Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/3/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Scientists are alarmed as starfish are essential to local marine biology

Millions and millions of starfish have been washing up dead all along the western coast of the United States. Scientists are baffled and highly worried, as the starfish are absolutely essential to the marine ecosystem.

White lesions on the arms of the sea star -- considered among the largest starfish as it can span more than a meter in diameter, are among the most common signs of distress.

White lesions on the arms of the sea star -- considered among the largest starfish as it can span more than a meter in diameter, are among the most common signs of distress.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/3/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Starfish, dieoffs, ecology, marine biology


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - The mass deaths first became reported in June of last year. It was noted that different types of starfish were affected -- from wild ones along the coast to those in captivity.

"The two species affected most are Pisaster ochraceus (purple sea star or ochre starfish) and Pycnopodia helianthoides (sunflower sea star)," Jonathan Sleeman, director of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center wrote in December.

Light up the darkness by going here --

White lesions on the arms of the sea star -- considered among the largest starfish as it can span more than a meter in diameter, are among the most common signs of distress. The lesions spread quickly, resulting in the loss of the arm. The infection then consumes the creature's entire body in a matter of days, and it dies.

Entire populations have been wiped out in Puget Sound off the coast of Washington state, in the Salish Sea off Canada's British Columbia as well as along the coast of California. The mortality rate is estimated at a staggering 95 percent. Scientists have yet to identify the cause.

"What we currently think is likely happening is that there is a pathogen, like a parasite or a virus or a bacteria, that is infecting the sea stars and that compromises in some way their immune system," Pete Raimondi, chair of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, says.

The creatures become more susceptible to bacteria, which is "causing a secondary infection that causes most of the damages that you see." A smaller outbreak also killed East Coast sea stars last year.

The previous instances were believed to be associated with warmer waters as sea stars have sensitive skin and prefer cooler water, but this was not the case in 2013. With those die-offs, the geographic span of the infections was much smaller, and far fewer sea stars were affected.

An epidemic nearly wiped out the Pisaster ochraceus from tidal pools in 1983 along the southern coast of California.

Another, smaller die-off in 1997 may have been caused by warmer waters in an El Nino year, scientists said.

Sea stars "play a key role in this ecosystem on the West Coast," Raimondi says. Sea stars eat mussels, barnacles, snails, mollusks and other smaller sea life, so their health is considered a measure of marine life on the whole in a given area.

When sea stars decline in number, "the mussel population has the potential to dramatically increase, which could significantly alter the rocky intertidal zone," Sleeman says.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Green

You won't believe how many Americans actually care about global warming! Watch

Image of While a threat to humanity, global warming is of very low concern to the majority of most Americans.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Climate change - or global warming, has a wide range of apocalyptic possibilities - drought, fire, famine and government collapse are promised by the world's soaring temperatures. However, according to a recent poll - Americans just do not care, or express much concern ... continue reading


NOAA caught adjusting temperature data to make global warming worse! But why did they do it? Watch

Image of NOAA: And we would have gotten away with it if not for you pesky skeptics!

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Global warming is probably the most serious issue facing the world today. If global temperatures are spiking, then the world as we know it will change. Even the U.S. military considers global warming to be a major threat to national security. But what if the climate ... continue reading


Here's what a plague of locusts looks like (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of When grasshoppers swarm, they become known as locusts. Their colors and behaviors change dramatically.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Amid news that the largest locust swarm in five decades is devouring crops in Argentina, some people have wondered just what such a thing looks like. Here's what a plague of biblical proportions looks like.  [media id="17873"][media id="17875"][media ... continue reading


Will the symbolic Doomsday Clock move closer to the fatal end? Watch

Image of Doomsday Clock is currently set three minutes to 12.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic visual of the world's impending doom. Once the clock strikes midnight, the world as we know it will come to an apocalyptic halt -all of our own doing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) is ... continue reading


El Nino DISASTER looms for California: 'ATMOSPHERIC RIVER EVENT' possible, could be followed 'VERY LOW SNOW LEVELS' Watch

Image of The ARkstorm scenario has been modeled in California. In 1862, an actual ARkstorm hit the state. Similar, but less destructive storms have hit in 1938, 1968, and 1986.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A long range weather forecast for California predicts the state may be hit by a major El Nino storm next weekend. That storm could be followed by abnormally cold temperatures that could put snow on the valley floor, a rare event for the region. UPDATE: Wednesday, 1/27, ... continue reading


SHOCKING reality facing oceans: Plastic pollution 'equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute' Watch

Image of The ocean is already full of plastic -but more is on its way (LiveScience).

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Everyone has heard of the spread of plastic pollution in our oceans -but how many of us realize just how serious the situation really is? According to the World Economic Forum, the amount of plastic currently dumped into our oceans each year is the equivalent of one ... continue reading


Global warming devours lake twice the size of Los Angeles Watch

Image of A fisherman displays his license. Without any water or fish, his livelihood has evaporated. Bolivia has declared a national disaster.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Climate change may be a debate topic in the United States, but for people who have been impacted by warming weather, it is a harsh reality. This is painfully evident in Lake Poopo, Bolivia, that nation's second-largest lake, which has now dried up to just 2 percent of ... continue reading


NOAA: 2015 officially hottest year on record. -- Skeptics just insist all scientists are lying Watch

Image of According to NASA and NOAA, 2015 was the hottest year on modern record.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

More evidence. There's more proof the planet is warming, and it's not even a debatable subject anymore. According to NOAA, 2015 is the hottest year on record, by far. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Last year was the hottest recorded year since record-keeping ... continue reading


Hey California, love the weather? There's a nasty surprise coming for Californians Watch

Image of A luxury home collapses in California in March, 1998.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Californios have been pleasantly surprised by the El Nino rains this year. The rain hasn't been overwhelming, and temperatures have been mild.  Windows can often be left open all night in many places. There's plenty of snow on the slopes, so skiing is on. It's a ... continue reading


BACK TO LIFE MIRACLE: Organisms, frozen for 30 years, successfully revived and brought back to life Watch

Image of Frozen, tardigrades enter a state called cryptobiosis. Their metabolic processes shut down and they show no visible signs of life.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a remarkable feat worthy of Rip Van Winkle, two tardigrades - also known as "Waterbears" and "moss piglets" were successfully revived after being frozen or 30 years. One survived for only a few days - the other thrived and was able to hatch further eggs. LOS ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Stations of the Cross - Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother HD Video
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • Palm Sunday HD Video
  • Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
  • St. Scholastica: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
  • 10 important things to consider during Lent

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:22-23, 27-30
22 Then, in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, Solomon stood ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5, 10, 11
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a nest to place its ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 7:1-13
1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 9th, 2016 Image

St. Apollonia
February 9: St. Apollonia, who died in the year 249, was ... Read More