Scientists study massive krill die-off on coast

EUREKA, Calif. - Scientists are trying to determine what caused millions of shrimp-like critters known as krill to die and wash ashore along 250 miles of coast from northern California to southern Oregon last month.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat (  ) reports one theory is that a shift in the wind caught the animals near the ocean surface and caused them to be swept ashore.

Scientists say the strandings were reported from Newport, Ore. to McKinleyville in northern Humboldt County in mid-June, making it the geographically largest krill die-off on record.

Officials say an examination of 10 krill found all were female and most carried sperm packets, suggesting they may have perished just after mating.

Scientists have noted an abundance of krill that have drawn a concentration of whales and salmon this year.

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