By Kyra Young
Back in June, The Advocate reported a massive sea star die-off on much of the Pacific Northwest coast. In case you haven’t heard, the massive die-off has been caused by a wasting syndrome which disintegrates sea stars limb by limb and turns them into puddles of gross goop.
Scientists around the world have been racking their brains trying to figure out what exactly is causing this sudden die-off. According to NEWS Lincoln County, aquarium volunteer science diver Diane Hollingshead may have discovered a clue to their recovery. While diving off of Florence’s North Jetty this month, Hollingshead noticed tiny baby sea stars covering the rocks. Oregon Coast Aquarium deployed a team of science divers led by aquarium dive safety officer Jenna Walker, and what they found was astounding. The juvenile sea stars appeared in droves of up to 202 per square meter.
Although the little stars are too small to identify their species, the aquarium plans to monitor the population as they grow throughout the next few months. It is hoped that they will herald a comeback for the species.
More information about the initial discovery of sea star wasting syndrome can be found at www.aquarium.org.