Saturday, September 22, 2007

Everything Changes



Blue whales keep showing up dead off the California coast. A dead blue whale was found floating off of Santa Barbara yesterday. This brings the count to three dead blue whales that have been found in the past two weeks. The usual body count is one dead blue whale found per year. It's a murder mystery out of Raymond Chandler.
A blue whale that washed ashore in Ventura County last week and one found dead in Long Beach Harbor two weeks ago both are believed to have been hit by ships, but it isn't known if the whales were slowed or disoriented by illness.

"If they're all being hit by ships, you have to wonder whether they're compromised in the first place," said Mate, director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University. Scientists want to know whether domoic acid played a part. The highly toxic substance, created by bacteria found in algae blooms, can virtually paralyze marine mammals and has killed dolphins and sea lions in the channel.
LA Times.

The algae blooms that produce the debilitating domoic acid are likely to have been expanded due to human behavior. Specifically, sewage release into the ocean increases the amounts of nutrients available for the algae to feed on; climate change may also help increase the algae blooms. Some believe that the whale deaths may be related to suspected changes in the whales' migratory patterns, which in turn have been affected by climate change. There is also the possibility that the dead whales' sonar abilities were damaged by massive underwater military sonar discharges utilized by the U.S. Navy. A Naval base in San Diego uses the damaging sonar blasts, right into the blue whale's migratory path.

Here's hoping that time travel thing of getting to warp 10 by boomeranging around the sun actually works.

2 comments:

MK said...

Thing slightly more pleasant on the marine mammalian front:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,508483,00.html

darwin said...

save the planet
put nature above money