Scientists: “Unprecedentedly huge mortality events” happening along US West Coast — “Die-offs… are ongoing and severe!… Really a big story” — We had diversity, we had organisms in the water… then all of a sudden we saw nothing, it was really striking (VIDEO)

Published: April 4th, 2016 at 6:30 pm ET
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Presentation from the 2016 Pacific Anomalies Workshop (emphasis added)

Russell Hopcroft, Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks: “We’ve had a number of unusual mortality events in the system where some of the great whales are actually washing up or floating around dead and this is a huge signal we’re talking dozens of whales and this is very atypical for the region.”

Julie Keister, Univ. of Washington: [Slide: ‘Unprecedented Mass Mortality Event’ ~100,000 dead Cassin’s Auklets] — “Some seabird data… for Cassin’s Auklets… they eat mainly krill… what you’re seeing is a time series September through March with massive die offs over the winter compared to normal, so really big ecosystem effects.”

William Sydeman, Farallon Institute Senior Scientist: [Slide: ‘What are we trying to understand? 1) Death (e.g. whale and bird die-offs… ongoing and severe!)] — “There are number of big things that have gone on, but at least to me, the whale and bird die-offs that we’ve seen at the upper trophic levels are really a big story. They’re ongoing, particularly in Alaska now, there’s a huge die-off… they’re very severe, we’re talking about hundred of thousands of birds that have died at different trophic levels.”

Melissa Carter, Scripps Institution of Oceanography: “What I want to show here, and again one of the things that we’ve talked about today is how different the system has been throughout California, Baja all the way up to Alaska… The surface chlorophyll, we have seen a major decrease… We had seen a decrease in the phytoplankton concentration starting in November of 2013. The samples that were coming in, the reports that were coming throughout California — we weren’t seeing anything. It was really striking to me that all of a sudden we have diversity, we have organisms that are in the water — we’ve seen nothing. So that was really brought to my attention.”

Kirsten Lindquist, Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association: “We have a poster, actually our data is included in a couple posters… We have another looking at our three unprecedentedly huge mortality events since November of 2014.”

Watch all the presentations here

Published: April 4th, 2016 at 6:30 pm ET
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276 comments

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