Source: Science Daily
Scientists tracking an atypical nudibranch distribution off the California coast have suggested that the explosion of bright pink sea slugs might signal a warming ocean and a powerful forthcoming El Niño event.
The team from the California Academy of Sciences, University of California Santa Barbara, University of California Santa Cruz, and Bodega Marine Laboratory have noticed the inch-long Okenia rosacea nudis north of their typical ranges in Southern California, from San Luis Obispo to Humboldt County. The last time these nudibranchs appeared so far north and in such high densities was during the 1983 and 1998 El Niño events.
For much of 2014, ocean temperatures off the California coast remained several degrees higher than normal, and this has prompted some unusual visits, including dolphins and humpback whales lingering in Monterey Bay. In September last year, a sea turtle typically found off the coast of Mexico and the Galápagos was found by a fisherman near San Francisco.
Scientists have noticed the paucity of both the “upwelling” of deeper, colder water and the winds that normally cool surface waters.
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