Thursday, October 19, 2017

Almost 300 Species Found to Have Rafted Across Pacific After Tsunami

Article Written By: Kyle Tam


 According to a new study by scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, it has been found that during the 2011 Japanese tsunami, entire communities of coastal creatures crossed the ocean by floating on makeshift rafts. So far, 289 species have been found on the shores of Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast due to this strange event.
 During the March 11, 2011 tusnami, millions of objects along the Japanese coast were swept out to sea, from small pieces of plastic to fishing boats and buildings. These kinds of objects, according to the scientists, helped the various organisms make their transoceanic journey.
 The study noted that "none of the species had been known — or expected – to survive a transoceanic rafting voyage between continents, largely because the open ocean is considered to be a harsher environment for creatures used to more hospitable waters of the coasts. However, the slower speed of ocean rafts (1 or 2 knots, compared to 20 or more knots for commercial ships) may have allowed species to gradually adjust to their new environments. The sluggish pace of these “floating islands” may also have made it easier for some species to reproduce and for their larvae to attach to the debris."
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Photo Credit: John Chapman

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