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Since my earlier posts on Pisaster wasting disease in the lab, I've been contacted by a couple of divers who have seen afflicted stars on their dives in Monterey Bay. They have both graciously given me permission to post their photos, which clearly demonstrate that Pisaster and other stars are being stricken subtidally as well as ...continue reading "Wasting disease in subtidal stars"

Until recently I hadn't closely observed what it looks like when a leather star (Dermasterias imbricata) succumbs to wasting syndrome. When I had the outbreak of plague in my table almost 18 months ago now, my only leather star was fine one day and decomposing the next, so I didn't get to see what actually happened ...continue reading "Wasting leather (star)"

At last, a publication on the causative agent for sea star wasting syndrome! Several co-authors have written a paper that was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), in which the culprit was identified as a densovirus. The Smithsonian wrote up a nice article summarizing the findings here. While it remains ...continue reading "Finally! A cause for sea star wasting syndrome"

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I've already written several times about seastar wasting syndrome (SSWS) and you've probably seen your share of photos of wasted, melting, self-mutilating stars. However, you may also be wondering about the current state of affairs regarding SSWS, and whether or not sea star populations have recovered at all since the outbreak began three years ago ...continue reading "Not always a death sentence"

I've been fielding questions about my recent sea star spawning work from people I've shared this blog with, which is a lot of fun! To streamline things and make the info available to anybody who might be following, I decided to put together a very brief FAQ-like post to address the most recent questions. Question:  Can you ...continue reading "Questions and answers"

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Against all odds, my last Pisaster star is (literally) hanging in there. It hasn't lost any more arms in the past 24 hours, and by the standards of the past two weeks that's a rousing success. And it hasn't lost the turgor pressure of its body, so it isn't as limp as the others were ...continue reading "Well, maybe not"

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As of today, I am cautiously optimistic that the Pisaster wasting disease I've been dealing with for the past couple of weeks has run its course. There has been quite a cost, however, as a mortality rate of 90% leaves me with one lonely star remaining. This lone survivor reminds me of Brother John Clyn, a Franciscan ...continue reading "The plague abates?"

It has been almost three and a half years since I first documented seastar wasting syndrome (SSWS) in the lab. Since then many stars have died, in the field and in the lab, and more recently some species seem to be making a comeback in the intertidal. This circumstantial evidence may not be reason enough to conclude that ...continue reading "Hope for the future"

Seeing as today is the third anniversary of the first blog post I wrote about sea star wasting syndrome (SSWS), I thought it would be appropriate to take inventory of my remaining stars and see how they're doing. Right now I have custody of ~10 bat stars (Patiria miniata), 7 ochre stars (Pisaster ochraceus--collected last ...continue reading "Not-so-happy anniversary"

:)
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