Starfish wasting syndrome has spread to Oregon

Scientists still don't know what causes a mysterious disease responsible for widespread sea star die-offs, but they do know it has spread to a new area: the Oregon Coast.

Sea stars infected with the disease physically deteriorate before they die. In some cases, afflicted arms break off from the sea star’s body and walk away before dissolving completely. Scientists suspect a bacteria or virus is causing it, but they don’t know for sure. Until April, there had only been a few cases reported in Oregon.
More: PBS NewsHour.

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  1. This is difficult to watch, in spite of being so short. It seems we've only just begun to understand what amazing creatures starfish are. That fact that something like this is spreading, and the possibility it could spread further, is very disturbing.

  2. It's sad to see that the comments at the article are starting to blame Fukushima for it when there isn't any evidence to support it. It's just a distraction from getting to the bottom of this based upon valid science.

  3. Yeah, I was annoyed when I saw the references to Fukushima too . . . that sort of mindset isn't any better than the sort that creates the climate change denialists.

    I've had deepseanews.com on my siteroll for ages and they've been consistently excellent in their reporting of such things. I can't recommend them enough for people who want science in their science!

    http://deepseanews.com/2013/12/three-reasons-why-fukushima-radiation-has-nothing-to-do-with-starfish-wasting-syndrome/

  4. We were on the Oregon last summer. There on the beach of Brookings, the predatory starfish anchored at the lowest level of the rocks waiting for the tide to come back in. The rest of the rocks were heavily encrusted with mussels - millions upon millions of the them. There was also a red tide warning. Pity too, I would dearly loved to have had a bucket of those mussels, drenched in butter and lemon, and thick slices of garlic bread all washed down with a fine white wine.

    Our family used to buy our clamming licenses every winter and we'd drive down to Long Beach early in the morning to dig our limit of razor clams. I can remember the sadness we experienced the first time we heard of a red tide warning. It really affected the whole western side of the state of Washington. Like our beaches had suddenly been rendered unclean. This was in the 1970's.

    Red tide seems to be a more or less permanent fixture now during the warm months of the year. Starfish prey on shellfish and their food sources for shellfish have been under stress for decades. I recall reading that the phytoplankton responsible for algal bloom are responding to warmer water temperatures. Since the 70's the waters have become warmer still. I'm dubious that the starfish die-off started in the much colder coastal waters of Puget Sound and has worked its way down the coast, rather than from Mexico and California upward. I'd be more inclined to look at what has changed for the worse in the food chain from the starfish downward.

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