Pancake Batter Sea Creatures Are Thriving Near the Maine Coast

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first_imgStay on target Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend ‘Pancake batter’ sea creatures are claiming marine territory off the Maine coast and prompting local scientists to study their habitats.Marine scientists said these ‘pancake batter’ sea creatures, also known as sea squirts, are increasing in shallow waters along the coast and could be threatening to native organisms, Bangor Daily News reported.The invasive tunicate Botrylloides violaceus has made its home in the Gulf of Maine. (Photo Credit: Jennifer Dijkstra/UNH)Due to the sea squirts moving in, native organisms are being pushed out of their traditional homes on the bottom of the coastal floor. It’s likely that sea squirts, along with other unfamiliar species like black sea bass, green crabs, and mola mola, are coming to the area because the waters are warmer there.Larry Harris, a University of New Hampshire zoology professor, said one of the sea squirt species that resemble ‘pancake batter,’ Didemnum vexillum, is increasing under the surface.“They are having a banner year this year. They are out there competing with the seaweeds and [other organisms] on the bottom,” said Harris.Sea squirts are on the move for the first few days of life and then attach to pilings, rocks, seaweed, or abandoned lobster crates that are left too long at the bottom of the ocean. They absorb water and nutrients through their bodies and grow in groups.An American lobster walks past invasive tunicates, or sea squirts, near the Isles of Shoals. (Photo Credit: Jennifer Dijkstra/UNH)According to University of New Hampshire research, with a water temperature increase of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over the next few years, invasive species, including the Botrylloides violaceus and Didemnum vexillum, will be able to double their reproduction rate due to warm water. This small change in temperature might cause these animals to take up more space, endanger native organisms, and be problematic for local aquaculture and fishing industries.Even though these sea squirts can be pesky to deal with, there is hope. According to Rhian Waller, a Darling Marine Center associate professor, there are ways to remove sea squirts if they’re stuck to an object that was submerged underwater. If you leave oyster cages or lobster traps out in the rain, it will kill them, because they despise fresh water, Waller told the Bangor Daily News.Despite measures to reduce sea squirts, Waller said there’s nothing we can do right now. Other sea animals, including crabs and urchins, do feed on them, which helps a bit. But, for now, it looks like these weird ‘pancake batter’ critters are here to stay.More on Geek.com:100-Plus New Marine Species Discovered Around BermudaOcean Rover Uncovers Rare Shark Nursery Off Irish Coast‘Headless Chicken Monster’ Spotted in Southern Oceanlast_img

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