Thursday, May 22, 2014

Two more boats, dock section wash ashore in Oregon

Adding to the enormous amount of marine debris that has washed ashore on eastern Pacific shores this week, two more boats (one intact, the other partial) and a small section of floating dock have washed ashore in Oregon today.

The first boat, although somewhat dilapidated, contained some biological surprises-  three live sea stars, an anemone, mussels and the giant red barnacle which has made many appearances- Balanus rosa. 

The boat found at Carter Lake that contained 3 live sea stars. (Photo: Scott Groth, ODFW)
The sea stars have been confirmed to be of the species Patiria pectinifera, a Japanese species- meaning they have made the journey intact across the Pacific Ocean.  Sea stars are predators, so they likely survived by eating barnacles and bivalves attached to the boat as it floated.  The concern is that invasive species could continue to do this and establish themselves in the rocky intertidal zones of the United States and Canada- potentially displacing important keystone predators such as purple and sunflower sea stars.

Some very cool, but potentially invasive sea stars were found hitchhiking aboard the vessel.  (Photo: Scott Groth, ODFW)

The second boat came ashore near Tahkenitch Lake and was in excellent condition.  It was approximately 22 feet in length, and had an intact hull ID plate, which will help to trace the vessel back to its original port and owner.  The boat was much less biologically diverse, and contained mostly pelagic gooseneck barnacles.

Boat ID plate that may help trace the boat back to it's origins (Photo: Scott Groth, ODFW)
The intact vessel that washed ashore.  (Photo: Scott Groth, ODFW)

Lastly, near the outlet of the Suislaw River (adding to the pattern that marine debris tends to wash up near fresh water outlets), a small section of dock as well as a net washed up.  The dock section was approximately 6' x 4' x 4' and had two live limpets on it.  Limpets have been an unusual occurrence on Japanese tsunami marine debris thus far, but have made a couple appearances in this recent pulse of items from Japan.

The section of concrete dock that washed ashore near the Siuslaw River (Photo: Scott Groth, ODFW)

A graph showing the increase in boats found since 2012.  That number has more the doubled in the last month- this number is only representative of reported boats; there are likely many more. (Sheanna Steingass)

 Reports of more major and culturally-significant debris are likely to pour in these coming weeks- come back soon!

A special thanks to Scott Groth (ODFW) for the excellent sample collection and photography of the latest debris.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog! I'll have to make sure to check it out on the regular! Hope to meet you again soon!