Last summer, researchers started noticing large numbers of starfish dying off along the Pacific coast. So far, nobody knows exactly what is causing the syndrome, known as sea star wasting disease. We talk to some of the scientists who are trying to get to the bottom of the starfish die-off.

From PBS Newshour: Mysterious Epidemic Devastates Pacific Coast Starfish

Pete Raimondi, chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at U.C. Santa Cruz
Dr. Benjamin Miner, professor of marine biology at Western Washington University

  • K H

    Could the expected slow wave of radiation from Fukushima be lowering the immunity of starfish, allowing microbial illness to take off?

    • Bill_Woods

      No. It’s not even here yet, and too low level to worry about.

      “In the ocean, the largest source of radiation comes from naturally occurring substances such as potassium-40 and uranium-238, which are found at levels 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than any human sources of radiation (see illustration).”

  • SheriB

    I listened to the program. The speakers speak of a “pathogen”. I’m a medical doctor and am surprised that no one talked about culturing these sick star fish for bacteria, fungi or viruses. Other options would be to put sick sea stars into tanks with healthy sea stars and see if you can get a better model of how this disease spreads.

    • clairet61

      The marine epidemiologist, Drew Harvel (sp), is sending samples to Cornell for, among other things, bacterial testing. I would assume this means cultures will be done.

      • SheriB

        Good. It will be interesting to follow the story and see what is really going on.

  • Paul Personne

    For Heaven’s sake will you STOP INTERRUPTING YOUR GUESTS? We all know how smart you are, you don’t have to jump into the middle of every statement with some arcane trivia or useless anecdote about when you were studying Linnaeus. It is rude, egotistical, and disruptive. You have EXPERTS on your program, so let THEM talk. If you have anything USEFUL to add, at least let your guests complete a full sentence or maybe occasionally a couple of them before breaking in. Really annoying!

  • shirley shirley

    Why is no one considering the fact that all the nuclear waste from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster has finally reached our shores?

  • ChemE911

    Uh, guys, I am starting to get pretty good statistics pointing to our high-powered, pulsed microwave radars lining the coastlines pulsing millions of overlapping watts 24/7. They also appear to be increasing algae blooms around the towers. research @ darkmattersalot

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