These sea slugs arrived in Oregon aboard a derelict vessel from Japan. (John W. Chapman via AP)
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Nearly 300 species of fish, mussels and other sea critters hitchhiked across the Pacific Ocean on debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, washing ashore alive in the United States, researchers reported Thursday.The researchers estimated that a million creatures traveled 7,725 kilometers across the Pacific Ocean to reach the West Coast, including hundreds of thousands of mussels.A magnitude 9 earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a tsunami on March 11, 2011, that swept boats, docks, buoys and other man-made materials into the Pacific. The debris drifted east with an armada of living creatures, some that gave birth to new generations while at sea.The researchers collected and analyzed the debris that reached the West Coast and Hawaii over the last five years, with new pieces arriving Wednesday in Washington.
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