The disappearance of starfish in North America threatens the entire marine environment

The disappearance of starfish in North America threatens the entire marine environment

Sea suns, the second largest species of starfish, can measure almost a meter and weigh up to 5.8 kg. Adults show many colors, up to twenty-four hands, and more than fifteen thousand podiatric or ambulacral feet, which allow them to run across the sea floor. Agile and gifted predators, starfish devour their prey and spit shells or other indigestible areas. These are mainly sea urchins or bivalves (Bivalvia), Like mussels.

However, the sea suns have been the victims of a massive catastrophe that began in 2013. It affects twenty known starfish found on the west coast of North America. Suddenly, sea stars from Alaska to Mexico revealed sores, formed gooey stuff, and died within days.

Sea suns are particularly affected. A study shows 100% decline in the range extending over 3,200 km. Guilty: Starfish wasting syndrome. This condition is not yet well understood. For example, scientists do not know whether it is spread due to hot water or whether the syndrome is caused by stress caused by this high temperature.

To deal with this catastrophe, the Director of Science, Dr. Hoddin and his team began capturing the highly endangered sea sun in port laboratories on Friday. The reliability of the project depends on the good health of these starfish. In fact, many captive starfish are already suffering from wasting syndrome.

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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