by Alastair Bland
August 2, 2017
Originally published by Hakai Magazine
Meteorologists had never seen anything quite like it—a mass of abnormally warm surface water that overwhelmed much of the northeastern Pacific Ocean for three years starting in late 2013. They called it the Blob.
Within months, thousands of starving sea lion pups began washing ashore along the west coast of the United States. Continue reading Hypothesis Confirmed: Sea Lion Mass Deaths Caused by Malnutrition
The waters of the northeast Pacific have been warmer than normal since the fall of 2013. The reasons why are still being investigated by many, but the scale and intensity of this phenomenon make it unlike anything observed before. Scientists currently believe that the cause of the warm ocean waters is that they simply didn’t cool off like they were supposed to in the fall and winter of 2013-2014.
Continue reading The Blob
By Jay T. Cullen
Note that the video above was shot on May 8, 2015, set to Debussy’s Clair de Lune, by the YouTube user NorthOlbo who makes wonderful pieces about the British Columbian coast. Check him out.
The purpose of this more visual post is to report on a recent trip my students and I took to a local beach and what we saw there. Botanical Beach is renowned for its tide pools and part of the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park here on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada. There are strange conditions currently in the northeast Pacific from the “blob” of warm water related to anomalous winter mixing in 2013-2014 to the widespread disappearance of sea stars owing to wasting disease after infection by virus. Some link these changes in the marine ecosystem to the very low levels of Fukushima derived radioisotope contamination present offshore and recently detected at the shoreline although there is little evidence to support such views nor are such impacts very likely. There is indeed life abundant at Botanical Beach but it is changing. The sea star is a keystone predator whose removal has consequences. The most obvious of these on visiting the beach again was the predominance of California mussels to be found. More about our adventure below the fold. Continue reading Sea Star Loss From Our Coast Might Be Mussels Gain