‘Melting’ Starfish Along West Coast Prompts Fukushima Fears
by Mikael Thalen
October 29th, 2013
Scientists are attempting to find out why one species of starfish is literally melting in the waters off of Washington state and Canada.
Biologists in Seattle took to the Puget Sound waters last weekend to collect sick and healthy sunflower starfish for testing. Several labs including one at Cornell University will examine and compare samples with Canadian specimens already being analyzed.
“We’ve got some sea stars that look like they’re melting on the bottom,” Seattle Aquarium biologists Jeff Christiansen said.
Whether the cause is environmental or disease related is currently unknown, but the number of melting starfish increases drastically with each passing day.
“At this time, we don’t have a good idea of what’s causing it, so we’re going to look for everything,” Christiansen said. “There are a lot of melting sea stars out there, more than even a couple days ago.”
According to Veterinarian Lesanna Lahner, the starfish specie’s condition is rapidly deteriorating, with more than half displaying the same disturbing symptoms.
“It’s concerning to hear in a short time period we’re seeing 60% of this species diseased in this area,” Lahner said.