KUOW: Mass Starfish Die-Off May Be Headed For Washington


John Ryan of KUOW reported on the efforts in the United States and Canada to understand a starfish die-off.

“Every population has sick animals,” said SeaDoc Society wildlife veterinarian Joe Gaydos, on a boat off Orcas Island between research dives. “Are we just seeing sick animals because we’re looking for it, or is it an early sign of a large epidemic that may come through and wipe out a lot of animals?”

The timing of this news coincided with SeaDoc's first year of monitoring subtidal fish and invertebrates at 10 sites in the San Juan Islands. This project, done in conjunction with REEF and Friday Harbor Labs, is a multi-year study to track understudied populations in the Salish Sea. It's exactly the kind of effort that's needed if we're to have the right data to understand mortality events like these.

Gaydos cautions, "Despite the headline, we're not certain that a mortality event is heading into Washington State. During our 120 dives we saw many more healthy animals than sick ones. We collected samples and they will be tested microscopically and for infectious agents and a parasites."

Read the complete text or listen to the piece as broadcast: http://kuow.org/post/mass-starfish-die-may-be-headed-washington

Evasterias troschelii (sick)

Also see this article on King5.com featuring the work of the Seattle Aquarium: Biologists search for cause of sea star deaths.

Joe Gaydos was also interviewed for an article on KVAL in Eugene, OR. http://www.kval.com/outdoors/Whats-causing-sea-stars-to-waste-away--232121291.html