2:09 pm
  Local News
  State / National / World
  Opinion / Letters
  Arts / Entertainment
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  DJ Designers
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
Widespread starfish deaths reported along coast
November 04, 2013, 05:00 AM The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Marine scientists are finding a large number of dead starfish along the West Coast stricken with a disease that causes the creatures to lose their arms and disintegrate.

The starfish are dying from “sea star wasting disease,” an affliction that causes white lesions to develop, which can spread and turn the animals into “goo.” The disease has killed up to 95 percent of a particular species of sea star in some tide pool populations.

“They essentially melt in front of you,” Pete Raimondi, chairman of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of California, Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Lab, told The Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Even starfish in an aquarium at the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary visitor center in San Francisco died from wasting disease after water was pumped in from the ocean in September.

Sampling has found the disease in starfish from Alaska to Southern California, according to a map on the marine lab’s website.

Raimondi says wasting disease has never been as widespread as researchers are finding now.

In 1983-84, wasting disease hit Southern California but remained localized.

The disease usually affects one species, Pisaster ochraceus, an orange and purple starfish that grows up to 20 inches wide and is a staple of West Coast tide pools.

The starfish dine on mussels, so scientists worry that a collapse in the Pisaster population will allow mussels to multiply unchecked, crowding out other species.

Steven Morgan, an environmental science professor at the Bodega Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, has found emaciated sea stars on the rocks at Schoolhouse Beach north of Bodega Bay, but was unsure if wasting syndrome was the culprit.

Still, Morgan found the starfish deaths a “strange anomaly.”

“None of us had ever seen anything like this before,” he said.

Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, http://www.pressdemocrat.com



Tags: disease, starfish, marine, wasting, california, found,

Other stories from today:


Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
Return To Archives

Daily Journal Quick Poll
Are you ready for El Niño?

Yes, I've been ready
Not yet, but will be
Not sure
Waiting patiently
Not at all


San Mateo Community College District
Boy, 17, killed while walking home from school identified
A 17-year-old pedestrian killed when he was hit by an SUV in Pacifica as he walked home from school ..
Obama, Hollande pledge solidarity against ISIS
WASHINGTON — Pledging solidarity after the Paris attacks, President Barack Obama promised Tuesday ..
Russia confirms its jet was shot down near Turkish border
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey shot down a Russian fighter plane Tuesday — a long-feared crisis in Syri..
More >>  
©2015 San Mateo Daily Journal
San Mateo County help wanted