Sea star die-off

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

Post by ljjames » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:30 am

Jerry, thank you for the update. Though this was the update I've been dreading :( I guess a part of me wanted to believe that the hood would be spared due to circulation issues. Has anything led up to the event ? Unusual plankton ?
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Waynne Fowler » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:02 pm

I've heard (not seen first hand) that sea stars in the Nisqually reach have been affected.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:33 pm

There is a new form http://www.udiscover.it/applications/seastar/ from Cornell for citizen scientist to report with, and of course there is always #sickstarfish and manual entry at www.sickstarfish.com for the quick and easy 'red flag'.

Wayne and Jerry, I'm heading out to the hood tomorrow to try and shoot some video of the sites being impacted. Jerry, where what side of Sund Rock were they evident? Both? Everywhere? Thanks again for the update. The sciencey types will likely be coming to survey in the next few days as well I imagine, so reporting here worked well as an important step to get things rolling quickly!
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by deep diver » Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:44 am

dove the 14th at Triton head and they are laying everywhere ...pieces and parts in the shallows. In the deeper water seem to be fine.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Jan K » Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:56 am

Dying continues at high rate at Langley :(
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by mpenders » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:02 am

ljjames wrote:There is a new form http://www.udiscover.it/applications/seastar/ from Cornell for citizen scientist to report with, and of course there is always #sickstarfish and manual entry at http://www.sickstarfish.com for the quick and easy 'red flag'.

Wayne and Jerry, I'm heading out to the hood tomorrow to try and shoot some video of the sites being impacted. Jerry, where what side of Sund Rock were they evident? Both? Everywhere? Thanks again for the update. The sciencey types will likely be coming to survey in the next few days as well I imagine, so reporting here worked well as an important step to get things rolling quickly!


Scubie Doo and I did two dives at Sund late yesterday. We found sick stars on both walls, in the fishbowl and out at the wreck of the Barbara G. Especially evident in the warm water above the thermocline at 25fsw. Most notably affected were the sunflower and ochre stars.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Waynne Fowler » Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:26 pm

something that I've seen several people say, and upon reflection it does seem to be what I've noticed though it really just 'dawned' on me as I read someone else's report a few minutes ago... that stars in deeper water don't seem to be affected. I've not found any wasted Stars below about 100' or so?
Is there any data on that or has anyone noticed this themselves?
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:29 pm

Yes, they start out in the 15-50' band and then progress shallower and deeper from there. I don't know how deep though as have been stuck doing a bunch if shallow video projects as of late. Maybe some folks who've been diving the walls and not-MT6 could weigh in? I'm asked some folks who do deep sub and ROV work keep an eye out as well...
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:40 am

Video from yesterdays dive. Stars were impacted at least as deep as 80-100'

phpBB [video]


http://vimeo.com/98337811
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by mpenders » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:26 am

ljjames wrote:Video from yesterdays dive. Stars were impacted at least as deep as 80-100'


http://vimeo.com/98337811


Nice vid, Laura. Very dramatic/sad at 2:25 - feels as if you're literally watching the disease affect the stars in real time.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:50 am

Thanks, I watched one small one writhe and contort for 20 min waiting for a leg to scurry off but all I ended up with was a lot of sad writhing footage. We did an hour and a half dive and it was all depressing and sad. Even the Wolfie looked sad.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Scubie Doo » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:57 pm

Agree with Penders. Nice video but very sad. Mike and I were surprised at the amount of diseased stars at sund.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:00 pm

In another week or two there will be none left. the rate at which they are dying is pretty profound.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by FlyinV » Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:33 pm

When I dove Redondo this last Saturday (south bottle field area) I noticed a TON of little brittle stars.
They must not be affected by disease and increasing in population.

Another diver commented that is sure seemed like there was a massive increase in barnacles -- I wonder if sea stars ate those and now with them gone they are increasing also.

I have no proof or knowledge about the situation just a couple divers random observations on things that seem different now.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Tangfish » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:29 pm

Laura, are you still in touch with the lead scientists in the area who are studying this?

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Tom Nic » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:33 pm

I have not dove Redondo this year, and Thursday did two dives there. Following are a few of my observations of change since the last time:

Encouraging: Many juvenile and "teenage" size Sunflower and Ochre Stars, mostly below 40-50 fsw. One adult Spiny Pink.

Not so much: As I moved to safety stop depth at the Mast I was immediately confronted with dead and dying stars, mostly Ochre. My earlier optimism turned to sadness as I realized that we are far from out of the woods. I saw no dead or dying stars down deeper as far as I can remember.

Surprising: The greatly increased numbers of Green Sea Urchins - almost abundant on my REEF survey.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:55 am

Yes, very much so. I compile and email reports to them from the forums, emails, Facebook posts, etc... pretty much daily.

Tangfish wrote:Laura, are you still in touch with the lead scientists in the area who are studying this?
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Tangfish » Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:23 am

ljjames wrote:Yes, very much so. I compile and email reports to them from the forums, emails, Facebook posts, etc... pretty much daily.

Tangfish wrote:Laura, are you still in touch with the lead scientists in the area who are studying this?


Oh, that's very nice of you. I was going to suggest that we confer with them about the possibility of trying to get more NWDC members involved in collecting observations. That you compile reports is very nice (thank you!) but it also doesn't scale well and your data is only as complete as what people happen to post.

I know that in the scientists' perfect scenario everyone would be out there collecting lots of very detailed, great and helpful information, but the reality of it is that most people simply will not do that, given that they're out on fun dives or training, etc.

So, what would be most helpful I think is if the scientists can work with us and we come up with a short list of very achievable things that the average diver can observe, record and submit here on the forum. If we have a specific place and all submissions are in the same standardized format then I think the information will be both more consistent and usable, not to mention more of it.

I'm thinking along the lines of the dive site listings, which started out as a very well detailed but jumbled mess of personal narratives to having a little more structure and organization after we asked people to please submit in a certain format that made things more usable by everyone.

Thoughts?

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:44 am

I have posted the protocol they want used a couple times, I think Janna has as well... It would be great to see it gain a bit of momentum. The reason I went to compiling is because after a few days, people just go back to posting on FB, here, emailing etc... And I didn't want to see data not recorded.

Here is the latest citizen science request/protocol from Dr Harvell who is joint faculty at Cornell and UW

http://www.udiscover.it/applications/seastar/

A set format... I'll email you with the feedback I got on that subject. At end if day they are not going to be surfing the internet to find this stuff, and it will come down to someone taking the time to wade through the internet with a divining rod , be it me or a grad student who may or may not really be interested in the subject.

Tangfish wrote:
ljjames wrote:Yes, very much so. I compile and email reports to them from the forums, emails, Facebook posts, etc... pretty much daily.

Tangfish wrote:Laura, are you still in touch with the lead scientists in the area who are studying this?


Oh, that's very nice of you. I was going to suggest that we confer with them about the possibility of trying to get more NWDC members involved in collecting observations. That you compile reports is very nice (thank you!) but it also doesn't scale well and your data is only as complete as what people happen to post.

I know that in the scientists' perfect scenario everyone would be out there collecting lots of very detailed, great and helpful information, but the reality of it is that most people simply will not do that, given that they're out on fun dives or training, etc.

So, what would be most helpful I think is if the scientists can work with us and we come up with a short list of very achievable things that the average diver can observe, record and submit here on the forum. If we have a specific place and all submissions are in the same standardized format then I think the information will be both more consistent and usable, not to mention more of it.

I'm thinking along the lines of the dive site listings, which started out as a very well detailed but jumbled mess of personal narratives to having a little more structure and organization after we asked people to please submit in a certain format that made things more usable by everyone.

Thoughts?
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Tangfish » Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:34 pm

I think the more complicated and time consuming the protocol is the less people we'll have submitting. I looked at your protocol links (I think in another thread) and I don't think the average diver will read the whole thing, much less submit in that format. Crowdusourcing has to be made somewhat easy, imho.

Thanks Laura!

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:05 am

Agreed :)

Crowdsourcing for science is the way of the future, we are just not -quite- there yet. My next endeavor will be a sick starfish app that would make it super easy to fill out something that mimic's the protocol (or something that is only equivalent of #sickstarfish)

#sickstarfish _almost_ works until people realize they actually have to use their smartphones to do it, need geo-location on and have to have some kind of service. So we made manual entry, but at end of day i'm probably the one who uses that the most to capture the data from emails/forums/etc... It does get a reasonable number of entries, i'd just like to see it in the 10's of thousands as opposed to hundreds. I'd like to have something similar to it, but have more info than instagram allows.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by don » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:22 pm

I don't know how useful this observation is. At Pleasant Harbor Marina, you can see significant deterioration over the past 5 days of Ochre stars in shallow water, viewed from the ramp to D-dock. Behind my boat at the end of D-dock I had many small Ochre stars feeding on the mussels...today they are gone. I dove Pulali west wall today, viewed one mottled star deteriorating (@70fsw) and one Leather Star that didn't look good. Sun stars, pink stars, and Long Ray Stars looked OK. My dive at this site was 45-80fsw. At Pinnacle there was absence of Ochre and Mottled stars. Found several Long Ray Stars that looked OK. I did not find evidence of the white patches left after deterioration that I see in shallow water at the marina. Depth at Pinnacle was 30-90fsw. I definitely see more evidence of this disease in tidal areas at the marina than I did in deeper water at dive sites....except for the absence of some species that I would have expected to see. We're asking our divers to observe and report.

Everything else looks healthy, rockfish, Ling, wolf eel, other invertebrates are as we expect to find them in The Hood. Vis is good for this time of year.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:25 pm

Don, thank you so much for your observations! I will pass them on...

Direct youtube link to the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome story by Mike Kirsch on CCTV! It is a really cool mini-documentary on the disease and some of the key players. It was neat to get to know a bit more about Pete Ramondi and his passion for finding out the cause since I mostly just spam him with reports. It was really cool to see that we (citizen scientists) are considered an integral part...

phpBB [video]
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:20 pm

Lets hope all these little guys can make it to adult hood!

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by don » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:20 pm

I observed seagulls nibbling on remains of wasted sea stars at Pleasant Harbor Marina today. Has that been reported before and is it important? I don't see any other critters, like crab, picking at remains.
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