Everyone has a story. What's yours?
Linda Thomas
tatoosh.jpg

Global warming lessons learned on Tatoosh

Scientists who've been studying tiny Tatoosh Island off the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula for decades say there has been a disturbing decline in wildlife there.

Because of its isolation, climate, and location in the Pacific Ocean, the uninhabited island is home to many nesting seabirds, several marine mammals, and a diverse community of marine plants and animals.

It's a prime nesting site for one of the largest seabird colonies off the coast of Washington, with up to 5,000 common murres nesting and breeding there.

The New York Times has a fascinating piece about the environmental changes observed on Tatoosh by Robert Paine, a retired zoology professor from the University of Washington.

At the age of 79, he visits Tatoosh Island several times a year to continue the research he started in 1967. University of Chicago biology professors Cathy Pfister and Timothy Wootton join him.

An excerpt from the article: "Among the declines the researchers are noticing: historically hardy populations of gulls and murres are only half what they were 10 years ago, and only a few chicks hatched this spring. Mussel shells are notably thinner, and recently the mussels seem to be detaching from rocks more easily and with greater frequency.

Goose barnacles are also suffering, and so are the hard, splotchy, wine-colored coralline algae, which appear like graffiti along rocky shorelines.

While not entirely understood, the declines are not entirely mysterious. Biologists suspect that the shifts are related to huge declines in the water’s pH, a shift attributed to the absorption of excess carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in ever-greater amounts by the burning of fossil fuels for energy.

As the carbon dioxide is absorbed, it alters the oceanic water chemistry, turning it increasingly acidic. Barnacles, oysters and mussels find it more difficult to survive, which can cause chain reactions among the animals that eat those species, like birds and people."

Read the full article here

Photo courtesy the Makah Tribe environmental restoration team

Linda Thomas, KIRO Radio Morning News Anchor
Linda is the morning news anchor and features reporter for KIRO Radio and one of the most followed local journalists on social media.
Top Stories

  • Fact Check
    Jason Rantz says actually, there are laws to address negligent gun owners

  • Best in the House
    With Seahawks home games 'sold out' the ticket price of this seat doesn't seem so bad

  • Microsoft's Latest
    Microsoft releases a band that monitors more than just your fitness
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
About Linda
Linda is the morning news anchor and features reporter for KIRO Radio. This is her local news blog, with an emphasis on social media, technology, Northwest companies, education, parenting, and anything else that grabs her attention.

If you have a news tip or story idea, I'd love to hear from you...

To leave a voice message for Linda about any of her stories call toll free 1-855-251-2363

Follow Me on Pinterest



Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.