Santa Cruz Sentinel, Nov. 16, 2013: [...] The stars lose their legs and, essentially, disintegrate into blobs. Researchers have no idea what’s causing it, or how to stop it. The disease, whatever it is, has wiped out sea stars from the local shoreline, with even the pools at Natural Bridges State Beach now empty of stars. Similar die-offs have occurred before, but never this widespread and always during warm-water cycles [...] It is afflicting sea stars from Southern California to Alaska, and [...] the Pacific Ocean being in a cold-water cycle. “Those are two very bewildering facts,” said Pete Raimondi, who heads UC Santa Cruz’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology lab. “[...] what we really don’t understand is how [they get infected],” Raimondi said. [...] the disease [...] is now showing up in subtidal zones. [...]
CBS News, Nov. 12, 2013: What’s wiping out the starfish in California? [...] Scientists on the West Coast are at a loss to explain what’s killing sea stars, also known as starfish. In some places, 95 percent of the starfish population has died. Marine biologist Pete Raimondi showed CBS News the tide pools along California’s Monterey Bay. Thousands of bright sea stars usually line these shores. In less than two months, they’ve vanished. Raimondi said the mystery of what is happening to the sea stars is “immense.” “I mean, that’s probably, from a scientific point of view, one of the most intriguing things,” he said. “We have no obvious culprit.” [...] The disease is more widespread than ever, stretching from Alaska to Southern California. [...] “We’ve never seen it like this, never,” Raimondi said. [...] Scientists say they don’t know how much worse the die off will get, and that it could be generations before these shores are once again painted purple and orange.
Published: November 17th, 2013 at 4:05 pm ET