Please support this Forum and Neven's Blog

Author Topic: Mysterious Seafloor Methane Begins to Melt Off Washington Coast  (Read 2371 times)


opensheart

  • ASIF Lurker
  • Posts: 53
    • View Profile
Re: Mysterious Seafloor Methane Begins to Melt Off Washington Coast
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2014, 06:21:18 PM »
Amateur guess coming:
The articles suggest that a lot of this new methane is being eaten by bacteria.
Is this not the same area were the Sea Stars and other creatures have recently be wiped out by some kind of bacteria/virus thing.  That is naturally occurring, but for some reason was suddenly overwhelming the Sea Star defenses.

Is it possible that a recent increase in methane is causing a bacterial bloom that is overpowering natural systems of the other creatures living there?  It is possible we have a chain of events here?   Coming together in ways not previously thought of?

Bruce Steele

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1032
    • View Profile
Re: Mysterious Seafloor Methane Begins to Melt Off Washington Coast
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2014, 07:55:02 PM »
Opensheart, We really are in uncharted waters here as the changes in ocean chemistry are happening at a pace that exceeds all precedent in evolutionary history on this planet ( last 500 million years ).
The starfish wasting disease is apparently caused by a parvovirus that has been documented  in invertebrates for 70 years so it's current virulence is a bit of a mystery still. Changes in ocean chemistry ( acidification ),changes in composition of viral communities, or potentially increased virulence due to newly mutated forms are all potential players. Methanotrophs in my opinion would be not so likely a contributor, at least directly, but they do contribute to acidification as they convert methane to Co2 and so contribute to acidification.
 There has been work done at Tatoosh Island ,Washington by Cathy Pfister and her husband Tim Wooten that documents pH changes happening there that have exceeded expectations for most of the drivers of acidification we currently understand. Along with those pH changes the shells of mussels currently collected show a marked Carbon 12 excursion from decades old collections as well as shells found in Indian Shell Middens of centuries past. I have been wondering if large methane venting and associated pH shifts might also play some role in the Carbon excursion? Time will tell I suppose but if the reception the Wooten/Pfister pair received when they published is any indication of the very hard push back other researches receive on this subject I would expect few takers or funding to pursue this issue.

  http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0025766

Also on the starfish wasting , please read comments

http://www.virology.ws/2014/11/17/a-virus-that-melts-sea-stars/

« Last Edit: December 12, 2014, 09:24:08 PM by Bruce Steele »

Bruce Steele

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1032
    • View Profile
Re: Mysterious Seafloor Methane Begins to Melt Off Washington Coast
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2014, 08:09:14 PM »
Here is a graph from the Plos one paper by Pfister on C13 changes

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0025766.g001/powerpoint

Laurent

  • ASIF Governor
  • Posts: 2521
    • View Profile
Re: Mysterious Seafloor Methane Begins to Melt Off Washington Coast
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2014, 10:18:33 PM »
(Not new but may be some info)

“It’s a hot topic,” Solomon said.

Warming Ocean May Be Triggering Mega Methane Leaks Off Northwest Coast
http://earthfix.opb.org/water/article/warming-ocean-may-be-triggering-mega-methane-leaks/

“It is the first time we have seen this level of seepage outside the Arctic that is not associated with features like oil or gas reservoirs or active tectonic margins,” said Prof Adam Skarke from Mississippi State University, who led the study.

‘Widespread methane leakage’ from ocean floor off US coast
http://www.zmescience.com/ecology/climate/methane-leakage-underwater-25082014/