Sea star die-off

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

Post by Jan K » Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:01 pm

don wrote: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.
don

Maybe critters on Whidbey are hungrier :)
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dwashbur
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by dwashbur » Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:17 pm

I found one healthy full-grown sunflower star at Sunrise today, plus lots of little ones. Several other types of stars were around, and none showed signs of being sick. Hope that's a good sign.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Furnari » Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:21 pm

Dove today in Port Orford, Oregon. With viz ranging from 1' to 10' because of krill, we didn't stay in the water very long. We did see at least 2 wasting sun stars and a couple of wasting ochre stars. Water temp was in the mid 40s.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Diver Doug » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:44 pm

I dove Netarts bay Father's day. At that time I found several sea stars and starfish in definate distress. Two weeks later, at the same location, sadly there was not a starfish to be found. Netarts bay has been a prolific place for marine life as there is very little fresh water into the bay. It will be interesting to observe the trickle down effect, ( crab, octo's, and clam populations ).
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YellowEye
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by YellowEye » Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:19 am

Hi
I was diving Redondo the other day and observed that the bottle field there now has mottled stars all over it. That's not a sight I've seen before. Perhaps they're thriving in the absence of sunflower stars.

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Jeremy
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Jeremy » Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:59 pm

Lots of dead and dying sea stars at Sekiu and Bachelor Rock today :(

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by johnclark » Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:58 am

Jeremy, I heard it's from the Nuclear Radiation. Thoughts?

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:21 am

Not radiation. This has been answered by the scientists many times.

Thanks for the report Jeremy, that is very bad news... I'll let the scientists know.
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deep diver
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by deep diver » Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:40 am

Hood canal is getting worse.... they were everywhere.... still not in the deep water. For the first time I noticed that the small stars were also falling apart. Seems like it used to be just the big ones.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:25 pm

Thanks so much for the report. Atwhat depth do they seem to be unaffected?
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by deep diver » Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:13 pm

past about 60' they don't seem to be bothered and seem to be healthy
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:56 pm

Which species are you seeing unaffected deeper than 60 feet? At Sund Rock we were seeing the big pink stars (brevispinus) and mottled stars sunflower dying down to 100' a few weeks back, but those bodies are likely all gone by now.

Also which sites? The scientists are looking for the pisaster (purple) stars from non-impacted sites as controls. I'm not sure there are any sites left that haven't been impacted in the Puget Sound/Hood canal region but would love everyones eyes on this. I'm not sure if the healthy deep stars will work for their studies as their survival could just be due to the cooler temps, and are still infected.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:01 pm

The sea star wasting syndrome has now been observed all the way out to Neah Bay. Waiting to hear back of Tatoosh is impacted.

Neah Bay is 3-5 degrees Celsius warmer than Tatoosh.

Tatoosh island is where Dr. Paine's original keystone species work was carried out.

Read more about that here:

http://www.washington.edu/alumni/column ... and01.html
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Tom Nic » Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:37 pm

ljjames wrote:The sea star wasting syndrome has now been observed all the way out to Neah Bay. Waiting to hear back of Tatoosh is impacted.

Neah Bay is 3-5 degrees Celsius warmer than Tatoosh.

Tatoosh island is where Dr. Paine's original keystone species work was carried out.

Read more about that here:

http://www.washington.edu/alumni/column ... and01.html


The REEF Advanced Assessment Team will be doing about 10 dives this in Neah Bay, including hopefully Tatoosh this week.

We will report what we find here as well.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by LCF » Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:29 pm

Keystone Jetty today. No sunflower stars at all. One leather star, and one mottled that didn't look well.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by YellowEye » Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:43 pm

ljjames wrote:The sea star wasting syndrome has now been observed all the way out to Neah Bay. Waiting to hear back of Tatoosh is impacted.

Neah Bay is 3-5 degrees Celsius warmer than Tatoosh.

Tatoosh island is where Dr. Paine's original keystone species work was carried out.

Read more about that here:

http://www.washington.edu/alumni/column ... and01.html


Hi
Cameron and I did the south side of Tatoosh today, and yes we did observe some wasting stars there... leathers, sunflowers, and others (and another one Cameron will make fun of me for). I'll try to send you some pics later.

-Eric

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by enchantmentdivi » Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:17 pm

I know some folks have been excited and hopeful to see the babies popping up here and there, but the baby sunflower stars at Redondo are dying too. :( Saw one melting down by the carousel boat yesterday, and one that had blown all of its arms up by the observation tower. No other sunflower stars (dead, dying, or alive) were noted throughout the whole site yesterday.

Also, with my own observations, I had been noticing that the big spiny pink stars seemed to be faring well at most sites. Saw them in the melting stages at Redondo and Pt Whitney this past week. :(
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Tom Nic » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:22 pm

Sekiu Jetty 8-4-14 we saw several healthy Cushion Stars and the small blood stars.

The Sunflower Stars are another story. The few Leathers we saw did not look good and the two Stimson's had seen better days as well.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by DecidedlyOdd » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:42 pm

I was out at the tide pools at Shi Shi Beach near Point of Arches on Saturday. There were many fewer seastars than I remember seeing compared to this same weekend last year, although there were still some purple and a couple of orange ochre stars. Somebody I was with said they saw a dismembered arm, but I didn't see any personally. I wasn't able to photograph all the ones I saw, but here are some shots of the accessible ones. Not totally dissolved but not looking terribly healthy either.
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2014-08-02-10-49-30.jpg
Closeup of purple ochre star arm
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Purple ochre star
2014-08-02-10-43-20.jpg
Dead orange ochre (?) star

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:37 pm

Thanks for the reports... I have forwarded them on, extra helpful because the researchers getting out to Tatoosh only had a short window to look for wasting disease and telling them where to look makes for more efficient use of time :)

Those are some of the first images of wasting Leather Stars I've seen from our 'area' :(

I have noticed exactly the same thing with the small pycno's... they get to about hand size and then fall apart. Not good to hear about the Brevispinus :(
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by YellowEye » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:15 pm

ljjames wrote:Neah Bay is 3-5 degrees Celsius warmer than Tatoosh.


Cameron mentioned he didn't see a temp difference between Tatoosh and Neah Bay on his computer. He can probably pull the temp for you from his logs.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by LCF » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:05 pm

Dove Redondo this morning, and I was very pleased to see quite a few ochre stars in the pilings under the aquarium. Not covered, the way they used to be, but the pilings had quite a few stars, and most looked healthy. I did see, and photograph, a dismembered arm, though.

No sunflowers at all.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Tom Nic » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:52 am

Tatoosh East had lots of healthy stars. Here's one that didn't look so well.

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Chibadehl Rocks had a few more sick ones and lots of healthy ones.

Image
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Greg Jensen » Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:56 am

Forwarding a report sent to me:

I live just outside Vaughn Bay, Case Inlet, South Sound. At Sunday's low tide, I and my extended family made our annual survey of the island that comes up in the middle of Vaughn Bay whenever the tide (Seattle table) goes below zero.
We used to have a hundreds, if not thousands of sea stars, particularly in a spot in the outflow from the bay. Now here are none there.. However, we did find a number of baby sea stars, up to about 7-8 cm tip to tip, and one fully grown, in the bay. The one I call fully grown was about 23-25 cm tip to tip and was a healthy looking purple, with no trace of white leasons.

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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by nwscubamom » Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:12 pm

Just an FYI - Laura, I cc'd you on our findings of the dives the REEF survey team did on the Olympic Coast at the start of August. (thanks Tom for providing some photos).
Here's a few more to give you a glimpse as to what we saw. Mostly affected were Sunflower stars, Stimpson's sunstars, and Dawson's sunstars. (and Leathers)
http://pnwscuba.smugmug.com/Diving/Olym ... r-Wasting/

We are next going to be assessing various sites throughout the San Juan Islands in a few weeks. Will gather the data of healthy/diseased and specific species seen and send it your way as well once it's compiled.

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