CORVALLIS, Ore. (KGW) - Researchers at Oregon State University said they made a disturbing discovery along the ocean floor off Oregon's coast.
Crabs and other marine life are suffocating from a lack of oxygen in spots called Dead Zones.
"A Dead Zone is an area in the ocean that basically has too low of oxygen values," said Marine Ecologist Dr. Francis Chan. "When the oxygen levels are high, the crabs are happy, and then the oxygen started to decline," said Chan, "And overtime they died, they suffocated on the sea floor."
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists were tracking crab populations when they found bizarre things happening in the waters off the coast this summer.
OSU has been tracking dead zones for more than a decade and Chan said the one they found this year is one of the worst since 2006.
Chan believes the appearance of Dead Zones comes down to a climate change.
The good news he said, the fall storms are helping stir up the ocean and get rid of them. However, he also said they will likely return next spring.