Sea star die-off

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

Post by RVbldr » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:58 pm

Last Friday, Octopus Hole was also looking healthy with out any signs of disease amongst any of the species.

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LCF
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by LCF » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:11 pm

We saw several healthy-appearing ochre stars at Cove 2 yesterday, but not a single sunflower star. Not one. :(
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Nwbrewer » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:33 am

1/7/14 Mukilteo Clay Walls.

Immediately on entry noticed several sun stars that were dead and in pieces. Several ochre stars that looked healthy. The clay walls themselves were covered on a mix of healthy and dying sun stars, some pealing off the walls.
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Matt S.
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Matt S. » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:04 pm

LCF wrote:We saw several healthy-appearing ochre stars at Cove 2 yesterday, but not a single sunflower star. Not one. :(


That is unbelievable... Wow.

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WylerBear
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by WylerBear » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:02 pm

Saw about 5 healthy Sunflower Stars at Redondo today. Saw several healthy appearing ochre stars on the pilings. But also saw a lot of goo and several dead or dying Sunflower, Stimpson's, and Spiny Pink Stars.
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Greg Jensen
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Greg Jensen » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:04 pm

IMG_1152.JPG
This was Warren Ave bridge in Bremerton in late October

Dove it today and there were very few healthy looking pinks- most were gone altogether, but there were quite a few in the process of dissolving.


Leather stars didn't seem diminished and looked ok, and there was a healthy-looking batch of ochre stars shallow on the first bridge support. Only saw one pycno (looked good) but didn't cover a lot of territory.
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Greg Jensen
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Greg Jensen » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:25 pm

video from Canada's Howe Sound:

http://vimeo.com/84262171

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:38 am

Video from cove 1.

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dphershman
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by dphershman » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:56 am

Went to Redondo yesterday after a month out of the water ( a bad cold, family trip to the east side of the mtns). Redondo seemed eerily dead, in a way that I've not seen before in ten years of diving at this location.

Not much to see, I found a Heath's Dorid, but that was about it. The octo was still under the boat and the Juvenile Wolf Eel was still in the tire down by the carousel horse. But the lack of sea stars was amazing. All that really remained was sea star sized piles of grayish-white goo.
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We found one small one sun star in the eel grass, seemingly unaffected.
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Couldn't but wonder, the experts say that this disease isn't really affecting other underwater life, but the lack of fauna overall was striking. Hopefully, the sea stars will rebound this spring and summer. One thing is true for sure, you don't know what you've got 'til its gone.

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:44 pm

Manual entry is now available at http://www.sickstarfish.com (in addition to the Instagram hashtag option, where you take a picture, #sickstarfish with brief descriptive in the comment field and upload from the beach)

To use manual entry, locate your intended site on the map and then right click on your computer or long touch on the location on mobile to auto add the lat/long and open the manual entry field window!!!

HUGE SHOUT OUT to Lamont for making this possible!!!!!!

There is a text window for typing a brief description of what you observed i.e. "Almost no purple stars left at cove 1, no sunflower stars, two leather stars" or "80% of the sunflower stars are sick or dead" we are mostly looking to map disease progression here.

Also, please post follow up dives. If you go back and there are changes for the negative OR positive, "die off seems to have stabilized" or "baby sunflower stars at Titlow" or "sick in the shallows, but healthy deeper than 130'". We want YOUR anecdotal observations... Make a post for every time you visit the site, noting the changes.

Same for beach walking. For example, at cove 1, there are no more ochre or mottled stars in the intertidal zone pipeline rocks. This is a change from 2 weeks ago when we could go out on a low tide and count a 8-12. Things are still in flux and we still need to track whats going on.
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LCF
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by LCF » Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:28 pm

I dove Mukilteo last night, and was THRILLED to see a number of healthy-appearing ochre stars, as well as a bunch of juveniles! (At least I assume they were juveniles, because they were less than four inches across.) Perhaps there is a population resistant to whatever is causing this, that is beginning to make itself known.

Unfortunately, we saw one sunflower star, and it looked unhealthy.
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Tom Nic
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Tom Nic » Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:23 pm

I haven't been in our waters since November, and did a dive at Three Tree this morning. Even though I knew it was bad it was eerie not seeing ONE Sunflower Star, or Spiny Pink, or Leather Star the entire dive. I saw one healthy Vermillion Star, and 4 or 5 so so looking Ochre Stars. There weren't even many California Sea Cucumbers around, maybe a half dozen in one spot. Pretty bare....
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LCF
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by LCF » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:00 pm

Cove 2 tonight -- we saw at least 4 or five large, healthy appearing ochre stars. I saw one Stimson's (gorgeous colors, bright red and blue). No mottled, no pinks, and no sunflowers at all. On the other hand, we saw quite a lot of brittle stars.
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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:04 am

Thanks for the updates!! Keep them coming... Lynne, your timing was impeccable, I was just going to head out and do a brittle star survey at cove 2 so you saved me a trip :)
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by fnerg » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:54 pm

One spiny pink star, one sunflower star, one not great looking leather star, 3-ish healthy looking ochre stars, 3-5 stimpson's, one sand star(Luidia foliolata), 4-ish mottled stars (Evasterias troschelii)

All at Cove 2.

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:52 pm

article and story from Earthfix... aired thursday on PBS Newshour

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/water/article ... tists-clu/

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ljjames
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:07 pm

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.

The starfish wasting disease is still ongoing and spreading. Areas that were initially spared are starting to show signs so its very important to post here, or fill out the Vancouver Aquarium form or #sickstarfish with instagram (or use the manual entry www.sickstarfish.com )

Already thanks to reports they've been able to see in much better detail the scope and spread of the disease, so keep em coming! Your eyes in the field at your local dive sites have been incredibly helpful, and everyone is very grateful.
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bradmond
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by bradmond » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:59 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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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by ljjames » Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:41 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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YellowEye
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by YellowEye » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:46 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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Scubie Doo
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Scubie Doo » Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:27 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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WylerBear
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by WylerBear » Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:32 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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YellowEye
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by YellowEye » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:01 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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Greg Jensen
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by Greg Jensen » Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:03 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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LCF
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Re: Sea star die-off

Post by LCF » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:39 pm

A friend of mine got this photograph today:

Image

Is this a juvenile sea star?
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