A. Forbesi, the common sea star, are dying out in New England and possibly along the east coast. Help us figure out why and how to save them!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ed Baker's Thoughts

Tank caretaker at GSO
GSO tank:  "[last fall] in Dr Wessel's sea star tanks the die off began and slowly rolled through the population (2 months) of the tank while the tank next to it had no mortalities in its sea star community
They received the same water supply and the sea stars had been held for a couple of years in the other tank.  It would seem that the malady is not readily vectored by the sea water.  Also, both tanks experienced low flow events from time to time (obstructed valve) where they probably experienced low DO and an increase in temperature. 
One could see ahead of time the onset of the malady where the arm(s) would become irregular in shape and become narrower close to the body.  Eventually, the arm(s) would detach from the body but seemed to "live" for a couple days; evidenced by moving tube feet
Upon death the arm(s) or what was left of the body would flatten and begin to disintegrate. I did see a lesion on the top side of an arm where the flesh had "blossomed" into a 1/2 diameter dome and had a cauliflower type appearance
Upon touch it was very soft and this consistency extended into the flesh of the arm much like a rotten spot on fruit. 

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