Video: Dead sea stars turn up on West Seattle shores

November 10, 2013 at 10:39 pm | In West Seattle beaches, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

Washed up seastars at Brace Point, near Seattle Washington from Laura James on Vimeo.

That video was just shared by West Seattle environmental advocate/photographer “Diver Laura” James, who reports counting more than 100 dead sea stars in the Brace Point area near Fauntleroy this weekend. We also received a called-in report late yesterday of dead sea stars (starfish) seen near Colman Pool on the Lincoln Park shoreline, but had not been able to get there at low tide to verify. There have been numerous reports of starfish die-offs in recent weeks, from this KING 5 story to a national report via NBC News. But there’s no way to know, so far, if this is connected, nor have scientists definitively linked other die-offs to any sort of common condition.

P.S. Laura will be at The Whale Trail‘s orca talk at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) this Tuesday night, on behalf of Tox-Ick.org; if you haven’t already bought a ticket, though, please note that TWT’s Donna Sandstrom has announced the event is sold out, so no tickets at the door.

11 Comments

  1. One needs to wonder whether this is due to the acidification of Puget Sound due to the increased uptake of carbon? If you haven’t seen it yet, read the Seattle Times’ startling but excellent story on this issue.

    Comment by (required) — 11:47 pm November 10, 2013 #

  2. The NBC report says that “the likely suspect is a bacterium or a virus rather than a chemical or environmental factor” and the disease is contagious, which doesn’t necessarily mean that a worsening environment isn’t making the animals more vulnerable.

    Although the NBC report says that multiple species are affected, I note that all or most of the victims in this video are sun stars, probably species of Solaster, while the Seattle Times’ article from California, http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2022184335_apxstarfishdeaths.html, reports the victims as the familiar purple (or ochre) star, Pisaster ochraceus. Yikes – are Puget Sound’s purple stars already gone?

    This is worrisome in part because seastars are predators, whose prey (sea urchins in the case of the sun star, mussels for the purple star) may overpopulate if their predators are decimated by disease, in turn crowding out other species.

    Comment by Dennis Cheasebro — 12:29 am November 11, 2013 #

  3. Since the sea stars are having issues “melting” all along the west coast, what ever is wrong is not just in the Puget Sound. Very sad. I hope it clears up and the sea stars can get healthy again. I wonder if the die-off has anything to do with the radiation from Japan or maybe a fungus? It could be anything really.

    Comment by Noelle — 1:30 am November 11, 2013 #

  4. Radiation is unlikely as only sea stars are affected; radiation would affect other sea life as well. Additionally, this is also happening on the east coast. A disease or infection of some kind seems more likely.

    Comment by datamuse — 1:44 am November 11, 2013 #

  5. It’s a shocking number of sea stars. It’s also upsetting because now the Seaguls are going to see those and think “Bingo! Dinner!” And eat whatever is in those Dead Sea stars.

    Comment by Noelle — 2:18 am November 11, 2013 #

  6. Good point Datamuse! That makes sense!

    Another problem I see with a wide scale die-off is the imbalance it will cause in the food chain. Just a sad situation.

    Comment by Noelle — 2:24 am November 11, 2013 #

  7. I am a chemical engineer. After 10 months of research I believe the cause is an increase in penetrating, ionizing radiation from the atmosphere due to the recently upgraded high power dual pol Doppler radar towers. They are also triggering increased algae blooms and fish kills around the towers. Each tower emits 0.25 to 1.25 Mw of radiation, which is enough to power 500 homes

    Comment by ChemeE — 2:50 am November 11, 2013 #

  8. We had a neighbor reporting that several large dead jellyfish washed up off the shores of Beach Drive. http://beachdriveblog.com/2013/11/large-dead-jellyfish.html

    Comment by Rhonda Porter — 6:36 am November 11, 2013 #

  9. I have no sympathy for the jellyfish…just back from Waikiki and was stung while over there. :(

    Comment by payrollgirl — 12:45 pm November 11, 2013 #

  10. I’ve seen the big dead red jelly fish every autumn. I think of them as being like fall leaves – just part of the change of seasons.
    ..
    Populations of sea creatures go up and down. I had noticed far fewer starfish at low tides this summer, but it didn’t occur to me at the time that it would be anything other than a normal variation. Even if it is part of a bigger event, it would take scientific sampling to determine that, not just local anecdotal evidence.
    .
    On the other hand, this year has seen more sand dollars than I’ve seen before, and more eel grass.

    Comment by lura ercolano — 4:33 pm November 11, 2013 #

  11. There’s no question in my mind, that this, along with other strange occurrences, ie. unusual species washing up, are a sign of end times for the earth’s ecosystem thanks to human destruction.

    Comment by Christy — 11:39 am November 12, 2013 #

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