Turtle Die-Off in Flanders Bay

TURTLE DIE-OFF IN FLANDERS BAY: IS PSP TO BLAME?

Hundreds of dead diamondback terrapin turtles have been washing up dead on the shores of far western Flanders Bay since late April. Investigators from Stony Brook University found ~40 more this morning on Iron Point in Flanders. Diamondback terrapin turtles feed on bivalves and Meetinghouse Creek, which is due north of Iron Point, was closed to to high levels of saxitoxin within bivalves 10 days ago due to an ongoing red tide (Alexandrium) bloom. Saxitoxin causes the syndrome, PSP, or paralytic shellfish poisoning, which was originally described for humans, but can afflict other animals. Preliminary evidence indicates there was saxitoxin in the turtles. More detailed, forthcoming tissues analyses will provide further information on this linkage. One thing is clear: eating bivalves with saxitoxin was unlikely to have been good for the turtles.