Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome

On January 5 I saw sea stars affected by the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome on Whidbey Island, Washington, for the first time. I was diving at Possession Point Fingers when in 30 ft. of water I noticed scattered arms of a pale-colored sea star (a spiny pink star Pisaster brevispinus?) and  a sunflower star  ( Pycnopodia helianthoides) in distress on the edge of a clay wall. Its arms were stretched out as if they were ready to fall off (later I did see a detached sunflower star's arm). It was indeed a sad sight: 



Yesterday, January 15, I saw more sunflower stars that showed signs of the same disease at Keystone Underwater Park near Coupeville:


There is no doubt that Sea Star Wasting Syndrome is spreading at an alarming rate in Whibdey island waters and beyond. 

Since I have heard about the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome few months ago I have been submitting sea star surveys to the Vancouver Aquarium:


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© E. Betty Bastai

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2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this. Even though in nature death and disease are 'normal' it is still said to see these beautiful creatures so disfigured and dying. How much are humans triggering this situation?

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  2. I think at this point nobody knows for sure but the fact that this time it so widespread all over the Pacific Coast that accelerating global warming may have something to do with it and therefore humans. I wonder how the sea stars are doing in Japan...

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