Ocean News, 2018: What Happened to the Sea Stars?

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 20 March 2018


Ocean News
What Happened to the Sea Stars?

Great Mystery Deepens

Marine researchers say recent sea star wasting disease epidemic defies prediction,
University of California - Santa Cruz, March 20, 2018.


90% of ochre sea Stars died in range from Baja to Southern shores of Alaska

"We've been monitoring sea star populations for a long time, but this event is far broader in geographic scale than anything we've seen before."

"This latest outbreak extended from as far south as Baja California, Mexico, all the way to the southern shores of Alaska."

"...southern California and the Channel Islands experienced more severe declines than those farther north. In the south, adult sea stars declined by 99 percent or more at over half of the 39 sites surveyed, whereas only 2 sites in the north experienced similar levels of decline."

"...juvenile sea star mortality in the period after the initial outbreak of SSWS increased by approximately 90 percent compared to pre-outbreak levels."

"Past SSWS events were often correlated with El Niño events and their associated periods of warm water, but that was not the case with the 2013 outbreak."

"...factors that frequently influence the emergence and severity of marine disease events, like temperature and population density, did not correlate with this outbreak."

"...the epidemic that started in late 2013 is still ongoing, though the major population crashes noted in 2014 and 2015 have since leveled off. "I'd want to see current population levels persist for another six months or so before saying this disease event is over."



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