Students Help Track Massive Sea Star Die-Off

Disease, in the form of a flesh-melting pathogen, is quickly wiping out entire sea star populations along the West Coast of the United States. Coined ‘sea star wasting disease’, localized reports of the disease began surfacing in Summer 2013. As reports continue to become more frequent and widespread, LiMPETS students have mobilized. This November, students are counting stars within permanent plots at our LiMPETS sites along the coast. Based on our student surveys, it appears that the disease has already decimated populations near Half Moon Bay and elsewhere. More broadly, our student efforts are helping to inform a centralized effort led by UC Santa Cruz to track the extent of the disease.

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