Sea Star Wasting Disease Information

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Sea Star Wasting Disease Information

Postby swelll » Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:13 am

Reef Checkers,
Many of you have heard by now that several species of sea stars along the west coast of North American are being affected by a wasting disease. The symptoms include looking as though deflated and developing at first lesions and then sort of fully disintegrating (losing arms at a time). Its been pretty well documented in British Columbia, Washington, and California (particularly documented along the intertidal here). The PISCO intertidal group has created a website to track sitings of the diseased stars and they have asked us to note when and where we see them during our surveys. So if you are on a Reef Check survey and see some diseased sea stars please make a note on your datasheet including the species, the number, the extent (lesions vs arm missing), and if you have a camera take a photo. Please look at all the star species even those we don't count for signs of the disease. We will turn in these observations as a whole for the site. If you are diving on your own and see some diseased stars please use the downloadable excel form on the first link below and note the gps coordinates of your location if possible. The second link shows a map of where they have been seen so far as of 10/4/2013. ... index.html

The first PISCO link above has some good photos at the bottom of the page showing symptoms in ochre stars. I have also attached some photos that Keith took of some affected stars he saw during his dives in the San Juan Islands last week. There are some additional photos in the articles below.

Here are some more articles on the subject: ... cientists/ ... r-1.651224 ... sease.html

Thanks for your help and interest in tracking this unsettling and mysterious event.
withering star.JPG
withering star.JPG (189.12 KiB) Viewed 5673 times
pink spined star 3.JPG
pink spined star 3.JPG (174.21 KiB) Viewed 5673 times
leather star.JPG
leather star.JPG (193 KiB) Viewed 5674 times

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Re: Sea Star Wasting Disease Information

Postby azul » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:56 am

This is from Guy Kovner at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: ... noma-Coast
Bill Mashek

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Re: Sea Star Wasting Disease Information

Postby kimgglenn » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:07 am

Can't give specifics, but I am seeing many instances of Giant Spined stars affected by this at, it seems, many of the dive sites around Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel. For sure at Breakwater Cove. I'll try to take more careful note in the future and report it accordingly at the given websites.

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Re: Sea Star Wasting Disease Information

Postby kimgglenn » Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:50 am

Almost a year later, here is a non-scientific observation from someone who dives almost daily in Monterey area dive sites, especially Breakwater Cove and Pt Lobos. I am seeing healthy bat and giant spined sea stars. I don't see any obvious signs of the wasting disease. I also periodically see what I believe to be juvenile sunflower sea stars, about 2 or 3 inches in diameter. Of course, I have not seen any adult sunflower sea stars in over a year. I'm not as familiar with the other kinds of sea stars out there, but do notice them and none seem to have any wasting disease symptoms.

Others more observant and familiar with the symptoms then I am might see what I don't.

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Re: Sea Star Wasting Disease Information

Postby Claudette » Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:23 pm

Also anecdotal (not during Reefcheck survey) I dived Point Lobos on October 24th and 25th.
I visited Betos Reef 3 times, the Three Sisters twice, and Middle Reef twice.

There appeared to be fewer sea stars than I remember (but it's been a year since I last dived Pt. Lobos.) I saw many leather stars and 3 were obviously wasting.

Water temp was 55F, depths were 100 to 130fsw.

Giant spine stars were less frequent but all appeared to be healthy.

Bat stars appeared healthy, too.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of diving than in a year of conversation." --Plato (... well, he woulda said it if he'd been a diver :-D )

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