Hundreds of fish and animals die in Florida lagoon mystery


Along the shores of the Indian River Lagoon, one of America's most biologically diverse estuaries, hundreds of dead animals and fish are being swept to the shore, with no explanation to their mysterious deaths.

As well as many fish, more than 100 manatees, 300 pelicans and almost 50 dolphins were all found dead. Biologists are now trying to work together in order to discover what the problem is.

The lagoon is home to more than 600 species of fish and more than 300 kinds of birds, and contains more species than anywhere else in the U.S.

It stretches out over 156 miles of water and accounts for hundreds of millions of revenue from numerous water activities, including bird-watching, tourism and boating.

Being stretched across 40 percent of Florida's coast, the island complex consists of the Mosquito Lagoon, the Banana River and the Indian River Lagoon.

Although there is no known answer for these deaths, the lagoon has been polluted by nutrients and fertilisers running off lawns and farms. This can have effects on acidity, changes in water levels and salt levels.

This is good news for algae, which need high levels of nutrients to thrive, but can also have an adverse effect on the ecosystems' food supply for other animals, such as dolphins.

At present nobody can confirm the killer. There is confusion among the connection between the species problems. While manatees are vegetarians, pelicans and dolphins eat fish. The symptoms are also different, pelicans and dolphins are emaciated, while manatees' stomachs are stuffed. These differentiating factors are making the mystery difficult to solve.

Although biologists have some suspicions, they are left baffled with these illogical connections.

It is hoped that the lagoon will soon begin to recover, however it is believed that it could be close to a decade before things seem back to normal.

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