Millions of krill wash up on NW beaches

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by Associated Press

kgw.com

Posted on June 28, 2013 at 11:30 AM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Millions of krill -- a tiny shrimp-like animal that is a cornerstone of the ocean food web -- have been washing up on beaches in Southern Oregon and Northern California the past few weeks.

Scientists are not sure why.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oceanographer Bill Peterson says they may have been blown into the surf by strong winds while mating near the surface, and then been dashed on the beach.

Or, they may have fallen victim to low levels of oxygen in the water. Peterson says the mass strandings are unusual but not unheard of.

And there is no way to tell yet whether this represents a significant threat to a source of food for everything from salmon to whales.

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