A mysterious disease is causing the limbs of sea stars to fall off and dissolve in the waters of San Diego.
Researchers are concerned about more sea stars dying off in this manner.
The condition is called a number of things, including “melting disease” and “sea star wasting syndrome. The animals typically produce lesions causing their limbs to fall off and dissolve and were therefore also named “zombie sea stars.”
Similar die-offs have occurred before in the 1970s and 1980s but never at this magnitude and across such an widespread region.
But what is the possible longterm impact of these dying sea stars? They are really important predators in this fragile ecosystem. So if you get rid of them, the community is going to change in some ways we don’t know.
Scientists expect more sea stars dying off, but the is hope: Baby sea stars were observed in local waters… Hopefully they are recovering and will be able to survive this mysterious disease.