CBC News, Jan 22, 2016: Sea star wasting disease among worst wildlife die-offs say scientists; The mysterious wasting disease is still killing sea stars from Mexico to Alaska — The sea star wasting disease [is] hitting a bigger range of species over a larger area than originally thought. Scientists investigating the disease in the U.S. and Canada met in Seattle [and] agreed on the scale of the problem, said Dr. Martin Haulena, the veterinarian for the Vancouver Aquarium… “This is, if not the, certainly one of the biggest wildlife die-offs that have ever been recorded, and we’re not just talking marine die-offs.”… [It] has decimated the creatures from Alaska to Mexico… losing their limbs and turning to mush… “Recovery is not happening the way it should be, so I think it is still really bad.”… “It could be a disease that’s been in the system a long time, and something sparked an outbreak recently.”… Any die-off of this magnitude is a major concern, said [the experts]… And there are many more species… that are getting sick, said Haulena, as well as possible signs of disease in sea urchins and sea cucumbers… “to put it in context — yeah, it’s a really big deal.”
KING 5 News, Jan 20, 2016: Biologists are calling the mass death of west coast sea stars the worst wildlife die-off ever recorded… [Scientists are] calling it the largest wildlife die-off ever recorded… The virus causes the sea star reproductive system to swell. They believe environmental factors are aggravating the issue… Experts are also discussing whether it’s time to list the species as endangered… “They’ve gone from being one of the most common species in the Puget Sound to 2-3 years later, being incredibly hard to find,” Lesanna Lahner said… Now, experts are talking about whether sea stars should be listed as endangered.
Ian Hewson, biological oceanographer, Jan 20, 2016: “No pathogen has ever wiped out its host population without being pushed significantly by some other environmental factor… This is the single largest, most-geographically widespread marine disease that’s ever been recorded.”
ABC 10, Jan 20, 2016: West Coast starfish disease biggest wildlife die-off ever recorded; Biologists are calling the mass death of west coast sea stars the worst wildlife die-off ever recorded… [Scientists are] calling it the largest wildlife die-off ever recorded.
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Jan 7, 2106: Lani Raymond, a Homer [Alaska] birder… saw hundreds of dead sea stars. “It’s really bad,” Raymond said. “It’s really depressing… all those [dead birds and] star fish, I was really upset.”
KING 5 News transcript, Jan 20, 2016: Biologists are calling the mass death of West Coast sea stars the worst wildlife die-off ever recorded… [Scientists are trying] to save sea stars from extinction… the disease has eerily wiped out sea stars up the entire West Coast… [Unidentified scientist:] “Is it some sort of a toxin that’s there?”… it doesn’t affect sea sars the same way, that means it probably has environmental causes… One major observation [is] infected sea star reproductive systems are inflamed… It’s already started to change the ecosystem… Some species already face the possibility of extinction… The next step in research is biologists are focusing the efforts on what exactly may have changed in the environment to trigger the sea star die-off.
Published: January 22nd, 2016 at 5:38 pm ET