Scientists “Especially Worried”: “We don’t know how the pathogen is doing this” — Sea star broke in half, walked away, then turned to goo — ‘Environmental factors’ to blame? — Hundreds wash up dead in Seattle (VIDEO)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
By Paul Martin
November 12th, 2013

Santa Barbara Independent, Nov. 7, 2013: Sea Star Wasting Syndrome Reaches Santa Barbara County […] During an ocean dive Thursday morning off the coast of Santa Cruz, Pete Raimondi [UCSC ecology professor] watched two halves of a broken sea star ravaged by a “wasting syndrome” walk away from each other. Not long after, they would turn into mushy piles of goo, disintegrated by a disease that has so far perplexed scientists. […] it appears the syndrome is impacting as many as 10 sea star species up and down the West Coast, wiping out entire populations in certain areas […] So far, biologists haven’t been able to pinpoint the disease’s trigger, unsure whether it’s caused by a virus, bacterial infection, environmental factors, or some combination thereof. […] “They can go from great to pieces in 12 hours,” said Raimondi. […] the Pacific Ocean is in the middle of a cooling trend, so biologists are at a loss to explain the outbreak. […]

Fox News, Nov. 11, 2013: Since June, researchers have seen the disease spread from as far as British Columbia, Canada, down through California and, within the past year, from Maine through New Jersey. The scientists tracking the disease find this simultaneous bicoastal infection especially alarming. “There is no direct route to get from Providence to Seattle,” Gary Wessel, a molecular biologist at Brown University who is working to identify the agent causing the disease, told LiveScience. “So we don’t know how the pathogen would be doing this.”

Q13 FOX News, Nov. 11, 2013: Hundreds of dead sea stars wash up in West Seattle […] According to underwater explorer and videographer Laura James, the sea stars were found on a short stretch of beach in West Seattle. It’s unknown if these sea stars are connected to a large number of dead starfish washing up along the entire West Coast […] In the video, James implores people to keep an eye on the local beaches and report any unusual occurrences.

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