New Experiments in Santa Cruz

Cornell Marine Mass Mortality Laboratory

After a highly successful and productive sabbatical in New Zealand (stay tuned for interesting results), we’re back in action investigating sea star wasting in North America. Reports from collaborators and citizen scientists from the west coast indicate that wasting continues at a low(ish) level in sea star populations this boreal spring at some sites, and at a few there has been a small resurgence in some species hard hit by wasting, like sunflower stars (Pycnopodia helianthoides). However, overall population density of this species remains far lower than pre-2013, and wasting hasn’t entirely disappeared. Coast-wide surveys are underway as part of a large monitoring program (see and by citizen scientist divers in the Puget Sound and British Columbia.

The Cornell team’s current efforts now focus on wasting in the ochre star, Pisaster ochraceus in collaboration with Mike Dawson and Lauren Schiebelhut at UC Merced, John Wares at UGA, and Pete…

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