– PHOTOS: Sea star began “ripping itself into pieces” — Like a horror movie — AP: Deaths from Alaska to S. California — Biologist: Related to an environmental change? “An early warning that we aren’t picking up on?” — Professor: “None of us had ever seen anything like this before” (ENENews, Nov 4, 2013):
The Press Democrat (Santa Barbara), Nov. 2, 2013 (Emphasis Added): […] The affliction, called sea star wasting disease, has killed up to 95 percent of the stars in some tide pool populations ranging from southeast Alaska to Santa Barbara in a manner similar to scenes from a horror movie. “They essentially melt in front of you,” said Pete Raimondi, chairman of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Lab. […] The disease has struck localized coastal areas before […] but is already far more widespread, and its full extent is unknown. “We’ve never seen it at this scale up and down the coast,” Raimondi said. […]
AP, Nov. 3, 2013: Widespread starfish deaths reported on West Coast […] Sampling has found the disease in starfish from Alaska to Southern California […] Raimondi says wasting disease has never been as widespread as researchers are finding now. […] The disease usually affects one species […] Steven Morgan, an environmental science professor at the Bodega Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, has found emaciated sea stars on the rocks at Schoolhouse Beach north of Bodega Bay, but was unsure if wasting syndrome was the culprit. Still, Morgan found the starfish deaths a “strange anomaly.” “None of us had ever seen anything like this before,” he said.
UC Santa Cruz, Oct. 24, 2013: To date, we have received reports of at least 10 species of sea stars showing signs of infection. […] Multiple other sites […] have shown drastic declines in abundance below the fluctuation typically observed at those sites. […]Notes from a California naturalist, Sept. 13, 2013: The last of my Pisaster ochraceus stars waited until today, three whole days after all of its conspecifics had died, to start ripping itself into pieces. […] What happened in my seawater table over the past few weeks may be just the beginning of something really, really bad.
The Echinoblog, Oct. 14, 2013: […] Canary in a Coal Mine- Global Warming? I think the thing that always concerns me about this whole thing is whether this whole phenomena-the die offs in British Columbia, the wasting disease observations in California and elsewhere – are all tied to a particular environmental change. […] What if something is happening and this is an early warning that we aren’t picking up on? […] What is perhaps most concerning is how MANY starfish species seem to be affected. […] The effect on the ecosystem is likely to be significant.
The Press Democrat, Nov. 2, 2013: Sea temperatures off Bodega Bay have been below average this year and are close to average throughout the northeast Pacific, without an El Niño or La Niña, said John Largier, an oceanographer at the Bodega Marine Lab. Raimondi said his data show the same thing, which “makes this event unusual and perhaps more disturbing.”