Sea stars are dying left and right a nobody knows why
Sea stars all along the Pacific Coast have been dying off in record numbers, and scientists cannot for the life of them understand why. In some areas of Washington, almost 80% of the local sea star population has completely vanished, and other areas are reporting strange phenomenon such as sea star limbs falling off and crawling away on their own.
Students, environmentalists, and even regular citizens have noticed a drastic increase in the number of dead or dying sea stars littering the West Coast in the last few years. A group that monitors the sea life around Island County, Washington claims that the sea stars are succumbing to a mystery disease that they call “star wasting syndrome”, which causes sea stars to disintegrate.
“The ones I’m seeing, a very large percentage appear to be diseased,” stated Charlie Seablom, a volunteer for Island County Beach Watchers, to the Whidbey News-Times. “It’s really sad to see animals like that die off. I just hope they find the cause and then maybe a cure before they’re all gone.”
Scientists are unsure what’s causing the widespread disease, some theorizing that it could be some unknown virus or pathogen that is lurking in the ocean waters. Other blame the warming of the world’s oceans for incubating the mystery disease. One thing is certain, however, this disease is only getting worse, and is now threatening sea star populations as far south as the coast of Mexico.
Read more about the story at NPR.