Sea star die-off

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

Postby Jeremy » Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:08 pm

There were several healthy adults at Illahee a few weeks ago... Not sure if that meets the bang for the buck criteria though..

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:48 pm

The Scientists working on this locally need our help! They need some healthy pycnopodia for another round of infectiousness studies, along with some samples from different sites where active wasting is still going on, and star food from those sites (aka mussels and clams).

I'm happy to do the collecting, or meet you to pick up buckets of stars and their lunch and coordination getting them to the labs, but I need to find sites with best 'bang for buck'. the real challenge is going to be finding a site (that isn't in hood canal) which has not been impacted.

They'd like to get the samples this weekend.

Sites on the list for sickies include Mukilteo, Titlow and Alki.

Sites on list for healthy... ?? Hood canal?
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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:51 am

A gentle request...

It was mentioned today by a bystander that some wonderfully enthusiastic freshly made divers from a class out at the coves this past weekend brought up a few baby sea stars. "they are so cute!"

I agree, that they are adorable, but if we could pass on to as many folk as possible (and by folks I mean people certifying new dives and friends of divers that might be tempted) to please please please leave the babies. We are surveying the site regularly and documenting the babies with hopes that they grow and mature to adulthood. There are still stars dying in the area between cove 1 and 2, so we are trying to figure out if the babies are going to be immune or ??? (because whatever it is, is still in the water). Removing the baby stars will impair our ability to accurately document the ongoing changes.

Thanks!!
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RVbldr
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby RVbldr » Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:42 pm

Not sure if this is just wishful thinking, but in the nasty viz that was Cove 2 Sunday AM, we did see what I thought were two Morning Sun Stars, each about 6" across. Unfortunately, since we were doing a class, no pics. These were the first sun stars I've seen at Cove 2 in months. Also happened to see a smallish GPO resting between rocks in 10' at the north end, but since there was no pics, that probably didn't happen!

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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:53 am

That is great news! Keep the reports coming!!
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby H20doctor » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:11 am

id just thought i would share that im seeing a bunch of new baby starfish at Mukilteo ... they are not sunflowers, but other types , and they are thriving .. im also seeing a huge growth of urchins at sites around the puget sound.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby RVbldr » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:07 pm

If I'm not mistaken, we saw two small sea stars at Cove 2 today, both about 6" across which is a positive change from the last several months. No pics since we were doing a class, and since there were no pics, the smallish GPO resting in the open in about 10 FSW near the north end of the beach didn't happen either!

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Jeremy
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Jeremy » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:29 pm

ljjames wrote:No sure if this was already posted, but the live stream from Vancouver Aquarium last month...

http://www.vanaqua.org/learn/see-and-le ... tars-dying


Thanks for sharing Laura, very interesting video.

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Emilyrc
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Emilyrc » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:20 am

Mukilteo T-dock is loaded with babies of multiple species. The clay wall? Not so much. Several sick sunflowers.

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:20 pm

No sure if this was already posted, but the live stream from Vancouver Aquarium last month...

http://www.vanaqua.org/learn/see-and-le ... tars-dying
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Greg Jensen
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Greg Jensen » Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:10 pm

The Whidbey Island/dead Cryptochiton thing has happened a number of times in the past- the thought being that they are easily dislodged by winter storms from the small rocks in that area. I think it was Roland Anderson (formerly with the Seattle Aquarium) who looked into this.

Dove my usual site at Ayers Point in southern Hood Canal last night- seastars there are still looking good. Saw lots of Pycnopodia, pinks, and probably more Evasterias than I've ever seen before at that site, some looking like they were getting ready to spawn.

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Jan K
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Jan K » Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:43 pm

At Keystone yesterday I did not walk the beach but underwater all the Gumboots looked healthy. The sea stars too look OK, I found only one arm at the base of the jetty , could not find the rest of the Sunflower star.

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:01 pm

Thank you for the report... Hopefully these chitons were just impacted by the very cold stretch of weather. The way to tell is if the shallow ones are all dead/gone, and past the intertidal they are healthy and of normal density.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby oldsalt » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:38 am

ljjames wrote:There have been some concerning reports of crab, cucumbers and chitons showing up sick or dead. The scientists were hoping that divers could keep their eyes out for any abnormal sightings.

I often hike the loop at Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island. Last week I saw a dozen dead cryptochiton washed up on the beach. It is unusual to see even one.
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YellowEye
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby YellowEye » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:19 am

We have noticed the baby ones seem to be the only survivers at redondo and three tree. Sunflowers and ochres.

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LCF
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby LCF » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:20 pm

Cove 2. Jake Virnig and I saw several very small ones at Mukilteo a couple of weeks ago, too.
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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:09 pm

Yes, baby pycno. What location?
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby LCF » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:39 pm

A friend of mine got this photograph today:

Image

Is this a juvenile sea star?
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Greg Jensen
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Greg Jensen » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:03 am

Certainly looks like a dead one, but it's not unusual to see dead red rock crabs (particularly females) around this time of year and into spring- just old ones that run out of gas. The goo is bacteria that grows on anything that is decomposing; you don't see that on molts.

Crabs molt the surface of their gills along with everything else, so seeing gills doesn't mean it has to be a dead one. The eyes on molts are clear, never dark, so that's a good way to distinguish molts from dead crabs. Or you can pick it up and then smell your glove after the dive- if it was dead for very long, you'll know it! :eek:

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YellowEye
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby YellowEye » Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:01 am

Hi
Here is a pic of one of the dead crabs at Redondo. They're definitely not molts -- I saw bits of lungs inside the shell.

I'm not sure if it is related to the sea star die off, but it sure has the similar grey goo to it!

DSC_6354.jpg

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WylerBear
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby WylerBear » Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:32 pm

Several people have mentioned the crabs and observing more dead ones than usual so it would be a good idea for everyone to start taking note. I've been looking at California Sea Cucumbers a lot because they are often a good indicator but I haven't seen any off looking ones yet. I'm out of the water right now and have been for a few weeks so things could have changed since the last time I was diving. Again, everyone should take note. I've also had a few people e-mail me concerned about the lack of life in the water. For the most part, that hasn't concerned me because it's winter and that usually happens this time of year. With divers being a bit freaked out about the Sea Stars I thought perhaps it was influencing divers' perception. But anything UNUSUAL should be noted. Remember we are the ones on the "front line" so to speak so keep observing and keep reporting. With all of our help, maybe this can be figured out and stopped.
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Scubie Doo
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Scubie Doo » Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:27 pm

I noticed the crabs too Eric. I was there yesterday. They looked similar to the stars. Kind of a grayish gunk around them.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby YellowEye » Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:46 pm

Thanks for the update Laura!

ljjames wrote:There have been some concerning reports of crab, cucumbers and chitons showing up sick or dead. The scientists were hoping that divers could keep their eyes out for any abnormal sightings.


Ugh! I saw some strange looking dead crab shells at Redondo the other day. Unfortunately I didn't bother looking close. They could have just been molts... but something about them did look unusual. If somebody's going to Redondo, south of the boat ramp, please take a look. I haven't noticed any off sea cucumbers yet.

bradmond wrote:Divers are reporting the conditions of them at the depth limits of rec diving. Have there been studies of them at greater depths? Curious if the ones in deeper water are in the same poor health.


It would be interesting to do some surveys using the Neptune network, as they've done extensive recent deep seafloor surveys. The Echinoderms dominate that landscape.

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:41 pm

A month or two ago there were reports of healthy stars at depth at Sunrise beach, but there have been no recent reports. If folks happen to be exploring the depths it would be awesome to get current updates...
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby bradmond » Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:59 pm

Divers are reporting the conditions of them at the depth limits of rec diving. Have there been studies of them at greater depths? Curious if the ones in deeper water are in the same poor health.


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