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Toxic Algal Blooms Kill Record Number of Manatees

2013 is shaping up to be a particularly deadly year for the endangered Florida manatee, whose population is estimated at around 5,000 animals. More than 460 dead manatees have been documented in the first three months of this year.

Exposure to a toxic algal bloom, known as red tide in southwest Florida is partially to blame for these threats. Red tide is a naturally occurring event, but this outbreak has persisted since September 2012. Manatees are affected by red tide neurotoxins when they breathe, and even more so when they eat seagrass coated by the algae. The toxins cause seizures that can result in drowning when the animals cannot lift their snouts above the water to breathe.

 
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Stormwater Pollution is Killing Coho Before Spawning - Researchers at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle worked with collaborators, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, local tribes and the Wild Fish Conservancy, to survey 51 sites from 2000 to 2011 in streams all over the Puget Sound basin. They used the survey data with a new computer model to map predicted coho death rates. The results show that in an estimated 40 percent of their range in the Puget Sound Basin, 10 to 40 percent of coho salmon die before they can even spawn because of pollution.


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