Starfish Babies Return To California After Massive Die-off

Posted: May 9 2016, 5:13am CDT | by , Updated: May 9 2016, 9:34pm CDT , in Latest Science News


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Starfish Babies Return to California Coast After Massive Die-off
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  • Plethora of Young Sea Stars not a Guarantee against Decimation through Disease

A plethora of young sea stars found off the coast of Oregon are not a guarantee against the decimation of the species through disease.

A large number of small sea stars have been observed to have gathered off the Oregon coastal regions. They have been arriving in scads for several months. This was just two years after an epidemic disease eradicated nearly all of the population of sea stars.

However, this appearance of the baby sea stars does not in any way mean that the epidemic is over. Far from it. A renewed onslaught by the wasting disease could cause widespread deaths among the population of sea stars.

The purple ochre sea stars and other species play a major part in the ecological balance of the marine life. A group of researchers have published the study in the journal PLOS ONE.

They have been overseeing the sea stars since eons. The collective amassing of the larvae of the sea stars on the coastal rocks in 2014 was something which was equal or less than in previous times.

Months after this the rates were such that they reached 300 times the normal population density of these curious creatures.

It was not that the disease was over or that more offspring were being produced. These juveniles just survived enough to make it on to the shore line of Oregon.

The thing is whether they can actually survive further till the adult stage. If they fall prey to the disease than all the hopes and optimism of the experts would have come to naught.

Actually, it is the pre-existent paucity of adults that is the real reason behind the plethora of young sea stars. Since now more food is automatically available, these young ones are multiplying like crazy.

Sea star wasting disease first came on the scene two years ago. It began to have an immediate effect on the sea star population. The distortion and scars the sea stars developed as a result of the malady was enough for environmentalists and marine conservationists to become alarmed.

Over more than the time span of a year, the sea stars were nearly completely devastated by the disease. The disease was caused by the densovirus.

The complex food webs of the various forms of marine life were also irretrievably changed thanks to the disease. Scientists are still looking into ways of diminishing the severity of the ailment so that the marine ecosystem would undergo homeostasis and return to its normal range.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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