Starfish Are Mysteriously Dying by the ‘Tens of Thousands’

Up and down the West Coast, Texas, and in some places on the East Coast, starfish are dying off and washing up on shore in distressing quantities. The so-called "sea star wasting syndrome" has also been called a “mass mortality event.”

PBS Newshour recently examined the sad story of starfish dying by the “tens of thousands” along the West Coast. What's called "sea star wasting syndrome" was first noticed last summer when a scientist in Washington “started noticing sick and dying starfish on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula last summer,” according to reporter Katie Campbell.

The problem, however, is not local. According to Campbell, “Reports have since surfaced from Southern California to as far north as Alaska. At first, only a certain species known as the sunflower star seemed to be affected. Then it hit another species, then another. In all, about a dozen species of sea stars are dying along the West Coast. It’s been coined sea star wasting syndrome, and it’s also been reported at sites along the East Coast.”

Jefferson Public Radio also reported on the scientists trying to solve the mystery behind the deaths, and if they should be taken as an indication of a large-scale, fundamental problem with the ocean.

Heather Alexander reports for the Houston Chronicle of another massive starfish death event, but researchers there are blaming “high winds and strong currents” for the deaths of thousands of starfish on South Padre Island.

Full Story: Mysterious epidemic devastates starfish population off the Pacific Coast

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