Researchers identify shellfish-killing phytoplankton behind massive summer die-offs in Puget Sound -KNKX

Why continuing scientific research on the Salish Sea is so important to continue funding. 

In July of 2018 and 2019, large numbers of oysters, cockles and clams died on beaches all around Puget Sound. No one knew why. It was a particularly bad couple of years, but summer mortality events with mass die-offs of shellfish happen regularly. They’ve been recorded by researchers in western Washington as far back as the 1930s. The source has remained a mystery. Now, scientists have pinpointed the cause: two species of toxic algae that don’t threaten people much — but can wreak havoc on the ecosystem. Beginning to figure out what’s killing so many shellfish is a breakthrough for growers and communities who live near the beaches. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

https://www.knkx.org/post/researchers-identify-shellfish-killing-phytoplankton-behind-massive-summer-die-offs-puget-sound

Northwest Starfish Experiments Give Scientists Clues To Mysterious Mass Die-offs – Earthfix

More on the starfish die-off.

Near the ferry docks on Puget Sound, a group of scientists and volunteer divers shimmy into suits and double-check their air tanks… (Ben) Miner is a biology professor at Western Washington University. He studies how environmental changes affect marine life. He’s conducting experiments in hopes of figuring out how and why starfish — or sea stars, as scientists prefer to call the echinoderms — are wasting away by the tens of thousands up and down North America’s Pacific shores. Katie Campbell reports.

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/water/article/northwest-starfish-experiments-give-scientists-clu/

 

Citizen Scientists Asked To Help Search For #SickStarfish – Earthfix

This new crisis to our marine environment is spreading, and here’s a way you can help track it. From reports I’ve read, the root cause may be revealed in the next month. Scientists say they feel they are close to uncovering it. I’ll report on those findings as soon as I see them.

With thousands of miles of coastline in North America, scientists can’t be everywhere at once to keep an eye out for sick and dying starfish…. Puget Sound diver Laura James has built a new tool to make it easy for citizen scientists to help…. James and her dive buddy Lamont Granquist created a sick starfish website for tracking posts to social media sites like Twitter and Instagram. If divers, tidepoolers or beachcombers snap photos of starfish and add the hashtag #sickstarfish, their reports will automatically upload to the map. Katie Campbell reports.

http://earthfix.info/water/article/calling-all-citizen-scientists-in-search-for-sicks/

See also: Sea star wasting syndrome found in seven specimens in Freshwater Bay http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140131/news/301319969/sea-star-wasting-syndrome-found-in-seven-specimens-in-freshwater-bay

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