Sea Stars in Peril

*Dusk Magazine

Walk along any stretch of the Northwest’s rocky coast before 2013 and you were sure to see bright purple and orange clinging to the shore’s igneous monoliths.  Pisaster ochraceus, or Ochre Star, is the species often associated with the intertidal zones from Alaska to Mexico. If you have gone back to the coast since then, you may have noticed how much harder it is to find the beautiful sea stars.  The Ochre Stars are suffering an epidemic, which, in some cases is killing up to 90 percent of the local population called Sea Star Wasting Disease.

In 2013, scientists began to notice lesions on Ochre Stars.  These lesions were soon followed by significant decay of tissue, then by the loss of limbs and finally death. The disease spreads quickly among populations and can kill an organism in a matter of days. Sea Star Wasting Disease has been documented since…

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