Hundreds of sea birds dead, fish and mussels gone, in a fjord in Oslo, Norway #Birds #Mussels #Oslo #Norway
Something is seriously wrong with the Oslo Fjord and no one seems to fully understand why. Both fish and mussels have been disappearing, while the fjord’s characteristic seabirds known as ærfugl (common eider) have been found dead from Agder in the south to Østfold farther north.
Newspaper Dagsavisen has reported that the dead birds are believed to have simply starved to death. Experts conclude that only one thing is certain: the Oslo Fjord’s ecosystem has come under severe pressure despite massive efforts to clean up sewage and industrial pollution for decades.
Around 240 dead birds had been found as of mid-April. On Sunday, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that around 400 have now been found lifeless along the shoreline. Per Espen Fjeld of the conservation agency Statens naturoppsyn (SNO) told Dagsavisen a month ago that he fears the real number is several thousand.
Courtesy of newsinenglish.no
Hundreds of thousands of dead mussles wash up on beach in Maunganui Bluff, New Zealand #Mussles #NewZealand
A New Zealand resident stumbled upon hundreds of thousands of dead mussels at Maunganui Bluff Beach on the North Island. Scientists say the mussels likely died from heat stress from rising ocean temperatures.
Courtesy of weather.com
PHOTO CREDIT KURT HOLTZ
The Fresh water mussel is nature’s river cleaner. But every autumn, for three years running, there’s been a mass die off of one of the most important species. Biologists say, if this continues, what’s at stake is nothing less than our global river ecosystems.
The Clinch River system in southern Appalachia is world class, rich with wildlife from pretty much the entire food chain, top to bottom. But it’s the bottom that has scientists extremely concerned. A keystone species of freshwater mussel that filters a large portion of these waters is dying by the thousands and biologists are desperate to find out why.
Tony Goldberg is an infectious disease epidemiologist and a veterinarian from the university of Wisconsin, Madison Veterinary School. “We’re at ‘ground zero.’ This, the Clinch River is the best studied example of this. But throughout the world there are muscle populations that are experiencing what we’re calling mass mortality events where you’ll walk out onto the river and you’ll see unusually large numbers of fresh dead mussels.”
Courtesy of wvtf.org
PHOTO: Thousands of molluscs washed ashore last week at Cheynes Beach on Western Australia’s south coast. (Supplied: Raeline Smith)
Thousands of small green mussel shells were strewn across more than 1 kilometre of beach, with authorities warning people to exercise caution while swimming or fishing at the popular tourist spot because it may contain high levels of bacteria.
There are also a small number of other species on the shore, including starfish.
Last week’s scene shocked many local residents.
Ian Haskin, who is the assistant manager of the Cheynes Beach Caravan Park and also a marine biologist, said he had never seen anything like it.
“There’d be millions, a lot of small ones,” he said.
“The ocean was really putting on a show the day they turned up, there was a big easterly with quite big swells.”
Courtesy of abc.net.au
A variety of recently dead freshwater mussels at Wallens Bend, Tennessee, in the Clinch River. Photograph: Meagan Racey, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Mussels, the backbone of the river ecosystem because they control silt levels and filter water, are facing a mysterious affliction
Each fall since 2016, wildlife biologist Jordan Richard has returned to the same portion of the Clinch River in Tennessee, braced for the worst – tens of thousands of newly dead mussel shells gleaming from the surface of the water.
The mass die-off isn’t recognizable at first. But once Richard sees the first freshwater mussel, which look quite different to their marine cousins of moules frite fame, he scans the river and finds another every five to 10 seconds.
“The smell will knock you off your feet,” Richard said. “You see what was a healthy looking river, but now there’s just dead bodies scattered everywhere.”
Courtesy of theguardian.com
Dead mussels near Teller June 19, 2019. . (Photo by Lucy Oquilluk)
Residents from two Northwest Alaska villages say they found large numbers of dead mussels and krill washed up along shores in June, contributing to fears in the region that record warm waters may be causing a wide range of ecosystem changes, including unusual wildlife deaths.
The discoveries come amid profound changes in the ocean environment in Alaska linked to climate change, including a dramatic early ice melt, warmer water temperatures and record high air temperatures. There has been a string of unusual mortality events this season including deaths of seabirds and seals. Scientists are working to pinpoint what killed the animals and whether the deaths are related.
Mike Brubaker, director of the Center for Climate and Health at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, oversees a network of local environmental observers in Alaska and elsewhere. He wrote in late June that “an ecosystem scale event appears to be playing out” off Alaska’s coasts, related to unusual ocean conditions.
“We do not know if these events are connected or what the cause or causes are. There are a number of possibilities,” wrote Brubaker, an environmental health professional.
The northern Bering Sea in May and June has never been warmer than this year, according to Rick Thoman, a climatologist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Following years of low sea ice, those and other waters near the Seward Peninsula late last month were 6 to 12 degrees above normal.
Courtesy of adn.com
(Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2019
As a scientist, Jackie Sones trains her focus on observable data — what can be documented, quantified and compared.
But it’s taken some effort recently to keep her emotions at bay as she worked among tens of thousands of empty, gaping mussel shells, appraising the scope of a rare mass die-off along the rocky shoreline of the North Coast.
In yet another sign of the toll exacted by rising temperatures on the ocean environment, a period of extreme heat last month appears to have killed off a large portion of the mussel bed in Bodega Bay.
“It was just really hard to be surrounded by all these dead animals,” Sones, research coordinator for the UC Davis Bodega Marine Reserve, said after a weekend survey of the mussels. “You’re doing this as a scientist, to document the situation. But as a person, that was a challenging thing to be doing.”
Up to 70% of the specimens died in the hardest hit, most exposed areas of the mussel bed along the mile or so that Sones has been able to survey so far.
Sones has heard from researchers and citizen scientists about similar episodes ranging from Dillon Beach in Marin County to an area of the Mendocino Coast near Westport, suggesting a widespread problem.
The alarm is not just over the enormous number of mussels that basically cooked in the sun. In addition, mussels are a foundation species that provides habitat for other organisms, creating the structure in which they live.
The bivalves attach themselves to the rocks in tightly packed colonies in both the intertidal zone, which lies above water at low tide, and the subtidal zone, which sits below the low-tide mark. They help to ameliorate the energy of the surf and shade out the sun so smaller creatures can find refuge.
Snails, worms, barnacles and anemones are among dozens of species found where California mussels live. So the mortality event may extend to other species, Sones suggested.
Courtesy of pressdemocrat.com