Sea Stars are Mysteriously Dying

Photo+courtesy+of+cbsnews.com

Photo courtesy of cbsnews.com

Along the San Diego and Alaskan shorelines sea stars have been reported to have sea star wasting syndrome. No explanation for this syndrome has been identified by scientists yet, according to scpr.org.

Scientists believe that global warming has an effect on the sea stars because their skin is very sensitive and prefer cooler temperatures. Sea star wasting syndrome first appears when lesions occur in the ectoderm followed by the decomposition of tissue around the lesions. Sea stars’ limbs began to spread out until they are detached, according to scpr.org.

Scientists have been experimenting with healthy and sick sea stars by placing them in the same tank. Ben Miner, a biology professor at the Western Washington University, identified that healthy sea stars placed in tanks without sick individuals still developed symptoms of the mysterious disease at the same rate; therefore, ill sea stars aren’t speeding up the process, according totheblaze.com.

Pete Raimondi, chair of Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Santa Cruz, started a website to track locations of dead sea stars, and invite anyone who has seen one anywhere along the west coast and report it, according to Hamptonroads.com. “We can build an epidemiological map and become aware of the existence and nonexistence of sea stars,” said Raimondi.