It is not often that we see starfish in the news, but today it seems that everyone is talking about the starfish wasting disease along our coast. You can read more about it here:
The disease kills gruesomely and quickly. Species of Pisaster; Pisaster ochraceus, Pisaster giganteus and Pisaster brevispinus have been the hardest hit, but giant sunflower stars, Pycnopodia helianthoides have suffered as well. We are still seeing leather stars and bat stars in roughly the same numbers as before the outbreak. We will be surveying some permanent spots with our citizen scientists today, so we will be able to say more after our time in the field.
Our friends are UC Santa Cruz have been tracking the disease and are sending out a team of researchers to survey the damage and /or health of starfish communities in California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Here is a link to a map they have made documenting the extent of the disease:
The folks at the Vancouver aquarium have also set up a place to sahre observations here:
We are asking you-citizen scientists- to share any photos you may have taken of ANY species of starfish at any time. We are hoping to get an idea of where stars were before the outbreak and go back and search for them now. We are also hoping to get more people out in the tidepools looking for starfish.
Thanks for your help!