VIDEO: Signs of hope for sea stars? West Seattle undersea sightings

On another mostly gray, rainy day, following a stormy night, here’s a view that’s bright in two ways: Colorful undersea creatures recorded by “Diver Laura” James in the area known as the “junkyard” – and as you’ll see if you watch it, she found some sea stars:

We saw numerous young sunflower stars in the shallows, far more than I was expecting. There was a healthy medium-sized one in the 40’ depth range as well, so this is a change for the positive. Sunflower stars have been all but extirpated at many of our regular dive sites. It is still winter underwater, so we will have to wait until fall to see the real impact (how many babies show up and how many survive) The majority of the sea stars that were lost in the wasting disease are the types that spawn in the spring to mid summer. The babies will then be in the larval stage and float around in the current before they land and start growing. Baby sunflower stars start with 5 arms and then start growing pairs of additional arms, which is why you see uneven arms in the videos. That isn’t because they’ve lost limbs, it means they are growing :)

Many of the stars in the video other than the young sunflower stars and the mottled stars (there were a few) were species that were not as impacted by the wasting disease, such as Leather stars, so it isn’t a surprise to find them there. We did not see any sand stars, pink spiny stars, pisaster (ochre stars) or morning sun stars, but I’m crossing my fingers come spring/summer.

9 Replies to "VIDEO: Signs of hope for sea stars? West Seattle undersea sightings"

  • m January 18, 2015 (3:46 pm)

    Beautiful! I had no idea sea urchins move like that. Thank you Diver Laura. I’m still holding out hope for the sea stars.

  • Brenda January 18, 2015 (5:15 pm)

    That was just amazing! Thank you so much, Diver Laura and WSB, for bringing us things like this that most of us would not see otherwise. BTW, I saw a seagull the other day with a sea star in its beak, and I reckoned that was a good sign…they must be plentiful enough now to provide the occasional snack.

  • Cea January 18, 2015 (5:41 pm)

    Gorgeous! Incredible clarity and detail – and the color! These videos bring to life the undersea world that is just as much a part of West Seattle as our parks and neighborhoods. I’ve never looked at Puget Sound the same way after watching Diver Laura’s videos. Thank you for bringing such awareness to my life!

  • Brenda January 18, 2015 (6:04 pm)

    That was just an amazing video! Thank you, Diver Laura and WSB, for bringing such things to those of us who wouldn’t see them otherwise.

  • dcn January 18, 2015 (6:16 pm)

    Beautiful video. I also hope the sea stars make a come back.

  • miws January 18, 2015 (6:55 pm)

    Thanks for another incredible video, Diver Laura and WSB!



  • alkigirl January 18, 2015 (11:18 pm)

    Thank you, Diver Laura and WSB!!’

  • John-Christopher Ward January 19, 2015 (1:54 pm)

    Those aren’t sea urchins, they are sea anemones.

  • james January 19, 2015 (2:55 pm)

    Wow. That is absolutely stunning footage and editing. And was that Explosions in the Sky? Thanks for sharing!

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