Thursday , June 17 2021

News – More sea stars die from "zombie disease" as the oceans are warm

OCEAN | climate

Isabella O'Malley
Digital writer / rapporteur on climate change

Sunday, February 3, 2019, 13:41 – Since 2013, marine scientists have watched the spread of "zombies" amongst the different types of starfish and new
investigates, points out that the temperatures of warming oceans play a role in mass loss.

The study, published in Science Advances, analyzes different types of star fish in the Pacific Ocean and their sensitivity to a marine star disease loss (SSWD) that causes the formation of small white lesions and then leads to loss of limbs.

On the shores of the Pacific Ocean, from Mexico to Alaska, the disease has affected more than 20 different species of star fish. As the disease progressively aggravates skin lesions, the limbs are segregated from the center of the starfish and interfere with their ability to multiply, which contributes to the reduction of the population.

The study found that peak dips in starfish populations coincided with anomalous warm sea surface temperatures, especially when there were "ocean heat waves".

Researchers explain that increasingly unusual temperatures have shown an impact on the prevalence and severity of marine infectious diseases, which has been confirmed in a number of experimental and field studies.

The leg of this purple ocher starfish in Oregon is falling apart as it dies from the star star loss syndrome. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Like the human body, sea stars reach optimal health at certain temperatures. When these temperatures are higher than normal over long periods of time, their bodies are stressed, putting them at a higher risk of infections that can progress to death.

Previous studies have shown that the disease may be associated with a virus (associated with a starfish disease called Dendrovirus or SSaDV) that is capable of causing the loss of sea stars, but it has not been confirmed that it has played a role in many of the biggest sea stars . extinction.

While determining the exact cause of the disease requires more research, the results of the study show a grim reality for many Pacific ocean stars. Since 2013, over 20 species of star stars have experienced a population decline
between 80% and 100% from Alaska to British Columbia.

Areas that have once been dense with brightly colored sea stars are now bare, except for small populations where the disease is widespread, and sea stars can be seen walking around with falling limbs, as shown in the video below. above.

Researchers stress that these findings are not isolated monitoring, but a widespread multinational environmental emergency, which confirms that the severe conditions of marine ecosystems are facing.

California's SeaDoc Society's Science Director, University of California, Joseph Gaidos, explained that environmentalists are looking for ways to preserve the species,
interview with CBC.

"If we start doing things, we will have some effect, we can not just lift our hands," said Gaydos.

With files from
CBC Radio.

Watch below: STARFISH can walk on the ground and here is the proof

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