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A slimy foam churning up from the ocean has killed thousands seabirds and washed many others ashore, stripped of their waterproofing and struggling for life.
The birds have been clobbered by an unusual algae bloom stretching from the northern Oregon coast to the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.
"This is huge," said Julia Parrish, a marine biologist and professor at the University of Washington who leads a seabird monitoring group. "It's the largest mortality event of its kind on the West Coast that we know of."
The culprit is a single-cell algae or phytoplankton called Akashiwo sanguinea. Though the algae has multiplied off the coast of California before, killing hundreds of seabirds, the phenomenon has not been seen in Oregon and Washington and has never occurred on the West Coast to this extent, Parrish said.
"We're getting counts of up to a million cells per liter of water," she said. "Think about that. That's pretty dense."
Marine biologists said it is not clear why the algae are multiplying, though they do flourish in warm weather. Recent storms could have contributed to the problem, with crashing waves breaking them up.
Mass extinctions have often been attributed to climate changes, sea level, volcanic activity, and asteroids. Castle and Rodgers claim that these causes are contributors, but algae were the mass killer.
Environmental changes such as climatic warming, sea level fluctuation, and increased nutrient supply may have promoted algal blooms over vast expanses of marine to freshwater environments. and indeed, in my humble opinion toxic algae may just be another contributor together with other factors leading to (too) harsh environmental conditions.
Waves of ocean algae have killed thousands of sea birds on the Washington and Oregon coasts. Now a wildlife center in Snohomish County is saving some of the feathered creatures. The birds are recovering at PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood - hundreds of miles from where they were found along the Pacific Coast. An unusual algae bloom is causing the sea birds to lose the water-proofing on their feathers - which is affecting their ability to fly, float and stay warm. "So they're beaching themselves onto the sand, and they actually can't go back in the water because they're not waterproofed," says Wildlife Director Jennifer Convey. "And then they sit there and starve to death bascially." More than a hundred birds are undergoing rehab here this weekend, housed in covered pens. The main mission: Get that slimy, toxic algae foam washed off by dipping them in and out of giant tubs. Some of the birds are so bad off they'll need to be hand-washed. The cleaning and detox process is time-consuming. It will take about a week of bathing and drying, bathing and drying, before the birds are finally set free again. Convey said the birds most likely will be released around parts of Puget Sound instead of the coast. For PAWS, the relief effort is expensive. The water bill alone is expected to skyrocket. "In this particular situation, we have to tap into the fire hydrants to have the appropriate water pressure for all the pools that we have running," says Convey. The group says it needs donated sheets and towels to help keep the birds protected and warm during a time of the year when they're normally always out on the water.
The Pacific and Atlantic Ocean belong to all the people of the world not just the United States. This "taking" of marine mammals negatively impacts the entire ecology of our oceans and the life in them which feeds large numbers of people and other species around the world. Now the United States government has decided that California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and the Pacific Ocean marine life in those areas, are expendable in order to test more war weapons of mass destruction. It should be noted that the list of toxic chemicals is a long one as noted in the Navy E.I.S. Depleted uranium, red and white phosphorus, and a whole host of chemicals known to be toxic not only to man, but to marine life, are being served up on the "Navy Warfare Chemical Menu" that will contaminate our air, water, and soil."
Originally posted by IntastellaBurst
No matter how this plays out, or who destroys who, .... one thing should be noted in history .....
The algae drew first blood.
Helping the birds
The Wildlife Center of the North Coast said it needs cash donations to buy fish to feed the birds, along with good used towels, large dog kennels to carry birds and bleach, as well as experienced volunteers. Contact the center via its Web site at www.coastwildlife.org or by mail at: Wildlife Center of the North Coast P.O. Box 1232 Astoria, OR 97103