Manatees, dolphins and pelicans are dying at record rates. Blue crabs seem weak. Bloom after bloom of algae clouds the lagoon’s seagrass.
Scientists can’t say with any certainty what’s wrong, though all agree something has gone awry and may be irreversible.
Some point to global warming. Others blame pollution. Even manatees are among the speculation about what’s triggered the collapse.
Whatever the reasons, those who make their living on the lagoon — North America’s most biologically diverse estuary — witness daily signs of decline that make them worry: Is our lagoon in a death spiral?