Enenews ‘Federal gov’t declares rare Unusual Mortality Event in So. California — 70% of all newborn sea lions may be dying — Testing for toxins, infectious agents (VIDEO)’ (2013, March 28), http://enenews.com/noaa-declares-rare-unusual-mortality-event-in-so-california-70-of-all-newborn-sea-lions-may-be-dying-testing-for-toxins-video
Majia here: I'm so saddened by the sea-lion deaths. I love sea-lions. I grew up mostly on the north California coast and then went to college at San Diego State. I love the pelicans, sea-gulls, and sea-lions. I also love the hermit crabs.
Last summer I posted on the strange deficit of hermit crabs at my favorite La Jolla beach that I've been going to annually since 1983 when I arrived in San Diego as a college freshman. The beach is Wind and Sea. My kids love Wind and Sea because there are excellent tide pools full of different kinds of crabs and tiny fish.
This summer my kids noted that there were very few hermit crabs in the tide pools. I had noticed it also. See my post here
I found a study that indicated that hermit crabs bioaccumulated more radiocesium than any other animal sampled in the Bikini Atolls in the early 1960s.
Animals that bioaccumulate cesium may very well suffer more acute effects from fallout than animals whose varied diets result in less bioaccumulation of that particularly nasty radioisotope.
The missing hermit crabs reminded me of the missing cockroaches in my yard. See More on Missing Cockroaches
Cockroaches, believe it or not, are actually quite vulnerable to radioisotopes in the soil because they breath through cilia-like structures on their legs, which are moving on/through soil. So, although they may be able to withstand the initial gamma blast of a nuclear bomb, they are not likely to survive heavy fallout of radioisotopes in their immediate environment.
Other animals have also experienced significant UNPRECEDENTED collapses this year, including Pacific King Salmon, Monarch Butterflies, and Bees in California. These animals were experiencing collapse before Fukushima, but I believe the fallout accelerated their decline in numbers.
The problem is that radioisotopes like cesium, strontium, uranium, plutonium, and others are confusing to biological bodies, which mistake them as potassium, calcium, iron, etc.
So, the radioisotopes get concentrated in bodily organs and in bone marrow. They are also extensively concentrated in the placenta and breast milk of mammals (particularly radio-iodine).
I think its important to review the evidence about iodine fallout in Southern California waters when considering the sudden die-off of sealion pups. Radioiodine in kelp will bioaccumulate in animal life and bio-magnify up the food chain.
Here for example is a study that found in humans radioiodine is highly concentrated in breast milk:
"Concentration of iodide in breast milk is several-fold (up to 30 times) higher than the free component in the plasma, because it is actively secreted into the breast" cited in Stabin and Breitz "Breast Milk Excretion of Radiopharmaceuticals" The Journal of Nuclear Medicine 2000
So, animals eating the kelp will be eaten by sealions and the radioiodine that hasn't decayed away will end up in the sealions breast milk in high concentrations.
Who knows what other radioisotopes are also in southern Ca kelp from Fukushima.
How did the radioisotopes end up there? Through "wet deposition" a.k.a., rain!
[BACKGROUND] Contamination has been detected as far away as U.S. coastal waters in Southern California. A study, focusing on radioiodine in U.S. coastal kelp, reported that a high of 40 MBq 131I , or 40,000,000 Bq/kg of Iodine-131 had been detected in one bed of Macrocystis pyrifera off the coast of Southern California in the summer of 2011.[i] The researchers of the kelp study described their findings in a local Long Beach media interview:
‘Radioactivity is taken up by the kelp and anything that feeds on the kelp will be exposed to this also,’ [California State University, Long Beach marine biology professors Steven L. Manley] continued. ‘Even though we detected low levels, it still got into the environment and we don’t know anything about the other radioisotopes like Cesium 137, which stays around much longer than iodine. In fact, the values that we reported for iodine probably underestimate what was probably in there. It could be two to three times more because we were just sampling the surface tissue; the biomass estimates were based on canopy tissue and a lot of kelp biomass is underneath. So, probably two or three times more was in the tissue at its height. Then it enters the coastal food web and gets dispersed over a variety of organisms. I would assume it’s there. It’s not a good thing, but whether it actually has a measureable [sic] detrimental effect is beyond my expertise.’[ii]
Kelp is at the bottom of the food chain. The radioisotopes in kelp will biomagnify up the food chain.
[i] S. Manley and C. Lowe (6 March 2012) ‘Canopy-Forming Kelps as California’s Coastal Dosimeter: 131I from Damaged Japanese Reactor Measured in Macrocystis Pyrifera’, Environmental Science & Technology, http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es203598r?journalCode=esthag