifting wind conditions to bring about such grim results.

...It is very close to a complete absence of oxygen, a situation rarely known in the world's oceans, said Jane Lubchenco, a professor of marine biology at Oregon State. New bacteria that take over when oxygen disappears are known to release poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas.

This is the fifth consecutive summer that a layer of low-oxygen water has blanketed the ocean floor along the Oregon Coast, and it has rapidly turned into the most severe episode so far. The layer this year is thicker, lower in oxygen and far larger, covering at least four times more area than in previous years, Lubchenco said.




Everything is connected. ...



posted on Aug, 10 2006 @ 04:44 PM
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Thats kinda creepy.

I wonder how this will affect the sea lions? Florence has some wonderful sea lion caves where they all go to hang out and rest during their migrations. Sea lions eat alot of these crabs and fish. It might force them to find new refuges?



posted on Aug, 10 2006 @ 07:16 PM
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Here is a possible answer to your question Skaldi...

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Neuschwander was exhibiting the classic symptoms of domoic-acid poisoning, a condition that sends dazed marine mammals washing ashore in California as regularly as the spring tides.

They pick up the neurotoxin by eating anchovies, sardines and other sea life that consume algae that produce the acid. Although such algae have been around for eons, they have bloomed with extraordinary intensity along the Pacific coast for the past eight years.

(Neuschwander is the name of the California sea lion)

The algae is important because the abundance of it is one of the causes noted for the lack of oxygen in the waters. Here is a quote from Wikipedia on the causes of dead zones:


Aquatic and marine dead zones can be caused by the process of eutrophication, triggered by an excess of plant nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from fertilizers, sewage, combustion emissions from vehicles, power generators, and factories. In a cascade of effects, the nutrients trigger a bloom of phytoplankton at the bottom of the marine food chain, allowing zooplankton to proliferate. As phytoplankton and zooplankton die and sink below the photic zone where photosynthesis can occur, a bloom of natural bacterial degradation exhausts the water's dissolved oxygen.

Dead zones can also be produced by the natural event of river flooding. Large amounts of fresh water empty into the ocean forming a thick layer of fresh water atop the denser salt water, effectively forming a barrier between the ocean water and oxygen in the atmosphere. (Osterman, 2004)


(sigh)Truely, we have made quite the mess....


[edit on 8/10/2006 by sylvrshadow]



posted on Aug, 10 2006 @ 07:27 PM
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Originally posted by sylvrshadow
Here is a possible answer to your question Skaldi...

source


Neuschwander was exhibiting the classic symptoms of domoic-acid poisoning, a condition that sends dazed marine mammals washing ashore in California as regularly as the spring tides.

They pick up the neurotoxin by eating anchovies, sardines and other sea life that consume algae that produce the acid. Although such algae have been around for eons, they have bloomed with extraordinary intensity along the Pacific coast for the past eight years.

(Neuschwander is the name of the California sea lion)

The algae is important because the abundance of it is one of the causes noted for the lack of oxygen in the waters. Here is a quote from Wikipedia on the causes of dead zones:


Aquatic and marine dead zones can be caused by the process of eutrophication, triggered by an excess of plant nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from fertilizers, sewage, combustion emissions from vehicles, power generators, and factories. In a cascade of effects, the nutrients trigger a bloom of phytoplankton at the bottom of the marine food chain, allowing zooplankton to proliferate. As phytoplankton and zooplankton die and sink below the photic zone where photosynthesis can occur, a bloom of natural bacterial degradation exhausts the water's dissolved oxygen.

Dead zones can also be produced by the natural event of river flooding. Large amounts of fresh water empty into the ocean forming a thick layer of fresh water atop the denser salt water, effectively forming a barrier between the ocean water and oxygen in the atmosphere. (Osterman, 2004)


(sigh)Truely, we have made quite the mess....


[edit on 8/10/2006 by sylvrshadow]


Thanks. Thats awful! Ive been to the sea lion caves and got to watch the sea lions.

Now I suppose it explains somewhat the reason marine mamals keep getting confused and swim into rivers or beach themselves



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