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So Many Dead Crabs In Oregon Dead Zone "You Just Can't Count Them"

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:22 PM
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So Many Dead Crabs In Oregon Dead Zone "You Just Can't Count Them"
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."

Oxygen levels in places along the central Oregon Coast have sunk to the lowest levels ever recorded on the West Coast of the United States, said Francis Chan, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University and the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans, an alliance of research institutions.

Scientists suspect swings in the Earth's climate tied to global warming may be shifting wind conditions to bring about such grim results. Seawater turns deadly for marine life when concentrations of the dissolved oxygen they breathe fall below about 1.4 milliliters per liter. On Monday, Chan measured a concentration of .05, or almost 30 times below the lethal level, about 90 feet below the surface.

EDIT

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/bas...
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Parche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:28 PM
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1. oregon
This ocean threat has all the makings of Al-Kida.....they did it on porpoise!!!
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nam78_two Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:28 PM
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2. k& r
:(
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:33 PM
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3. It's a beautiful area.
I went up the coast from Florence to Newport pretty much every year when I lived there. Some years every month or two in the summer. Up through Portland to Seaside a few times, for a week or two each time, and sometimes with daytrips down to Tillamook. Looked at intertidal critters. Watch storms come in. Picnic.

Pity. It'll take a while for the area to recover once the deep water upswelling subsides.
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Tin Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:47 PM
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4. That's some seriously anoxic water - will be interesting to learn cause
Generally speaking, a concentration of 5 mg/l dissolved oxygen (DO) is considered a rough minimum to avoid stressing most fishes. Levels of only 0.05 mg/l DO would be only 1% of 'minimum healthy' threshold, and would kill almost all fish and shellfish within minutes.
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cliss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 01:06 PM
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5. Now this is really weird, and thank you for
posting Hatrack. I have some ideas on what could be causing this, let's see if anyone else has some ideas.

First off, this is going to be a CATASTROPHE. Up and down the Oregon coast, people make their livelihood from the ocean. They have restaurants, crab shacks, tourists, people like me go down there and go camping, crabbing. You have your beautiful beaches. Just imagine a smelly coastline with rotting, dead crabs. People are going to leave.

Why is this happening?

Here are some suggestions -

1) Ocean warming. The ocean along the coast has been stable 50 degrees, year round. These past few years, the temperature has gone up. Some people have even spotted Angelfish on the Oregon coast.

2) Pollution? What's the story on pollution?

3) Volcanic activity outside Oregon coast. Right outside Port Orford, there is an underwater lava dome that is building about 50 feet per day. I'm assuming there is smoke, ash and all kinds of other stuff being spewed into the water.
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Boomer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 03:01 PM
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6. Close, but still fishing
The "dead zones" along coastal shorelines have been the subject of a number of articles and features in the media. The causes are still being debated but you've touched on the major suspects.

The leading theory seems to be that nitrogen-laden runoff from agrigultural land, along with sewage, is pouring nutrients into the water. Algae and toxic bacteria (as well as jelly-fish) love this brew and are growing in record numbers. To make matters worse, commercial overfishing has reduced the predators that usually keep them in check.

Add global warming to the mix, and you have all the ingredients for creating low-oxygen zones that kill off most marine life.
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cliss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 08:16 PM
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8. Thanks, Boomer.
I knew someone would get "warmer" on the answers.

Re: nitrogen-laden runoff from agricultural land: that could be a major culprit. Also, consider these maniacs who walk around landscaped areas with weird back-packs on their backs. They walk around spraying for weeds. I cringe every time I see one of those because I know they are poisoning the environment.

I live south of Portland. One time, on a dare, I decided to swim across the Willamette River (this is the major waterway that runs through town). We went about 15 miles south of Portland, jumped in the river and....

almost drowned. Not because of the current, but because our legs got tangled up in these thick, weird algae that covered the entire river, all the way across.

As I staggered up on the other side, I looked back across the river and realized the whole damn thing was being choked from algae.
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Geoff R. Casavant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 03:18 PM
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7. Are you sure? It could just be lots of Whizzo butter.
Ah, Monty Python. It never goes out of style.
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 08:54 PM
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9. That is sad.
I like crabs.


On Democracy Now! - when they do a story about the Oil Spill along the Lebanon coast - they show video footage of a crab crawling around all covered with oil - it's totally black - blinking oil out of it's eyes. It's just terrible.
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