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Laguna divers find evidence of Starfish Wasting Disease

San Diego divers Greg Amptman and Michael Bear found sad evidence of the so-called Starfish Wasting Disease while diving in Shaws Cove at Laguna Beach this week. Parts of sea stars, as marine biologists prefer to call them, since they are not fish, were found strewn along the bottom of the cove, which then disintegrated when handled--clear evidence of the disease being present in local species, particularly Giant Spined Sea Stars (Pisaster giganteus). Bear submitted photo documentation to a website run by marine biologists for the purpose of monitoring this disease: http://www.sickstarfish.com/.

Starfish parts littered the bottom, clear evidence of Starfish Wasting Disease
Starfish parts littered the bottom, clear evidence of Starfish Wasting DiseaseMichael Bear

On a happier note, the cove was filled with a wide variety of marine life which ranged from Blacksmith fish to juvenile and adult Sheephead, which can change sex according to conditions, Senoritas, Garibaldis, Bat Stars, Red, Blue and Yellow Sponges, Red and Gold Gorgonian Sea Fans, Giant Kelp, Blue-banded Gobis and a Moray Eel.

Conditions were calm on the surface, with 1-2 ft surf, but a bit surgy on the bottom with 3-12 ft visibility.

For more information on the Starfish Wasting Disease, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish_wasting_disease under 2013 Plague

For divers wanting to contribute data, see here: http://www.eeb.ucsc.edu/pacificrockyintertidal/data-products/sea-star-wasting/