Study: Dead sea creatures cover 98 percent of ocean floor off California coast; up from 1 percent before Fukushima
Ethan A. Huff
January 2, 2104
The Pacific Ocean appears to be dying, according to a new study recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in California recently discovered that the number of dead sea creatures blanketing the floor of the Pacific is higher than it has ever been in the 24 years that monitoring has taken place, a phenomenon that the data suggests is a direct consequence of nuclear fallout from Fukushima.
Though the researchers involved with the work have been reluctant to pin Fukushima as a potential cause — National Geographic, which covered the study recently, did not even mention Fukushima — the timing of the discovery suggests that Fukushima is, perhaps, the cause. According to the data, this sudden explosion in so-called “sea snot,” which is the name given to the masses of dead sea creatures that sink to the ocean floor as food, has skyrocketed since the Fukushima incident occurred.
“In the 24 years of this study, the past two years have been the biggest amounts of this detritus by far,” stated Christine Huffard, a marine biologist at MBARI and leader of the study, to National Geographic.
At an ocean research station known as Station M, located 145 miles out to sea between the Californian cities of Santa Barbara and Monterey, Huffard and her colleague Ken Smith observed a sharp uptick in the amount of dead sea life drifting to the ocean floor. The masses of dead sea plankton, jellyfish, feces and other oceanic matter that typically only cover about 1 percent of the ocean floor were found to now be covering about 98 percent of it — and multiple other stations located throughout the Pacific have since reported similar figures.
“In March 2012, less than one percent of the seafloor beneath Station M was covered in dead sea salps,” writes Carrie Arnold for National Geographic. “By July 1, more than 98 percent of it was covered in the decomposing organisms. … The major increase in activity of deep-sea life in 2011 and 2012 weren’t limit to Station M, though: Other ocean-research stations reported similar data.”