Sea Star Disease Update

Sea star wasting syndrome has been spreading, causing mass mortality of stars along the west coast since Summer 2013. The disease is now affecting areas as far south as San Diego. In October 2013, LiMPETS students had documented the near disappearance of ochre sea stars at monitoring sites near San Francisco. By December and January, the disease wiped out most ochre stars within our study areas around the Monterey Bay region. Now, the disease is affecting sites in Santa Barbara to varying degrees. Coal Oil Point has been hit hard with 80% of the sea stars currently affected. In contrast, the healthy population of stars at Carpinteria State Beach is now just showing signs of disease. The cause of this wasting event is still unknown.

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