Sea star die-off

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

Postby Matt S. » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:54 pm

Greg Jensen wrote:A Solaster stimpsoni by itself in a separate tank (but on the same system) died from it, so it's apparently waterborne.


If I had a university marine invert lab, I'd try keeping a specimen in water from the afflicted system--but I'd cook the water with a UV sterilizer first.

If UV keeps the disease at bay, it could narrow down the type of pathogen.

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Greg Jensen
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Greg Jensen » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:36 pm

We've got this in our closed-system invertebrate tanks at the UW. Lost our single Pisaster brevispinus (spiny pink) and Evasterias (mottled) stars and half of our P. ochraceous (ochre stars) . So far, none of our Dermasterias (leathers) have shown any sign of it, even though they're in the same tank.
A Solaster stimpsoni by itself in a separate tank (but on the same system) died from it, so it's apparently waterborne.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby nwscubamom » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:43 pm

IMG_9331.JPG

Just dove the last several days off Lopez Island, and all the Sunflower, Blood, Rainbow and False Ochre stars were doing fabulous. No signs of stress (well, ONE had some thinning around the central disc), all were moving around, plump and healthy, looking very nice. (didn't see any other types of stars). Nice to know there's at least one spot in the NW that has evaded the creeping-crud afflicting their fellow stars.

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:56 pm

The sciency types up at Friday Harbor labs, WWU, UCSC / MARINe network are looking for divers willing to survey a site or two with some regularity to help map the progression and impact of the ongoing Sea Star mortality event. (we need to map healthy sites as well so when/if they get hit, there is solid baseline data from which to track the disease progression)

If you and your buddy are looking for something to "do" underwater, or your club or dive shop has been looking for a meaningful project that is part of something larger, here is your chance!!!

Attached is a PDF of the protocol and included in that protocol grid that can be printed on waterproof paper or a laminated copy made for use with a grease pencil, or copied onto any standard slate.

Once you've collected the data, scan it or take a picture of it and send to Melissa Miner (her address is in the PDF)

The data collected is super important, and even though they don't know exactly what is causing the disease, learning as much as they can about is imperative.
Attachments
Subtidal_Complete.pdf
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Mortuus
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Mortuus » Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:49 am

There are tons of sunflower sea stars still alive and looking healthy in the Hood Canal. At least at Sund Rock... I didn't see a single disembodied sea star limb during two dives there this weekend.

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Nwbrewer
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Nwbrewer » Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:16 pm

Video with starfish from 12/14.

https://vimeo.com/82625617
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby enchantmentdivi » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:00 am

These photos are from Titlow on 11/24/13: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 86fa6a4a8d Yesterday at 3-Tree, there would have been nothing to take pictures of. :(
Jenn

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:13 am

Photo's are still hugely useful! Keep on shooting and sharing!
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dwashbur
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby dwashbur » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:18 pm

That's great news. Laura, are photos still useful, or is there something else we could be doing to document this?
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby enchantmentdivi » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:13 pm

TTN today--straight out from the entrance to the tire reefs over to the cabin cruiser. I did not see one sunflower star--alive, sick, dead, or recognizable goo pile. NONE. ZERO. ZIP. NADA.
Jenn

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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:11 am

Thank you so much everyone, keep the reports coming, the scientists are very grateful... :joshsmith: :joshsmith: :joshsmith:
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YellowEye
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby YellowEye » Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:40 pm

Word is, it is spreading to the Port Hardy area as well :(

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Jan K
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Jan K » Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:09 pm

December 22, 2013 Possession Fingers now joining the die-off. At the moment most of the sick ones are in shallower water in 7 to 20 feet. Only Sunflower stars affected at this point. About 25 of them in the first stage, five with severed arms.
Pink, Mottled and Ochre stars are OK so far.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby dwashbur » Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:43 pm

We dove the south side of Redondo, south of the boat ramp, last week. I saw several sunflower stars that appeared to be healthy, but about twice as many that were either dead or dying. Max depth was 60 fsw, and most of the dead ones I saw were between 30 and 50 fsw.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby enchantmentdivi » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:57 pm

Dove Redondo first time today in about a month. The change was dramatically devastating. Surprisingly, there are still purple ochre stars on the pilings. But, the sunflower population is almost gone. I saw 1-2 healthy ones left. The other 10 or so that I saw are in the early stages. Lots of piles of goo and arms. And, then nothing. If it keeps up at this rate at that site, there will be no sunflowers left in the next few weeks, if not sooner, in my opinion.
Jenn

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Jeff Pack
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Jeff Pack » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:14 pm

Cove 2 yesterday, the remains are washed up on the beach.
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- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

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LCF
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby LCF » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:25 am

We did KVI and Maury Island yesterday and I was shocked. At KVI, I saw no sunflower stars at all, and no ochre stars at either site. At Maury, the pilings were completely bare of starfish. DOZENS of decaying carcasses, mostly in advanced decomposition, lay scattered all over the sea floor. One or two sunflower stars showed signs of the disease. Again, no ochre stars at all. A very few mottle stars were showing signs of the disease, too. I think it struck me extremely hard at Maury because one is so used to the colorful palette of the pilings, and because of the white blotches everywhere marking the demise of the starfish.

I can't imagine what this is going to do to the ecosystem, but it also breaks my heart that our new divers won't be able to marvel at the amazing colors and forms of what used to be such abundant animals.
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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:28 pm

last night, cove 1

phpBB [video]
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ohopdiver » Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:12 pm

Lots of sea stars with wasting disease at Z's Reef yesterday. All stages from pretzel arms to just a puddle of goo.
IMG_8415.JPG
Striped Sun Star with wasting disease

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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby H20doctor » Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:05 pm

i saw 3 melted sunflower stars on the drift dive, all others were healthy... i did mukilteo fuel pier yesterday and only saw 1, but in the stagnant areas in the bay north i guess there are more dead... there seems to be a pattern of low water exchanges and death... i see more death of the stars in areas that are non current sites where the bottoms is silty..etc..etc..
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby jerryehrlich » Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:21 am

Hood Canal, Sund Rock MCA healthy, no melting stars

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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Penopolypants » Sat Dec 14, 2013 2:43 pm

Lots of puddles and pieces of seastars at Redondo today. We maxed out at 80 fsw or so and saw them throughout the dive, although most were in the 20-60 fsw range. I also saw several healthy ones, so there's that.
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Jan K
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby Jan K » Sat Dec 14, 2013 2:05 pm

Just an update from Whidbey Island. WA.
At the moment, it looks like we have avoided a mass die-off so far.
December 4. Keystone Jetty - one Sunflower dead. Rest of sea stars present - healthy.
December 7. Langley Harbor. Sunflower stars- One category 3 and one 4. Two Ochre stars - one category 1 and one category 2. One Giant pink star - cat. 1 All others healthy.
December 9 & 11 . Possession Point - all stars are well.
December 13. Holmes Harbor. All stars healthy, although less of them .

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:19 pm

Please keep posting or submitting your starfish updates... Whatever it is, is still spreading and our observations are key to see how sites change over time. Recovery of sites will be important as well. Even if you don't want to take the time to fill out the Vancouver survey, remember that posting your reports here on NWDC is helpful because at least it gets your observations out where the scientists can see them.

Post:

Site, depth of survey, number of healthy, number of sick (or a percentage of sick) photo's if you've got them or video
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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Postby ljjames » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:34 pm

Vancouver aquarium has a new interface for their data collection.

Download the spreadsheet, fill it out, upload it along with the option for a bunch of pictures!

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If that seems like too much work, please at very least take a picture of the beach (where you just dove) with your smartphone and upload it via Instagram/Twitter/Facebook with one of the following 3 hashtags. Please upload the image from the beach, and make sure geo-tagging is on.

#sickstarfish for sick/dead/dying/decaying
#nosickstarfish for a site that looks completely healthy

and for the beach walking/tide pool contingent, as we know it is sometimes difficult to tell health of sea stars that have washed up on beach or are in tide pools, we will let the experts sort that out... take a picture of it and upload with hashtag
#beachstarfish
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