TV:: ‘Zombie’ starfish found along Pacific coast — Experts: “Much spookier than in past” — Babies “die so quickly… they just disappear” — Change in seawater could have activated deadly pathogen — Worries about creation of ‘superbug’ — Serious ecosystem changes now appearing (VIDEO)

Published: September 2nd, 2014 at 3:48 pm ET


NBC San Diego, Jun 22, 2014 (emphasis added): Wasting “Zombie” Sea Stars Found in San Diego — A mysterious disease deforming and killing sea stars along the West Coast, causing their limbs to dissolve, has reached the waters off San Diego’s coastline… The impacted creatures have also been referred to as “zombie sea stars.”… “You would see a trail of arms and [think] ‘Oh, this is going to lead me somewhere bad,’ and then you keep following the arms. Sure enough there’s this zombie sea star,” said UCSB research diver Sarah Sampson who is currently working in the North County. “You see the arms crawling away.”.. According UC Santa Cruz researchers, since April the number of cases increased dramatically in areas including Carlsbad, La Jolla, Mission Bay and Point Loma…

Prof. Raimondi, UC Santa Cruz’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department Chairman, Aug 11, 2014: “We knew absolutely when the warm water turned off the disease would also turn off and that’s not the case this time. And so this one’s much spookier than in the past.”

Drew Harvell, Cornell University marine epidemiologist, Aug 27, 2014: “I know we had a large recruit [of baby sea stars] in the San Juan (Islands) and a lot of them did not make it [due to the wasting disease]… they don’t show the same signs as the adults because they die so quickly. Once they become infected, they just disappear.”

Lesanna Lahner, Seattle Aquarium staff engineer, Aug 7, 2014: There’s concern that a change in the coastal saltwater could have activated a deadly pathogen or made the sea stars more susceptible to a pathogen… Some aquariums are using an antibiotic to treat sick sea stars, but there’s debate over whether that’s the best solution… “It’s a broad spectrum antibiotic so it’s either killing the primary infection or a secondary infection as a result of the disease… Some are worried that treating the sea stars could create a resistant superbug.”

Alberni Valley News, Aug 7, 2014: Starfish wasting disease has come to Barkley Sound. … the disease could seriously decimate or even wipe out the starfish population in Barkley Sound completely… it could have serious repercussions for the rest of the Barkley Sound ecosystem… “if they don’t keep the sea urchin population in check, that would negatively impact the kelp fields,” said [Peter Mieras of Rendezvous Dive Adventures]. “Kelp fields are important sanctuaries for a lot of fish, so of course there is a domino affect.”… “If you look at Howe Sound, the sea urchins there have been taking over quite aggressively.”

Lahner, Seattle Aquarium, Aug 7, 2014: “We have to suspect that it’s causing pain even though we don’t know”… Because of deaths of such keystone predators, the mussel populations have grown substantially… there could be big changes.

Bruce Menge, professor of marine biology at Oregon State University, Aug 27, 2014: “[Wasting disease] still remains very high, even though the number of animals is fewer” … The lack of sea stars already is starting to change the outlook of the ecosystem.. “We’re already seeing a large increase in barnacles… the prey that do settle on the rocks, survive and grow like crazy.”

View newly published ROV footage of the wasting sea stars here

Published: September 2nd, 2014 at 3:48 pm ET


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138 comments to TV:: ‘Zombie’ starfish found along Pacific coast — Experts: “Much spookier than in past” — Babies “die so quickly… they just disappear” — Change in seawater could have activated deadly pathogen — Worries about creation of ‘superbug’ — Serious ecosystem changes now appearing (VIDEO)

  • rogerthat
    Seoul to host global forum on nuclear safety in Nov.
    …The symposium, to be held in Seoul from Nov. 26-28, will bring together around 200 government officials from countries including the U.S., China and Japan as well as experts in the private sector, the ministry said.
    … The envisioned meeting would be the second of its kind, expanding from annual discussions on nuclear issues among South Korea, China and Japan, which have been held since 2008. The first closed-door forum was held in Japan on Tuesday and Wednesday. …

    • name999 name999

      Zombie Starfish, much spookier, They die so quickly. How can we save the Starfish? Can we save anything at this point?

  • rogerthat
    …According to the Japanese Consulate-General in Auckland, the number of Japanese nationals in and around the city staying for at least three months grew 8.27 percent from the previous year to 8,205 in 2012. The figure far exceeded the 2.46 percent rise in 2011 and the 0.61 percent increase in 2010.
    Behind the faster growth is the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which devastated northeastern Japan most and triggered the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
    “There are no nuclear plants in New Zealand, which makes many Japanese want to stay here,” says Yoichi Matsubayashi, the Japanese-born hairstylist, who opened Max Hairdressing in 2010. …

  • rogerthat
    Many concerns attached to nuclear power
    Newly repatriated from 20 years overseas as a Department of Defense educator, I would like to respond to the published letter “Using nuclear power has many benefits.”
    The author refers to the disaster in Fukushima, Japan, as a spill and that the government here in the United States has many things to prevent it.
    …Let’s not forget that nuclear plants are subject to nature’s whim.
    Anne Webb

  • rogerthat
    Korea sees France as guide of nuclear waste disposal
    Temporary storage will start running out in 2016
    By Park Si-soo
    BURE, France — Roughly 500 meters under the ground of this sparsely populated town — once the home to several military weapon manufacturers after World War II — the French government is carrying out a groundbreaking experiment, which Korea is closely following in order to learn how to cure its intensifying headache:spent nuclear fuel.
    The experiment examines whether burying high-grade radioactive waste deep underground is the best approach for its permanent disposal…
    the Seoul government is moving to build a permanent storage facility for spent nuclear fuel rods by 2050. This means that Korea still needs to have interim storage facilities — or advanced management technologies — to keep the high-level radioactive waste under control between 2016 and 2050.
    The problem is that with the first saturation only two years away, Korea remains largely unprepared.
    "Frankly speaking, nothing has been done, including selecting location (of interim storage sites) and developing technologies we need," said Cho Seong-kyung, an engineering professor at Myongji University, who has studied the issue for years. …

    • name999 name999

      rogerthat, I like to read the abstacts for the links as I don't always have time to go to all of them.
      Appreciate your posts and try to read as many as I can.

  • JMR

    So what happens when Ebola finds its way to Tokyo with all those immune-compromised millions who have been soaking up radiation for the past 3 years? What about the West Coast of North America? Humans will suffer the same fate as the starfish eventually.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Surely won't be good since all their and our immune system are now compromised.. 🙁

    Things are speeding up!

  • David R. Canada

    I am getting really tired of reading about these sea stars.
    This article is just a bunch of talk, talk, talk.
    Are you trying to tell me that absolutely no one has taken a sample from one of these animals to analyse it in a lab to figure out what's wrong with it?
    Get real!

    • DUDe DisasterInterpretationDissorder

      I think the seastars are really tired of that too , funeraling away..without massive global research what the H is happening with everything…