Less massive sunbathing marine stars, once abounding on the west coast of North America, disappeared from the waters of the region at a remarkable pace due to disease and climate change, the researchers report in a new report
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] Photo: Jennifer Idol / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images / Stocktrek Images
Photo: Jennifer Idol / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images / Photos of Stocktrek
Massive sunflower starfish stars, once abounding along the western coast of North America, disappeared from the waters of the region at astonishing speeds due to disease and climate change , researchers report in a new study
From 2013, wasting sea stars has killed thousands of thistles from Mexico to Alaska. The disease causes damage to the skin of the sea stars, hands that are released and often end up with death. Scientists now estimate that the California and Washington populations have fallen by 80 to 100 percent in some places.
"At a time in abundance in coastal waters, sunflower sea stars can not be found off the coast of California and rarely found in Alaska," said Drew Harvell, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell. co-author of the study, published in the Science Advances journal, along with UC Davis researchers.
In parts of their southern arena, marine stars are considered to be endangered by scientists, said Harvel, said to raise the temperature of ocean waters, worsen the impact the star that loses
"This is a deadly disease, and when you add a higher temperature to it, it kills more quickly, causing greater impact," said Harvel
The disappearance of the sunflower starfish – a predatory predator known for increasing the ocean floor with the enthusiasm of a street broom – there will probably be wide-ranging impacts on the delicate ocean ecosystem. "Sunflower sea stars eat sea urchins, and without the predator keeping their numbers in control, some hedgehogs exploded, alyava algae. This threatens "algae and biodiversity forests," said Joseph Gaidos, senior author of the report and director of the UC Davis SeaDoc Society program, in the press release. "This cascade effect has a really big impact."
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