Deep Sea Harbingers
The sudden appearances of giant oarfish, which typically live deep in the ocean near the seafloor, have sparked fears in parts of the Philippines that the fish are warning signs of an impending large earthquake.
Three have been found off the northern coast of Mindanao since Feb. 8, with the first appearing just two days before a 6.7 magnitude temblor rocked the island.
The fish can weigh up to 600 pounds and are known in Japan as “Messengers from the Sea God’s Palace.”
Earth’s oceans have lost more than 2 percent of their oxygen during the past 57 years in a trend scientists warn could threaten the future of marine life.
A study at Germany’s Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research confirmed earlier predictions that if climate change and the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for it continue unabated, ocean oxygen loss will accelerate and reach up to 7 percent on average by the year 2100.
“Since large fish in particular avoid or do not survive in areas with low oxygen content, these changes can have far-reaching biological consequences,” said lead researcher Sunke Schmidtko.