San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 9, 2013: A mysterious pathogen is wiping out starfish along the Pacific coast [...] [and it] isn’t the only weird thing to happen of late along the California coast. Marine scientists have been trying to find out why previously unknown blooms of toxic algae are suddenly proliferating along the coast. The mysterious blooms, including deadly red tides, have been bigger, occurred more frequently and killed more wildlife than in the past. Last year at about this time, legions of big predatory Humboldt squid gathered along the Northern California coast and stranded themselves on Santa Cruz beaches, far north of their normal habitat.
Press Democrat, Dec. 5, 2013: An article in Nature magazine in 2010 noted that the arrival of Humboldt squid is considered a sign “of a system in trouble.”
Here’s a local news report on the squid strandings from last December: A mysterious invasion on California beaches [...] they washed up all of a sudden on a 12 mile stretch of beach. [...] Thousands of Humboldt squid [...] “You just see them essentially killing themselves, and it’s just really weird to see it,” said graduate student Hannah Rosen of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station. [...] Rosen said some people tried to put the squid back in the water, but the deep water creatures swam back to shore. [...] The animals had full stomachs [...] To be honest reasearchers have no idea why this is happening but they think its from ingesting toxic algae [...] This is the third stranding in 6 weeks.
Press Democrat, Dec. 5, 2013: [There's an] unprecedented mass of oxygen-poor water off the Sonoma Coast, a phenomenon that could harm the region’s prized Dungeness crab and other marine life. [...] Oxygen-poor water is common in deep water of the open ocean, but until this year had never been documented over the continental shelf close to the Sonoma coast, [John Largier, an oceanographer at the UC Davis research facility on Bodega Head] said. [...] Largier said he is “fairly confident” that west coast hypoxia is a consequence of climate change, but the presumed connection is complex. [...] The vast majority of more than 400 dead zones documented around the world in a 2008 report are of a entirely different nature, created by [pollutants like] fertilizer-laden runoff from rivers and burning of fossil fuels. [...] Largier discounted that factor on the North Coast [...]
See also: 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)
Published: December 9th, 2013 at 7:35 pm ET
- Mystery: Dozen miles of dead squid wash ashore in California — Researchers have no idea why (PHOTO & VIDEO) December 12, 2012
- CNN: The Pacific has seen its fair share of weird recently — Bay in California “now a massive soup bowl” — “Miles of anchovies, mountains deep” — It’s like none ever recorded… Old timers have never seen anything like this — “We may be experiencing ‘global weirding’” (VIDEO) December 12, 2013
- TV: “Surge in marine mammal strandings” on US West Coast — Scientists: “This is very weird”; “My biggest fear is if this… is everywhere” along coast — Whales, dolphins, sea lions, birds recently washing up in large numbers — Many thousands likely dead — Violent seizures shown on news (VIDEO) August 30, 2014
- ‘Bizarre creature’ turned 50 miles of California coast into graveyard in summer 2011 — Gov’t Biologist: Die-off like this never seen here — “Abalone massacre… carcasses of urchins, starfish, other mollusks” — Experts find “alterations in 30 genes, some unknown to science” — “Suddenly proliferating… killing wildlife” (PHOTO) May 12, 2014
- Officials: “Historic crisis” along US West Coast… “We’re facing a fishery disaster”… “Very never-seen-before things”… Should be exclamation alarm to public — Extinction threat for salmon runs; Loss of sardines, squid, sea urchins, kelp; Massive sea star deaths; Marine mammal strandings… more February 23, 2016