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After mysterious die-off, sea stars making a comeback

By in Press Enterprise on December 26, 2017

By Laylan Connelly

It was like something out of a seaside horror movie.

Sea stars, once familiar and beautiful and iconic, suddenly had lesions covering their bodies; a sign that something was horribly wrong. Within a day, the stars with lesions started to melt, turning into globs of goo. And, soon after, any sea stars near them suffered the same gruesome fate.

In all, from 2013 to 2014, millions of sea stars died, the largest known Sea Star Wasting Syndrome incident on record. The die-off spanned from British Columbia to the shores of Southern California down to Mexico. It was, and is, a mystery.

But now, marine scientists are looking in Southern California tidepools and seeing hope — in the form of millions of new, palm-sized sea stars.

  • Colorful starfish cling to the seafloor of a kelp forest in Monterey Bay, California. Kelp forests throughout California harbor extraordinary marine biodiversity.

  • A healthy sea star clings onto a rock at Crystal Cove a few weeks ago. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cove Conservancy.

    A healthy sea star clings onto a rock at Crystal Cove a few weeks ago. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cove Conservancy.

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