Sunday, October 25, 2009

Algea Killing Sea Birds

Over the last two decades there has been a huge increase in double-crested cormorants nesting in the Columbia River estuary. This species of sea bird and its colony on Sand Island at the Mouth of the Columbia estuary is the main predator for juvenile salmon and steelhead smolts. The once small percentage of juvenile salmonid predation has increased dramatically with the population boom. But now this colony as well as the other populations of sea birds face a predator of their own. Mother nature has provided an obstacle in an unusual algae bloom stretching from the Northern Oregon coast to the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Though this new predator for double-crested cormorants brings a smile to my face, it also brings concerns regarding how this algae bloom impacts juvenile salmonids struggling to grow and adapt to the high salinity of the Pacific Ocean.

You can read more about this algae bloom through Oregon Live and via Koin Channel 6 News. For more information on the double-crested cormorants of the Columbia River estuary, read more from the Bird Research Northwest.

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