Head Scientist: “I used to think I knew” why mystery epidemic is decimating millions of West Coast starfish, “but now I don’t” — Toxic pollution now suspected — Fukushima ‘not dismissed’ as cause — California Professor: Significant levels of fallout got into our coastal food web… marine life exposed… It’s not good
Published: September 10th, 2014 at 9:00 am ET
NOAA, Sept 5, 2014: Disease is destroying sea stars along entire Pacific coast of N. America
Skagit Valley Herald, Sept. 7, 2014: “It certainly is shocking… from 51 sea stars with none of them affected to all of them affected, and then gone.”
The Straight (Vancouver), Aug 20, 2014: [Sea] stars that normally crammed into every rock gully along the beach were missing. Not one starfish… empty black crevices… devoid of life. This scene is repeated up and down the West Coast… Divers report piles of white goo and pieces of starfish arms on the ocean floor… [T]o suddenly disappear is more than disconcerting: it is truly shocking. The speed… is mystifying. Yet the great die-off has not attracted that much media coverage… what else might follow tomorrow?
Portland Monthly, August 2014: In the spring, [Oregon State Prof. Bruce Menge] says, the tide pools were lined with thousands of healthy sea stars… The sickly few that remain hang limply
Laguna Beach Independent, Sept. 4, 2014: Scientists [say] pollution is surfacing as a suspected cause… [UC Santa Cruz biology professor] Pete Raimondi… attended a sea star “mortality event” conference… and left confused… Water pollution, scientists agree, is usually localized and doesn’t affect an entire coastline or an entire species. Usually… Scientists are debating [if] a secondary infection took over because the sea stars were weak due to environmental pollutants… Raimondi reported that pollution is being considered because no pathogens were detected in the animals until a secondary infection took over… [The] findings raised a question, Raimondi relayed… if the bacteria is always present… why would it lead to an epidemic now?
Prof. Raimondi: “I used to think I knew, but now I don’t… AIDS would be a good example for a human analogy… what kills you off is usually a secondary infection… I left [the conference] much more uncertain than when I walked into the room.”
Santa Cruz Sentinel, Sept. 1, 2014: “It’s been very mysterious in a lot of ways,” said Raimondi, as he discounted, but did not dismiss, possible causes. Unlike previous wasting events, this one occurs in warm and cold water, near and far from pollutant discharge… Ocean acidification and de-oxygenation are possible factors, yet sea stars are exposed to natural variations in acidity and oxygenation and they have never before been observed to exhibit this extent of wasting. To date, no one has found Fukushima radiation where the syndrome is observed.
So “no one has found Fukushima radiation where the syndrome is observed”? Significant levels of Fukushima fallout have been found in ecosystems along the Pacific coast from Canada to Southern California. Additionally, the massive amount of radioactive water being transported across the ocean from Fukushima was detected along the N. American shores in June 2013.
Prof. Steven Manley, Cal State Univ: “We measured significant… levels of radioactive iodine… it may have affected certain fish… the big question was, is another major isotope that came over in the cloud, cesium 137, present in the kelp, too? It has a half-life of 30 years [and may still be there]… Most of this fallout comes from the atmosphere primarily in rain… Radioactivity is taken up by the kelp and anything that feeds on the kelp will be exposed… [it] got into the environment… In fact, the values that we reported for iodine probably [are an] underestimate [and] could be two to three times more… it enters the coastal food web and gets dispersed over a variety of organisms… It’s not a good thing, but whether it actually has a measurable detrimental effect is beyond my expertise.”
See also: EPA: Models show “greater potential impact” to US West Coast from Fukushima-contaminated rainfall than from radioactive water crossing the Pacific Ocean — California sea water with over 10 Million pCi/m3 of iodine-131 found in sample squeezed out of seaweed
Published: September 10th, 2014 at 9:00 am ET
- UC Berkeley Professor: California seeing Fukushima fallout won’t be a surprise — ‘Especially concerned’ after radioactive leaks at plant were admitted — “I’m not terribly confident in information Japan is sharing” January 19, 2014
- BBC: Scientist surprised at how much higher radiation levels are in some parts of ocean from Fukushima, it’s a ‘mystery’ — KPBS: Fukushima radiation is just going to become ‘a way of life’ for us” — California Professor: It’s certainly going to be in the environment, it just doesn’t go away (AUDIO) February 10, 2014
- ‘Marine Mystery’ in California: “Toxic outbreak threatening marine life” — Birds falling from sky, sea lions convulsing — “Worst they’ve ever seen” — Toxin hits record level, almost 1,000% above gov’t limit — Heart lesions, severe shrinking in part of brain, nervous system failure (VIDEO) May 3, 2014
- California Professor: “Serious threat” to our ocean, environment and society from ongoing Fukushima radiation releases — U. of California: “Unprecedented events with global consequences… fallout is far from over” — Scientist: ‘Risky’ (PHOTO) May 27, 2014
- PHOTOS: Sea star began “ripping itself into pieces” — Like a horror movie — AP: Deaths from Alaska to S. California — Biologist: Related to an environmental change? “An early warning that we aren’t picking up on?” — Professor: “None of us had ever seen anything like this before” November 4, 2013