Sea stars are dying off at dramatic rates across the West Coast from Baja California in Mexico to Alaska. The wasting disease that is affecting sea stars also is not specific to one species: more than 20 sea star species have been affected so far.
Sea Star Wasting Syndrome Map
Recent observations of sea star wasting syndrome provided by the Pacific Rocky Intertidal Monitoring program.
Science to Support Aquatic Animal Health
A USGS fact sheet detailing how USGS research is using science-based solutions for aquatic health and disease mitigation.
USGS scientists have been part of team studying this new epidemic. Scientists have found a densovirus that may be responsible for the sea star deaths: Sea Star Associated Densovirus (SSaDV).
Virus Calculated as Culprit Killing Sea Stars — Soundwaves Newsletter
Sea Star Wasting Syndrome — Pacific Rocky Intertidal Monitoring
Nearshore Benthic Systems in the Gulf of Alaska — Gulf Watch Alaska
Exploring the pathology of an epidermal disease affecting a circum-Antarctic sea star
Science to support aquatic animal health
Marine disease impacts, diagnosis, forecasting, management and policy
Up in arms: Immune and nervous system response to sea star wasting disease
Densovirus associated with sea-star wasting disease and mass mortality
Exploring the pathology of an epidermal disease affecting a circum-Antarctic sea starOver the past decade, unusual mortality outbreaks have decimated echinoderm populations over broad geographic regions, raising awareness globally of the importance of investigating such events. Echinoderms are key components of marine benthos for top-down and bottom-up regulations of plants and animals; population declines of these individuals can have significant ecosystem-wide effects. Here we dAuthorsLaura Nunez-Pons, Thierry M. Work, Carlos Angulo-Preckler, Juan Moles, Conxita Avila
Science to support aquatic animal healthHealthy aquatic ecosystems are home to a diversity of plants, invertebrates, fish and wildlife. Aquatic animal populations face unprecedented threats to their health and survival from climate change, water shortages, habitat alteration, invasive species and environmental contaminants. These environmental stressors can directly impact the prevalence and severity of disease in aquatic populations. FAuthorsMaureen K. Purcell, M. Camille Harris
Marine disease impacts, diagnosis, forecasting, management and policyAs Australians were spending millions of dollars in 2014 to remove the coral-eating crown of thorns sea star from the Great Barrier Reef, sea stars started washing up dead for free along North America's Pacific Coast. Because North American sea stars are important and iconic predators in marine communities, locals and marine scientists alike were alarmed by what proved to be the world's most widesAuthorsKevin D. Lafferty, Eileen E. Hofmann
Up in arms: Immune and nervous system response to sea star wasting diseaseEchinoderms, positioned taxonomically at the base of deuterostomes, provide an important system for the study of the evolution of the immune system. However, there is little known about the cellular components and genes associated with echinoderm immunity. The 2013–2014 sea star wasting disease outbreak is an emergent, rapidly spreading disease, which has led to large population declines of asteroAuthorsLauren E Fuess, Morgan E. Eiselord, Collin J. Closek, Allison M. Tracy, Ruth Mauntz, Sarah Gignoux-Wolfsohn, Monica M Moritsch, Reyn Yoshioka, Colleen A. Burge, Drew Harvell, Carolyn S. Friedman, Paul K. Hershberger, Steven B. Roberts
Densovirus associated with sea-star wasting disease and mass mortalityPopulations of at least 20 asteroid species on the Northeast Pacific Coast have recently experienced an extensive outbreak of sea-star (asteroid) wasting disease (SSWD). The disease leads to behavioral changes, lesions, loss of turgor, limb autotomy, and death characterized by rapid degradation (“melting”). Here, we present evidence from experimental challenge studies and field observations that lAuthorsIan Hewson, Jason B. Button, Brent M. Gudenkauf, Benjamin Miner, Alisa L. Newton, Joseph K. Gaydos, Janna Wynne, Cathy L. Groves, Gordon Hendler, Michael Murray, Steven Fradkin, Mya Breitbart, Elizabeth Fahsbender, Kevin D. Lafferty, A. Marm Kilpatrick, C. Melissa Miner, Peter T. Raimondi, Lesanna L. Lahner, Carolyn S. Friedman, Stephen D. Danielson, Martin Haulena, Jeffrey Marliave, Colleen A. Burge, Morgan E. Eisenlord, C. Drew Harvell