The Japanese tsunami carried marine life to the coast of North America

Tsunami caused by the most powerful earthquake in the history of Japan, led to extensive “migration” of marine life to the opposite coast of the Pacific Ocean. American scientists studied the biota that inhabits fragments of objects from the Japanese coast, and found there a population of 289 species of living organisms. The article is published in the journal Science.

In 2011, the eastern coast of the Japanese island of Honshu was the most powerful earthquake in the history of the country in magnitude 9 (by some estimates – 9.1) points. The earthquake also caused a strong tsunami (its height reached 40 meters), which led to massive pollution of the Pacific Ocean with debris of objects located on the coast: for example, piers and fishing barges. Subsequently, these fragments carried from the eastern part of the ocean to the western and central parts: some fragments of destruction were found, for example, off the west coast of North America.

Fishing barges moored to the shore, as well as pier bases and sea buoys can serve as the habitat for many marine organisms: from protists and invertebrates to small fish populations. The authors of the new work found that fragments of objects from the coast of Japan carried with them and the entire fauna inhabiting them: seven thousand kilometers from their original habitat.

Scientists have studied 634 objects brought from the west coast of Japan: a fishing pier and a barge, fragments of trees and a lot of buoys. Researchers have identified populations of 289 species of organisms, including the giant oyster (Crassostrea gigas), the species of the sea saucer Siphonaria sirius, as well as the population of striped stingers (Oplegnathus fasciatus).

Most organisms were discovered inside and on the surface of a fishing vessel from the port of the Japanese city of Misawa, which was carried to the shore of the American state of Oregon in June 2012.

The habitual habitat of all found organisms is the western part of the Pacific Ocean, which, according to scientists, means that they came to the shores of North America from Japan.