October 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm #870MikeKeymaster
Gulf of Mexico mystery
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Scientists are worried Siratti Sam could also become a casualty.
About 20 dead sea turtles have washed ashore in Pinellas County in
the past three days, an extremely high number that has doctors and
One of the two survivors that’s being kept at the Clearwater Marine
Aquarium is a large, loggerhead turtle named Siratti Sam.
“I still don’t know if he’ll make it,” said Dr. Janine
Cianciolo. “It’s little movements. Yesterday, he wasn’t moving at
all. [He’s] still not in water because he’s not keeping his head
above water for long enough periods of time.”
It’s not clear why the various kinds of sea turtles are washing
“It may or may not be associated with red tide,” said
Cianciolo. “They tend to show symptoms of what’s called a red tide
intoxication, but you have to take a lot of samples and they must go
through testing to actually determine that.”
Dive instructor Michael Miller took underwater video to try to figure
out the mystery.
“Right now, anywhere we go from shore to 20 miles offshore, from
Sarasota to Tarpon Springs, we can’t find a single creature alive on
the bottom right now,” said Miller.
Miller says he’s never seen such death and devastation under water in
his 20 years of diving.
“All the coral, all the sponges, all the crabs, not a single living
thing, all the star fish, the brittle stars, everything’s dead,” said
The sea turtles that died are being preserved with ice at the
aquarium, where a necropsy will be performed in hopes it will provide
some clues as to what’s lurking in the waters of the gulf.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission scientists will
ultimately decide whether red tide is causing the sea turtles to die.
The results from the test could take anywhere from a couple of days
to a couple of weeks.
If you see a dead or injured sea turtle, call the 24-hour stranded
sea turtle hotline at 727-441-1790. You’ll be asked to leave a
message with a phone number so rescuers can respond to the
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