National Geographic, Nov 17, 2014 (emphasis added): Urchins and cucumbers seemed to have escaped the ill effects of the virus until now. But in recent weeks, reports have started to come in that they too are dying along beaches in the Pacific Northwest, Hewson said… [He and his team are] studying the urchins and sea cucumbers that are already dying to see if the same killer is responsible.
Dr. Bill Bushing, kelp forest ecologist, Nov 2, 2014: I’ve mentioned before that [in Southern California] our starfish and sea urchins have been dying… I’ve recently seen sea cucumbers that appear to be diseased as well… I’ve also observed strangely colored sea hares (big shell-less snails) in the park. The red algae they normally eat seems to have died out… Divers also report seeing far fewer of the sea hares this year.
Ronald L. Shimek, PhD, marine biologist, Nov 10, 2014: Jan Kocian, diving photographer extraordinare… has been actively surveying several marine subtidal areas in northern Puget Sound for some time… [During a Sept. 18] dive… on Whidbey Island, Washington… he started seeing things he had never previously observed.… there were many animals lying exposed on the sandy sea floor, looking limp, sick or dead. Red sea cucumbers were flaccid and dead… Aleutian Moon snails were in odd postures… pink/yellow worms [were] another rare or unusual sight…. Nuttall’s cockles were on the sediment surface with their siphons out, instead of being buried… 22nd September, the area containing dying animals was not only still present it was spreading; whatever seemed to be the cause was still doing its dirty work… 25th September [many] red sea cucumbers… were lying fully exposed, and apparently dead… 29th of September… A few living Cucumaria were acting oddly, not quite dead, but just slightly responsive to touch… Numerous green sea urchins were found with their spines in abnormal postures, definitely not looking healthy… The full extent of the dead area, and the reason for the mortality, remain indeterminate.
Captions to photos taken by diver Jan Kocian: (3) Death of the sea urchins; (4) [Red sea cucumber] Cucumaria miniata dying and decomposing [alt text on photo: "Everything's dying"]; (5) Dead, dead, dead, and dead – or dying
Published: November 18th, 2014 at 12:59 pm ET
- Lead Researcher: Fukushima pollution may be causing sea star epidemic on West Coast — Sea urchins, sea cucumbers also affected — “Something’s making them susceptible”… “It’s unlike anything we’ve seen”… “Populations go locally extinct overnight” December 30, 2013
- Alaska: “Scientists alarmed by new mystery disease” — Pacific Northwest: “Alarming changes” — “Couldn’t believe my eyes” — “Scientists really stumped… It’s kind of an alien thing” — “Gotten much, much worse… a horror show… could wreak havoc on entire ecosystems from Mexico to Alaska” (VIDEO) August 6, 2014
- Giant whales found dead up & down Pacific NW coast, scientists ‘baffled’ over surge — 25+ carcasses reported in past month — Gov’t: “Troubling… Definitely a pulse of deaths” — Experts: “Alarming spike… Exceptionally rare to see a dead humpback” — Concerns about unidentified pathogen (PHOTOS) August 13, 2015
- Gov’t: Sea urchins with insides empty, bare skeletons, and black lesions in Hawaii — Birds dying of unusual cancers, rarely seen in wildlife (PHOTOS) January 22, 2015
- USA Today: Millions of fish dead in Pacific Northwest — Ocean conditions have ‘gone to hell’ — Salmon covered in fungus, red lesions all over, big gaping sores — Extinction concerns, “it could be the end” — Experts: It’s crazy… Unprecedented… Catastrophic… Worst they’ve ever seen (VIDEO & PHOTOS) August 1, 2015