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Strange afflictions have beset animals on the West Coast since Fukushima.  We have had  polar bears, walruses and seals with patchy hair loss and oozing sores on their skin.

http://www.reuters.com/...

Now we have sardine and starfish population collapse.

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/...

... ... ...

Scientists say an outbreak of “sea star wasting disease,” an affliction that causes starfish to develop white lesions, lose arms, and eventually disintegrate, is spreading at a rapid rate from Southern California all the way up to Alaska.

The disease has killed off some 95 percent of orange and purple starfish that are commonly found in West Coast tide pool populations, according to the Associated Press.
... ... ...

Federal fisheries managers have cut projections for West Coast sardine harvests by two-thirds while scientists try to get a better handle on indications the population is entering a significant down cycle.

Are the Fukushima meltdowns to blame for diseased polar bears and dying starfish and sardines?

Originally posted to Duckmg on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:05 PM PST.

Also republished by Science Matters.

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Comment Preferences

  •  See: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marsanges

    Duck, walk, talk, quack.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:12:44 PM PST

  •  From your own source article (14+ / 0-)
    Preliminary studies showed that radiation poisoning is not the cause, temporarily ruling out a theory that the animals were sickened by contamination from the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:24:06 PM PST

  •  Don't do this crap (6+ / 0-)

    Fukushima is deadly serious.

    Do not speculate.  Stick to science.

    •  Observation is not part of science? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight, 3rock, patbahn
      •  kindly discern between observation... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, wonmug, marsanges, Mortifyd, Cream Puff

        and irresponsible speculation.

        You are not on the West Coast counting sardines. By the way, fish are at least 4 times more radiation-resistant than humans, so if fish are dropping dead from radiation, all the human population on or near the shore should already be dead four times over.

      •  Observation (4+ / 0-)

        from first link:

        Preliminary studies showed that radiation poisoning is not the cause, temporarily ruling out a theory that the animals were sickened by contamination from the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. (emphasis mine)

        “The universe implodes. No matter.” -Liam Williams

        by northsylvania on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 11:52:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Intentionally misleading? Why not also (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Duckmg, northsylvania

          emphasize "Preliminary"? Fukushima link is horribly extremely unlikely, but not completely ruled out, which you try to imply.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 09:38:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's plenty of crap (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris

            coming out of Fukushima that isn't radioactive.
            One story was in today's Independent about the great cesspit of garbage in the Pacific, but it references FOX news, so Statesiders are probably aware of it. I was aware of the extent of the problem because of this earlier story of an Australian yachtsman who sailed across the Pacific this year. If you want to read something that will turn your stomach this is it.
            Sample quote:

            The next leg of the long voyage was from Osaka to San Francisco and for most of that trip the desolation was tinged with nauseous horror and a degree of fear.
            "After we left Japan, it felt as if the ocean itself was dead," Macfadyen said.
            "We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.
            "I've done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I'm used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen."
            and this:
            "We saw a factory chimney sticking out of the water, with some kind of boiler thing still attached below the surface. We saw a big container-type thing, just rolling over and over on the waves.
            "We were weaving around these pieces of debris. It was like sailing through a garbage tip.
            "Below decks you were constantly hearing things hitting against the hull, and you were constantly afraid of hitting something really big. As it was, the hull was scratched and dented all over the place from bits and pieces we never saw."
            Plastic was ubiquitous. Bottles, bags and every kind of throwaway domestic item you can imagine, from broken chairs to dustpans, toys and utensils.
            And something else. The boat's vivid yellow paint job, never faded by sun or sea in years gone past, reacted with something in the water off Japan, losing its sheen in a strange and unprecedented way.
            Now I'm not saying that radiation leaks aren't there. Demonstrably, they are. However the radiation scare is a bit of a sock puppet, distracting us from the fact that our hyper industrialised society, which relies on tons of toxic chemicals and planned obsolescence, can push an environment as big as the Pacific over the edge when a disaster strikes. Please note that this sailor had made the trip only ten years ago, before globalisation really got going and the Pacific Gyre of Garbage started the process of environmental destruction. In the end, we are, all of us, just as responsible as TEPCO, every time we buy an iPad or go to the Dollar Store for a cheaper bargain.

            “The universe implodes. No matter.” -Liam Williams

            by northsylvania on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 02:36:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Not likely, but it may be climate change. (21+ / 0-)

    Always best to look for academic sources, because media reports on science are typically sketchy at best.  For example, here's UCSC's discussion of the sea star die-off:

    The ultimate cause [of sea star wasting disease] is not clear although such events are often associated with warmer than typical water temperatures as was the case for the major die off in southern California in 1983-1984 and again (on a lesser scale) in 1997-98. Following the 1983-1984 event, the ochre star, Pisaster ochraceus, was virtually absent along southern California shorelines for years.

    As of Summer, 2013, there is evidence that we are at the onset of another Wasting event and one that is particularly troubling because of its spatial extent. MARINe monitoring groups have documented Wasting in Pisaster ochraceus from Alaska through California (see interactive map for specific locations).  Two common attributes for many of the sites are: (1) the period prior to Wasting was characterized by warm water temperatures, and (2) the effects are dramatic.

    As for the sardines, note that mass fish die-offs aren't a new thing.  Recently: in 2005 and again in 2011 the cause of the massive die-offs was suspected to be neurotoxins ingested after microalgal blooms (another telling marker of climate change, incidentally.)  Sardines are especially susceptible to this.

    Could radiation be playing a role?  Maybe, but so far there doesn't seem to be evidence in favor of that hypothesis.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 09:46:33 PM PST

    •  If we had better studies testing the fish for (0+ / 0-)

      Radiation, we could have a more informed analysis.

      •  Like what? (11+ / 0-)

        There's a bit of Ockham's razor here (not a foolproof principle, but an important one for research).  The current die-offs are consistent with pre-Fukushima die-offs, and if you're going to make a hypothesis that radiation is involved, you have to offer something more than gut instinct.  Why are these die-offs different enough that we should be pursuing this line of study?

        I mean, I'm all for more research whenever possible, but as a matter of inquiry, radiation doesn't seem to be the culprit here.  Research is expensive, and too many of our government-funded labs are running on fumes as it is.

        So what have you got?

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:04:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How about we observe die off's (0+ / 0-)

          speculate about the cause, rush to conclusions both implicating and absolving Fukushima and climate change.

          The studies ruling out radiation from Fukushima are preliminary.

          As for the cause being warmer water temperatures associated with climate change, that's certainly possible, but not the only possible conclusion that can be drawn; the neurotoxins ingested after microalgal blooms are a suspicion.

          I read all of this in the context of everything else I'm reading, extrapolate a little and get a decent bit of science fiction.

          emphasis mine

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 01:53:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Eh, no. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cream Puff, kalmoth, wildweasels, patbahn

            Grouping all these discussions together is a bit like saying evolution and creation are both just theories.  The reason warmer water temperatures have been discussed as a likely candidate is that it's been the a consistent variable across multiple die-offs and multiple populations in the current die-off.  The reason microalgal blooms have been implicated is that the dead sardines showed toxic levels of domoic acid.  Both of these are bit different than imagining Fukushima to be involved on the basis of gut reaction.

            Again, it doesn't mean radiation isn't involved, just that the evidence supporting that idea hasn't been provided.  And the other theories may turn out to be wrong, but they're built on evidential support.  These things are not similar.

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 03:04:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  these observations are all just theories (0+ / 0-)

              preliminary; suspicions, fictions as regards scientific theory.

              It's like going into court with a stack of exhibits but not being able to offer any of them into evidence as proof of anything because you haven't laid a foundation or authenticated them.

              You might consider them self authenticating because they
              are stamped technical and certified science, but proof is the name of the game.

              Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

              by rktect on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 03:24:51 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  And there we are. We really need to be spending (11+ / 0-)

      money on the vast interrelated events going on in the natural world, rather than on war machines.

      Our real grasp of what's going on in our oceans (not to mention rivers, air, gulfs, ... the whole panoply of the natural world) is at an infancy-stage. Ongoing events demand we focus on understanding what's going on.

      As far as Fukushima being a cause: can't see, at least for years, that one could say it is or isn't. We can certainly say it doesn't help. I wonder myself if all that tsunami debris which would include gas stations and chemical plants, etc. washed into the Pacific are a factor as well.


      Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

      by Jim P on Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 10:08:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  voodoo science alert... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mortifyd, wildweasels

    reposted to Science Matters.

  •  There is more happening in the world... (8+ / 0-)

    than Fukushima. Considering all the other stuff we dump in the oceans, blaming that power plant is a stretch.

  •  Please delete this diary: fact-check fail! (5+ / 0-)

    If it is not gone, I will hide-rate your tip jar. It is afactual. Sea star wasting disease is not new, it predates Fukushima at least by decades, and the current outbreak is not even the worst.

    Diarist (quoting some journalist):

    The disease has killed off some 95 percent of orange and purple starfish that are commonly found in West Coast tide pool populations, according to the Associated Press.
    UC Santa Cruz Pacific Rocky Intertidal Monitoring website:
    The ultimate cause is not clear although such events are often associated with warmer than typical water temperatures as was the case for the major die off in southern California in 1983-1984 and again (on a lesser scale) in 1997-98. Following the 1983-1984 event, the ochre star, Pisaster ochraceus, was virtually absent along southern California shorelines for years.
  •  posting about fukushima (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris

    will get you lots of trouble.

    •  bullshit... (6+ / 0-)

      it will get you on top of the rec list if you manage to maintain touch with reality

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      •  define reality. (0+ / 0-)

        There were lots of people quoting the TEPCO/GE
        party line right after the ground started shaking,

        The reality as I see it is at least 2 of the units have
        melted out the bottom of the building, and the other 2 have
        busted containment.

        The reality as I see it is you cannot trust anything
        coming out of Tepco and you should be very
        dubious about information from the JPG or USG.

        There are a trillion or so worldwide assets tied up in
        these infernal machines and the desire to protect the
        productivity of those assets leads a lot of people to
        lie through their teeth.

        Now I'm not too worried these days because Fukushima has
        rolled to pretty much a disaster and it's not fixable. it's just going to do what it does.

        As for other nuclear power plants, the rapid disruption of solar and wind is going to destroy those and coal plants.

        I'm very dubious wether any new nuclear plants will come on line.  Their LCOEs are so high as to make them a dying technology anyway.

        Now you ask the WNS or some the industry groups, it's all full steam ahead, Nuclear is too cheap to meter, there are no problems.  It's that same sound the people who made steam shovels said as the world shifted to hydraulics.

        •  1. Reality does not need to be defined... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laughing Vergil

          2. Don't change the subject - we are talking about the diary at hand, where every single claim made by the diarist has been shown to be pulled out of where the sun don't shine.
          3.

          As for other nuclear power plants, the rapid disruption of solar and wind is going to destroy those and coal plants.
          I honestly don't know what this is supposed to mean, sorry.
          •  Reality always needs a definition (0+ / 0-)

            If the reality is defined by what the Nuclear power industry
            declares.  

            How many people from the industry said in the first week
            "The problems at Fukushima are minor".

            Lots of people took a lot of heat for saying it was the worst incident in the history of the business.

            Maybe the diarist is over the top, but, reality has a way of catching up on the spin.  

            As for the other part, the ever rising cost of Nuclear and Coal is sunsetting those industries.  Smart players like Buffett are dumping investments into Nuclear and Coal in favor of
            wind and solar.

            The hypesters, the deluded, the angry and the technophiles
            will find soon enough that the electrical industry has moved on.

            I believe in 10 years we will see probably 30% fewer nuclear power plants running  and probably no more coal plants then we have today.

          •  The claims made by the diarist are (0+ / 0-)

            1) Sea Stars are wasting away in the pacific.

            2) The sardine population is crashing.

            Both of those are supported and factual.

            The diarist speculates that it's related to Fukushima.

            You then go Ballistic on the diarist.

            It's not unreasonable to speculate.

            That's the first step towards a hypothesis.

            Your raging on that, is why I said writing on the subject
            gets lots of trouble.

    •  not true (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mortifyd, Cream Puff, kalmoth

      there's been a few good diaries on the subject over the last couple weeks.

      Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- LutherCEO

      by terrypinder on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 05:16:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  no, it's actually climate change, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mortifyd, wildweasels

    climate cycles, and overfishing that's killing the sardines.

    Their decline comes in cycles related to long-term cycles in the Pacific Ocean. There's actually a great deal of research on it (the piece linked in this comment is 10 years old and is but just a sample, but it predicted the current die-off then.)

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- LutherCEO

    by terrypinder on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 05:15:03 AM PST

  •  diarist does not understand science (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kalmoth

    "Electronic media creates reality" - Meatball Fulton

    by zeke7237 on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 06:13:28 AM PST

  •  Over population is killing us (0+ / 0-)

    Its the last doubling that does it .Our lifestyle is really  divorced from Natures reality .  Everyone is in denial .   Various SF stories have been  prescient.  We are killing ourselves.

  •  Answer: NO, the ocean is very large (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marsanges

    and although there are some dangers if they don't get it cleaned up properly, it is not radiation, it is climate change that has probably done those things. Godzilla is not going to attack Tokyo any time soon.

    May you live in interesting times--Chinese curse

    by oldcrow on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 08:59:11 AM PST

  •  Coincidence isn't correlation and correlation (0+ / 0-)

    isn't causation. In fact, as some have been busily striving to inform us, radiation is good for all living things. Natural radiation sources abound, but they really aren't enough and we should add more as often as possible.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 09:31:24 AM PST

  •  Tipped to offset the HRs, which are without (0+ / 0-)

    merit.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 09:34:47 AM PST

  •  I don't know... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Duckmg, patbahn

    Are the Fukushima meltdowns to blame for diseased polar bears and dying starfish and sardines?

    But I do know asking that question can get your tip jar troll-rated.

    "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 02:56:53 PM PST

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