Survey Shows Impact of Sea Star Wasting Disease in Salish Sea

Sea star wasting disease has devastated intertidal populations of these animals on the West coast from Mexico to Alaska. But what about sea stars that live below the low tide line, mostly out of sight? An analysis of data collected by divers in the Salish Sea shows severe impacts on some species, especially the sunflower sea star, Pycnopodia helianthoides.

“Sunflower stars are major predators. This is probably going to change the shape of the ecosystem,” said Joe Gaydos, wildlife veterinarian and chief scientist with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine's SeaDoc Society, which carried out the analysis with colleagues from Cornell University. The findings, published Oct. 26, 2016, in the journal PLOS One, reflect anecdotal reports from elsewhere on the West coast, he said.

Read this sea star wasting disease paper on the UC Davis news site, and as published in PLOS One.

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