Balmy temperatures can lead to conditions perfect for the spread of infectious diseases, Sanderson said. When sea ice melts too early in the season, seal pups must enter the water before they are ready to be weaned, leaving them weaker and more vulnerable to disease. Vanishing sea ice also means that seals and sea lions in cold regions will have less space to emerge from the water to rest, breed, or escape predators, forcing them to crowd more tightly together.
Unusual Mortality Event
In a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, a group of scientists from various state and federal agencies, universities and bird rescue organizations documented the die-off and concluded from the data that it was caused by a record-breaking ocean heat wave in 2014 through 2016 that triggered systemic changes throughout the ocean ecosystem.
Six dolphins — four dead and two alive — have washed up in Huntington, Newport and Laguna beaches. Two more were reported in Seal Beach but washed back out to sea.
The high number led PMMC officials on Monday, Feb. 25, to declare the strandings “drastic and unexpected.”
An unusually high number of dead minke whales reported along the East Coast in the past year has prompted federal officials to launch an investigation into what’s killing the protected animals. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday that… Read More ›
It comes as figures reveal 2017 as a ‘devastating year’ for dolphins and porpoises, with a total of 249 cetaceans recorded as Marine Strandings along the Cornish coastline – the highest recorded since 2003.
So far, 15 additional dead humpback whales have shown up along the east coast, bringing the total to 41. The high number led the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to open an investigation into what is now officially classified as an unusual mortality event.