The mysterious die-off of young salmon heading out to sea in the Pacific Northwest, along with far lower plankton levels than normal, have many scientists shaking their heads in disbelief and concern since not one mainstream ‘expert’ has mentioned radiation as a possibility. But sometimes silence speaks the loudest.
One scientist, Karlista Rickerson, collects and investigates water samples in Seattle and King County, home of copious salmon, yet she noticed her most recent samples contain far less plankton than she would expect to see this time of year. This accompanies a recent phenomenon of sea star die-offs that locals in the area are observing.
Rickerson theorizes that there has been a surge in the creatures that feed on the microorganisms — creatures that typically fall prey to sea stars. She doesn’t know what is causing the break down in the food chain, though.
“There are too many questions. All I can do is ask more,” she said.
Tribal groups and scientists are now looking closer at plankton in Canada, too. If the supply of plankton is off due to some ‘mysterious factor’ like radiation poisoning, then the die off of young salmon when they enter Puget Sound from their native rivers could be explained. Baby salmon eat plankton, as well as the smaller fish, and if it isn’t growing then the salmon have no food source. No matter what the cause, scientists need to figure out what is disrupting the food chain and causing plankton levels to be so low.
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