Sea star die-off

Fish & Invertebrate sightings and descriptions, hosted by resident NWDC ID expert Janna Nichols (nwscubamom).
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Dusty2
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Dusty2 » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:02 pm

Sounds like maybe we are turning the corner. The good thing is they are a fast growing species and hopefully one that has the ability to ramp up production when numbers are low.

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:59 am

The north end of hood canal down to Dabob bay is showing signs. This is something that really needs your help tracking, because we DO have a baseline for 'no disease' and with a bit of persistence can potentially map the spread more accurately.

So far the only species I see making progress at the site i've been surveying with regards to repopulating with some success is the mottled star. We have been seeing baby Pycnopodia but have yet to see them make it past large palm size and still no juvenile Pisaster (the purple stars) as of last week.

Not only was this an unprecedented opportunity for scientists to follow a very large scale mortality event, there is also the opportunity to watch and document the potential rebound. Things like 'how fast to sea stars grow?!" "which sea stars are most able to re-populate" "do mottled stars spawn more often which is why we are seeing more new recruits than pisaster? (they are all broadcast spawners so should start showing up) Will we see a sudden influx of baby pisaster in the same way the mottled stars started showing up again?

These are also observations that would be great to start getting if you get out regularly and are interested. Take a moment to survey one piling (an easy one to remember) and watch for new recruits, and when you locate one or two, monitor and document their growth! count the numbers of babies (of any species you see on a dive) There really isn't a site set up yet to capture this data, but you could start by posting it here or emailing/PM'ing. The beautiful thing is, it doesn't even have to be just one group of divers. if we all keep at it, documenting each site we visit and posting about it, I can wade through the posting and give the data to the scientists who putting together a 'bigger picture'.

Pete Raimondi from UCSC should be putting an animated heat map of the disease spread online any day now and one of the really cool things is that they used data from ALL sources, including what was posted HERE on NWDC.

Of course the gold standard is still to fill out the spreadsheet or this online form:

http://www.eeb.ucsc.edu/pacificrockyint ... n-log.html and submit it, but even a post here on NWDC or a #sickstarfish and instagram will be useful :)

Here is the sub tidal protocol:

http://www.eeb.ucsc.edu/pacificrockyint ... 4_0213.pdf

Here is the intertidal protocol:

http://www.eeb.ucsc.edu/pacificrockyint ... 3_1220.pdf

here is the Vancouver Aquarium spreadsheet:

http://www.vanaqua.org/index.php/downlo ... 4060/1466/
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fnerg
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by fnerg » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:30 pm

The thing that's been keeping me from doing sea star surveys regularly is lack of a dive buddy who's interested I'm doing a survey dive specifically. The transects seem like a more intensive survey method than the REEF surveys I'm used to.

That said, is anyone on this thread interested in a dive buddy to do surveys like this at a consistent site on a weekly basis? Preferably somewhere in Seattle if during the week, Mukilteo to south sound if during the weekend?

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LCF
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by LCF » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:48 pm

I would be interested, but nothing in my life is consistent.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:36 pm

The transects can be as simple as finding a piling (like ones at Cove 1) and picking a repeatable side - one you can recognize consistently like say the closest in to shore, on the side with the broken/loose tooth piling, or mark a side with a little number plate - then scan the "visible" side (you don't need to worry about the ones that are tucked way in) up and down for seastars or shoot a quick 1-3 min video with gopro or other camera and upload to youtube or vimeo and myself or the scientists can do the counting.

I usually do the survey as part of another dive (of course that means i'm diving cove 1 a LOT, but I keep telling myself it's for a good purpose) so i recommend picking a site that is either _really_ easy to get in and out, OR you find it fun to dive over and over again ;)

Would it make people more confident/comfortable participating if I helped put markers on a recognizable landmark AKA piling (I think they did this at one of the other hot spots) at a few of the commonly dove sites? Then folks could just record the site number and the survey data? That way we could have other people surveying same landmark which could reduce the burden on the individual teams. I can start by putting some number plates on the pilings at Cove 1 and shoot a demo video, I've been meaning to do this anyway now that the babies are showing up, mostly so when I post a video survey its really obvious to the folks who were not there what set of pilings it is in the video.

Thoughts?

fnerg (and anyone else interested), i'm out at cove 1 weekly... everyone is welcome to join. Its an 'all divers' dive, meaning during the day, and I keep it shallow and in the 30-45 min range. I swim over to the pilings drop down, do a quick transect on the pilings, then cruise along the bottle field a bit looking for baby pycnopodia, then hit the skeleton of the old pipeline, video active outfall a bit, then wander around the debris trail and shoot video of the assorted trash and cigarette butts, keeping eyes peeled for a random lumpsucker (yes, have seen one here!) and juvenile wolf eels. If there is more than one team, i don't expect everyone to follow my meandering, but hey, the more the merrier, and there is almost always video being shot :)


fnerg wrote:The thing that's been keeping me from doing sea star surveys regularly is lack of a dive buddy who's interested I'm doing a survey dive specifically. The transects seem like a more intensive survey method than the REEF surveys I'm used to.

That said, is anyone on this thread interested in a dive buddy to do surveys like this at a consistent site on a weekly basis? Preferably somewhere in Seattle if during the week, Mukilteo to south sound if during the weekend?
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by fnerg » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:58 pm

As far as markers, I was thinking about diving Alki Junkyard on a regular basis. The line there can be used as a transect pretty easily I think.

Anyone interested in doing a night dive there on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday? LCF?

Also, Laura, are you doing the Cove 1 dive this weekend? When? I'd be happy to help out if there's any help you want on that.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:30 am

Sorry fnerg, i was up north this weekend... we saw a lot of healthy stars on whidbey island, and only a couple sick individuals. It was heartwarming to see the sunflower stars all over :)

phpBB [video]
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by fnerg » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:58 pm

No prob, and nice video! On the bright side, I saw an ochre star on the honey bear tonight, two stimpsoni somewhere between the I-Beams and Ganesh, two spiny pink stars on the dolphins and I-beams, and 15+ mottled stars.

I also saw a vermillion star (and rockfish) and a spiny red star, but those species don't seem to be affected much.

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Greg Jensen
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Greg Jensen » Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:52 pm

Pt. Hudson breakwater yesterday- lots of healthy-looking stars, including one really huge Pycnopodia. However, there was one disintegrated Solaster stimpsoni and one S. dawsoni that was just starting to melt.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:11 pm

Thanks for the update Greg, keep em coming!
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Furnari » Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Not sure if you're also interested in news from further south, but a couple of weeks ago my group found signs of wasting in pinks and sunstars in Yaquina Bay (Newport, Oregon). This is especially a concern for the Oregon Coast Aquarium, as they (and the Hatfield Science Center) get their water from the bay. The folks in our group include two level 5 REEF surveyors, so we're pretty confident what we saw were wasting stars.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:00 am

We are absolutely still interested in stars from all over! Seriously, thank you!!!
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by fnerg » Fri May 16, 2014 11:49 pm

I saw a few decent-sized sunflower stars at Alki Junkyard tonight. A few spiny red stars, one leather star, a small rose star, and a few stimpson's too.

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Linedog
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Linedog » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:06 am

Sounds like it's returning.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:28 pm

Its back with a vengeance. Areas that were not hard hit in the first go round (on the west side of the sound) and San Juans are getting clobbered.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Nwbrewer » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:03 am

Mukilteo appeared to be getting hammered again last night. I thought they were close to releasing a paper on the cause of this? Last I heard it was in peer review. Anybody know what happened with that?
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by nwscubamom » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:40 pm

Hood Canal, more specifically Point Whitney, West Pulali Point, and the Pinnacle, all look just fine as of Saturday May 31st.

Saw:
Big and small Sunflower Stars
Lots of large Spiny Pink stars
Vermilion Stars
Long Ray Stars
Leather Stars
Blood Stars

And I had heard the same thing as Nwbrewer - that someone (at Cornell maybe?) had identified the cause, and was close to releasing the info.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Tidepool Geek » Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:08 am

Greetings,

According to this news piece from about two weeks ago, researchers are still four or five months away from identifying a cause:
http://www.kionrightnow.com/news/local- ... h/26147770

Impatiently yours,

Alex

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by WylerBear » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:04 pm

Dove Three Tree yesterday and saw NO Sunflower or Spiny Pink or Mottled Stars and saw only 2 Leather Stars. It's still bad.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:19 am

I got report today that indicates it is easing its way down the 'hood :(

A report came in this week from Brinnon, WA at Pulali Point/Jackson Cove.

San Juans are continuing to report carnage.

I'll be on the west side of Whidbey Island all weekend so will keep eye out. There were onsie-twosies there showing disease a few months back, i'm expecting to see minimal stars.

On a brighter note, reports came in from Tattoosh with maybe one sick star, but loads of healthy.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by LCF » Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:41 pm

We did two dives at Edmonds yesterday. I was surprised and delighted to see five sunflower stars. Three were clearly healthy, and the other two I think might have been showing the very first signs of wasting (increased visibility of the furrow between the arms). It was good to see them at all, though.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Hoodsport_Diver » Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:11 pm

Unfortunately it appears that the disease is making its way SOUTH down the Hood Canal.

I dove at Sund Rock on Friday, June 6, with a group of four other divers. We encountered quite a few sea stars in displaying various stages of the disease. The ranged from piles of goo, to dismembered arms , to unhealthy looking. We also saw several healthy sea stars (various species) in the same area.

On Saturday (June 7) I did not find any signs of sea star wasting at a site in Hoodsport (SOUTH of Sund Rock).

I don't know that I can make formal surveys, but will update this thread with future observations.
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Jan K
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Jan K » Sun Jun 08, 2014 3:51 pm

Whidbey Island - First week of June:
Dying at Keystone, Driftwood Park, Holmes Harbor, Langley.
Healthy at Deception Pass, Possession Point, Possession Pt ferry, Gedney Island reef.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by YellowEye » Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:43 pm

I was happy to see a good number of large healthy sunflower stars in the San Juans near Broken Point yesterday.
However, I did see one sunflower star with curled arms.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by jerryehrlich » Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:24 pm

Sund Rock North Wall area, tons of dead sea stars, wasting wide spread.
6/13/ 8:30 pm

Jerry

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