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Hundreds of sea birds dead, fish and mussels gone, in a fjord in Oslo, Norway #Birds #Mussels #Oslo #Norway

Bird Alert

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.

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Hundreds of thousands of dead mussles wash up on beach in Maunganui Bluff, New Zealand #Mussles #NewZealand

09.04.2020 Mussles Deaths In New Zealand

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.

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Mass die off of #mussels continues in rivers in #Virginia, #USA


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.”

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Millions of dead #mussels wash up on #Cheynes Beach, #Australia

Thousands of tiny green mussels and a red starfish washed ashore on a beach

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.”

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Massive die off of #mussels ‘baffle scientists’ in various states across #USA

A variety of recently dead freshwater mussels at Wallens Bend, Tennessee, in the Clinch River.

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.”

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Massive die off of #Krill and #mussels in #Alaska, #USA

Dead mussels near Teller June 19, 2019. . (Photo by Lucy Oquilluk)

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.

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Hundreds of thousands of #mussels die off on north coast of California, #USA

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(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.

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Mass die off of mussels along 50 miles of Big Darby Creek in Ohio, USA

Whatever is killing fragile mussels in Big Darby Creek has spread along 50 miles of the protected waterway, and state and federal environmental officials say they are no closer to figuring out the cause after several weeks.
Biologists, mollusk experts and officials with state and federal agencies gathered Oct. 20 to talk about the mysterious die-off. They’ve been surveying the stream and collecting samples, but say it could be weeks before a cause is pinpointed.
In the meantime, the mollusks continue to die, leaving their empty shells strewn along the stream.
“This is one of the few last healthy rivers in America. If we lose that we’re losing a key piece of our heritage,” said John Tetzloff, president of the Darby Creek Association. “Mussels have been in decline for decades. … It was a recipe for disaster and this is the disaster. This could be the end of Darby as we know it.”
Mussels are immobile filter-feeders and are highly sensitive to environmental changes. That makes them “canaries in the coal mine” for various ecosystems tied to the Darby, Tetzloff said.
“When you start to see mussel die-offs, you might not see other impacts,” he said, “but they’re just the first one.”
Burrowed into the stream bed and sealed as tight as drums, mussels are among the hidden aquatic wildlife. But dozens and dozens of dying or dead mussels have surfaced along miles of the Darby since early October, said Anthony Sasson, freshwater conservation manager for the Nature Conservancy in Ohio.
At least two federally endangered mussel species, the clubshell and northern riffleshell, have been affected, said Jo Ann Banda of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“We don’t know what the issue is,” Banda said. “We really don’t know what’s happening.”
In other words, no one knows if it is disease, a spill of some sort or diminishing overall water quality.
“It’s still a mystery at this point,” said John Watts, a resource manager with Metro Parks.
This week, Sasson waded in the creek and found dead mussels with every step.
“I believe they’re still dying,” Banda said, adding that she has not witnessed similar mussel die-offs since she joined the agency in 2010. “It’s unusual.”
A major hit to the 44 recorded mussel species in Darby Creek could undo decades of conservation efforts.
The Big Darby, which empties into the Scioto River in Pickaway County, is a designated National Scenic River and considered one of the most biodiverse streams in the region, according to the Nature Conservancy. The creek is protected by state regulations and numerous local ordinances.
“If this hits the rare species, then that’s one more thing against them,” Sasson said.
Tom Watters, a mollusk curator at Ohio State University, said die-offs such as this are rare.
In July 2000, an agribusiness spilled 20,000 gallons of fermented grain, molasses and other substances into the upper Big Darby Creek, killing 24,000 fish. In the mid-1980s, 89,000 animals were killed following an ammonia and liquid fertilizer spill by a Mechanicsburg agribusiness.
Though endangered mussel populations have declined in recent state history, efforts in the past decade have helped reintroduce them in some waterways, Watters said. Biologists recently transplanted federally endangered mussel species into the Darby, including thousands of riffleshells from the Allegheny River in western Pennsylvania.
Tetzloff said he hasn’t had the heart to survey the damage.
“There are not rivers around the world that have 44 species of mussels in it,” he said. ” Tropical countries have their rain forests. Australia has its coral reefs. The United States has its warm-water streams.”
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Hundreds of thousands of dead mussels wash up on a beach in Jamesport, New York, USA

What caused thousands of blue mussels to appear along the shoreline in the Jamesport area this week hasn’t officially been determined. However, a local biologist believes the culprit may be rising water temperatures in the Long Island Sound.
“They’ve been hit with these consecutive heat waves that are just too hot for them,” said Christopher Gobler, the associate dean and researcher with the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook.
State Department of Environmental Conservation officials concurred.
“It is likely that high water temperatures due to the prolonged hot temperatures we have experienced this summer is the cause,” DEC spokesperson Aphrodite Montalvo said.
The mussel die-off appeared Wednesday morning just east of Iron Pier beach and west of the oil terminal. Jamesport homeowner David Gruner said he and his wife noticed a rotting smell that morning and walked along the private beach to find thousands of mussels.
Mr. Gruner, a Jamesport native, said he’s never seen anything like the recent mussel die-off.
“It has created a whole nuisance here,” he said.
Mr. Gruner, who described the mussels as clean and adult-sized, speculates they were farm-raised. He believes they died while being transported by boat and were dumped overboard.
Mr. Gobler, however, described his theory as “not probable.”
“It’s awfully coincidental,” he said. 
Mussels thrive when temperatures along the shoreline are around 70 degrees, Mr. Gobler said. Recently, shoreline water temperatures have hovered around 80 degrees, which he described as too warm for mussels to survive.
Mr. Gobler said he believes the mussels found in Jamesport were born in late 2013. The following two summers were cool, which may have helped the mussels grow but also made them less able to adapt when temperatures shot up this summer, he added.
Mr. Gobler also said he believes long-term climate trends show warmer ocean temperatures may be here to stay since satellite readings of ocean temperatures by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dating back to 1982 show rising ocean temperatures.
“Eastern Long Island Sound and the Peconic stand out as a region that’s already experienced more rapid warming than a lot of the rest of the region,” he said. “It’s already an area that’s warming quickly.”
The rising ocean temperatures coincide with increasing signs of global warming, Mr. Gobler added.
According to a recent NOAA’s climate report, this July was the Earth’s warmest month on record dating back to 1880. In addition, the report found 2016 has been the warmest year on record worldwide, which the agency described as an unprecedented trend.
Local authorities said they will be on the lookout for future mussel die-offs and algal blooms related to high ocean temperatures.
“As temperatures continue to increase due to climate change,” Ms. Montalvo explained, “the DEC will continue to monitor the effects of these changing temperatures on our local marine wildlife including shellfish and finfish.”
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Hundreds of thousands of mussels wash ashore, ‘something is wrong’, in Cape Town, South Africa

Copy of ca p17 Muizenburg Mussels Godfrey Permall6214
People have been feasting on mussels which have washed up in their hundreds of thousands on False Bay beaches in recent weeks – but authorities say it isn’t a good idea to eat them.
They cite a red tide, which has been known to contaminate shellfish, but this hasn’t stopped people collecting the delicacy by the sackload.
Local fisherman Godfrey Permall scoffed at concerns that the mussels may be toxic.
He says they wash up every winter – and when they do, he is waiting.
Permall, from Vrygrond near Muizenberg, fills around eight or nine plastic bread packets with the mussels, which he sells for R30 each.
He comes to the beach every day but it is in winter when the ocean’s bounty is most generous and helps put food on the table.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Carol Moses said harvesting would be legal with a recreational permit and providing bag limits were adhered to. Individuals can only catch 30 mussels each per day.
But she advised against eating the mussels, saying a red tide from Strandfontein to Smitswinkel Bay had persisted for much of June and the department had limited information on its toxicity.
Department of Environmental Affairs spokesperson Zolile Nqayi said that while no toxicity had been reported, anything dead for an unknown period and for unknown reasons should not be consumed.
Nqayi said the washing up of the mussels was most likely related to the big waves and rough ocean conditions experienced in False Bay.
Terry Corr, the head of education at the AfriOceans Conservation Alliance, believes eating the mussels poses a serious health risk.
He said the sheer numbers of mussels that have washed up from Strandfontein along the coast to Fish Hoek are indicative that something is wrong.
They include horse mussels, which he says are usually found far out and in depths of up to 50m.
“On Friday, sole were washing up on Fish Hoek beach, which isn’t normal. There have also been starfish.
“I was hoping officials would take samples, but there hasn’t been much happening.”
Corr said people could get extremely sick from eating the shellfish, especially if it had been affected by red tide.
He suffered shellfish poisoning two months ago from snorkelling in Simon’s Town and swimming through murky water which had a red tinge.
He doesn’t even eat shellfish but must have swallowed some water.
“I was violently sick and my face, fingers and toes went numb.”
But Moses said the washing up of the shellfish was an annual occurrence in autumn and winter due to stronger groundswells and a change in current strength and direction along the northern shores of False Bay.
Black, blue, brown and ribbed mussels initially attached to any hard surface with their byssus threads, while horse mussels were anchored deep in the sediment by their byssus threads.
Moses said that on the north shore there was limited rocky reef, so the mussels tended to anchor on to any available hard surface such as shells, plastic and nylon fishing line.
As they grew, they developed their own reef, which could only be broken free by the strongest currents and wave action and washed up on the shore, usually in winter.
“The tons of plastics and other debris washed, blown or dropped into False Bay makes it likely that mussel settlement and washout in these sandy areas is probably a lot greater in the present day than it was historically,” she added.
Emeritus Professor George Branch of the Department of Zoology at UCT said that, by chance, one of the world’s “starfish experts”, Chris Mah, was in Cape Town doing research at the Iziko Museum at the time of the “starfish washout” and had concluded that the stranding was a consequence of the heavy seas that had been experienced the week before.
With respect to the mussels, he said the safety would depend on whether there had been a toxic red tide in the area recently and how old the mussels were.
Branch said wash-ups of redbait and deep-water horse mussels were a frequent consequence of heavy seas during storms.
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