Scientists baffled by strange sea creatures near Alaska
Strange sea creatures that look like large pink buttons appear on the southeastern coast of Alaska for the first time after traveling north along the west coast in recent years.
Scientists say creatures are pyrosomes that are tropical creatures, clean filters that are usually found along the equator. They appear to be a long tube pink, but in reality are thousands of multicellular creatures gathered, usually about 6 inches (15 centimeters) long.
Pyrosomes headed north, said Ric Brodeur, a researcher with the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Associated Press on Monday.
Brodeur, which is based at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s agency in Newport, Oregon, said that pyrosomes were visible for the first time on the Oregon coast in 2014 and every year since. More recently, the animals are further north, on the coast of Washington State, British Columbia Canada and Alaska.
Jim Murphy, a biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States, said the pyrosomes seen near Alaska this year marked the first documented presence of animals in the north, and their appearance is cause for concern.
“This means that we clearly see very large changes in the marine ecosystem,” he told The Juneau Empire (http://bit.ly/2tiGSle).
Researchers speculate that the flower is linked to warmer ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean in recent years. But temperatures have cooled almost back to normal this year, Murphy said, and these pyrosomes began to appear in the middle of winter.
Leon Shaul, fish and game biologist followed the onset of pyrosomes in southeastern Alaska. He said he had “emailed everyone” on the subject, but did not understand much.
Brodeur told the AP that it is also rare to see how the pyrosomes are close, even though they are now further afield.
He said the creatures have a low nutritional value, raising concerns about how they will affect the fish that eat them.
“They are not the best food for the animals there, than they normally have,” he said.
Pyrosomes do not harm humans, but they have perplexed those who have fulfilled them.
Fisherman Jeske Don King salmon fish in February when he stated he was surrounded by “millions” of tube-like creatures who had never seen anything like this in 50 years of trolling around Sitka, a fishing village about 90 miles southwest of Juneau .
“They were everywhere, they were everywhere … I would say millions, not hundreds of thousands,” he said. “It’s a strange body, man.”
This story has been corrected to show that the US agency called the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and not the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.