Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sea Urchins Dying Off California Coast

Hundreds of dead or dying purple sea urchins have washed up into tide pools at a Southern California marine refuge center in recent days, but no one is certain what is killing them.

"On Monday there were 200 or 300 that littered just the tide pool area," said Amy Stine, a supervisor at the Little Corona Marine Life Refuge. Normally, she said, she sees at most three urchin shells a day. "Most of them that are now left on the shore are dead. The sea gulls are having a heyday with them," Stine said....


It would be nice to have a grasp of how much more frequent and severe these things are. When I was at the beach a couple months ago - one day there were a few starfish and a couple jellyfish - another day - not much to speak of. It can be interesting for those of us who get to the beach infrequently to see a few of these things - when it seems natural. When the sealife is dying by the hundreds - that's something else again. Though as the article mentions, it's good for the seagulls (unless the urchins were poisoned somehow - see "Dark Tides, Ill Winds" for more about that).

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