Something Strange and Alien Invades the Coast of Northern California...
And, no, it's not Jack Sparrow or mermaids.
Thank the heavens, right? Or it wouldn't hurt to see a mermaid, as they may be pretty easy on the eyes, at least from a pirate's standpoint. No, instead, as the video shows, we've recently seen an influx of migrations of these organisms known as pyrosomes. Freaky-looking things....
They're Also Known as "Sea Pickles" or "Fire Bodies"
And the big reason why we normally don't see this natural, alien phenomenon is that these 'organisms' populate the warmer, tropical waters -- except they seem to be migrating up more, as in toward Northern California.
The crazy thing is these pyrosomes aren't really 'organisms' at all, but rather 'communities' of very small multi-cellular creatures known as zooids, working together to coexist in a sort of gelatinous construct. And those constructs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
Some pyrosomes can fit in the palm of your hand. Others are as big as you see in the video. And even bigger still, as long as a sperm whale (about 40 feet long).
Some glow like jellyfish. Others are simply opaque and monotone, but equally gelatinous when you feel them. They're generally harmless, too, as the organisms inside the constructs feed on phytoplankton, but their recent presence in other parts of the ocean might be a sign of many other dangers to come:
Our Climate Is Changing, and It Could Be a Bad Thing for the Oceans
Since 2015, they've been showing up all over -- California, even Oregon and Washington State. Just so you're aware, that's way up north, way more than a pyrosome would normally be, hence there's something not right going on with the oceans.
The temperatures are going up.
Perhaps this global warming thing is starting to really take shape and make a statement.
Just How Bad?
It's speculative at the moment, and may only be a shift in the ecological landscape at least from a marine standpoint, but here's the thing: when research nets pull anywhere around 60,000 actual pyrosomes within five minutes of scouting the seas over in Alaska, you know there could be a problem, particularly with the fishing industry.
Those Alaskan fishermen, in fact, had to give up on their expeditions given that the sea cucumbers they found en masse were all stuck on their hooks. Fish were found regurgitating sea cucumbers by the dozens, and there's no telling whether they were intentionally ingested or consumed just for survival purposes. And we, more importantly, don't necessarily know if marine life in the northern waters benefit from pyrosomes being a source of food.
Or It May Not Be Too Terrible at All
It turns out that pyrosomes are a natural source of food for many predators: bony fish, dolphins, and even whales. So you can imagine that the influx of migrations of these "fire bodies" might be a welcome addition to the marine ecosystem in these cooler regions.
More studies are underway to determine the link between the migrations and warmer temps in the water. Until then, though, know that these little (or big) sea cucumbers are harmless.
Just don't eat them. Save them for the dolphins!
About the Creator
I am an author, adventurer, and father, living with my wife, four daughters and one son in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I've trekked through tundras, waded through swamps, wandered through deserts, and swam in the Great Barrier Reef.