For the past year, anyone that notices changes in the marine waters has likely noticed dramatic changes to the sea stars along the west coast. Scientists and researchers have documented a rapid decline in important populations of sea stars. These populations have slowly succumbed to white lesions and eventually appear to melt to death.
Cases of the sea star wasting disease have popped up historically, but this event is unprecedented in its severity and geographic extent. Recently, scientists isolated and identified a virus commonly found in invertebrates called Star Associated Densovirus as the cause for the epidemic. There is still much to learn about the virus and what can be done to help alleviate the problem.
Let us give thanks for the scientists that identified the virus and hope that we can make a difference to the populations before it is too late.