It may not seem like it, but for the past three years, the Pacific coast has seen above average ocean temperatures. This year, those temperatures finally cooled. Along with that cool water came some Spongebob-like little creatures, prompting a chorus of scientists to metaphorically bring back the 2015 meme WHAT ARE THOSE.
As reported by National Geographic, billions of little spiky, jellyfish-like creatures started showing up on beaches and boats this summer.
They're called pyrosomes, and they're usually found in the tropics. But this spring, they've been found in masses from Oregon to the Gulf of Alaska, which has left scientists totally perplexed. In the article, scientists in the article called the pyrosomes "mind-boggling," "really weird" and "unbelievable."
"For something that's never really been here before, the densities are just mind-boggling," says Laurie Weitkamp, another biologist with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. "We're just scratching our heads."
According to National Geographic, one research net pulled up 60,000 of these things in five minutes. They've also caused some fishermen in Alaska to stop fishing because they couldn't keep them off their hooks.
Some scientists have expressed fears over the repercussions of the sheer mass of the pyrosomes. When they die, their bodies "may suck vast amounts of oxygen from coastal seas, posing risks to other marine life."
Until then, scope this video of pyrosomes off the Oregon coast: