– MSNBC: Largest epidemic ever seen in world’s oceans hits West Coast — Emergency legislation proposed in US Congress — Newsweek: Millions dead, researchers have lost count — Experts: It’s beyond anything I ever imagined… Disintegrating before our eyes… Never been an event so dramatic… Shorelines losing biodiversity, blanketed in barnacles (VIDEO) (ENENews, Oct 2, 2014):
KPLU, Sept. 18, 2014 (emphasis added): Proposed Emergency Legislation Aims To Address Starfish Wasting Syndrome… U.S. Rep. Denny Heck… introduced an emergency act in Congress… addressing the sea star epidemic… Heck’s Marine Disease Emergency Act [also creates] funding mechanisms to deal with future outbreaks of marine disease.
Congressman Heck: “Sea stars do not function underwater in a vacuum… This could be a sign of a deeper problem.”
Newsweek, Oct. 2, 2014: A grisly horror show is playing out along the West Coast… millions of dead and dying sea stars… victims of a swift and brutal illness… organs rupture… arms fall off. Ultimately, the sea star dissolves, as if melted by acid… This summer, the outbreak morphed into a full-scale epidemic… so bad that researchers have lost count of how many stars are lost. They estimate millions… food webs are being upended… shorelines that used to be dotted with sea stars and other species are now blanketed with barnacles growing with abandon, a sign of the loss of biodiversity on the coast… The wasting syndrome has also been reported in populations along the East Coast [see Dr. Miner’s comment below].
Dr. Benjamin Miner, Western Washington University: (Q: Are Atlantic starfish affected?) Wasting syndrome… has just been along the West Coast… It’s kind of slowly progressing northward, which… certainly suggests there’s something in the water that might be spreading.
PBS (Oregon), Oct. 1, 2014: Program Coordinator Samantha Ferber… estimates that more than 90 percent of the total sea stars in the lower intertidal… succumbed to the disease… “There has never been an event this dramatic… dying rapidly… degrading before our eyes.”
Dr. Drew Harvell, Cornell University, Sept. 19, 2014: “Unprecedented… largest marine wildlife outbreak ever recorded in terms of number of species, and spread… [It] has big implications for humans… this epidemic is an emergency… If they disappear… we cannot repopulate them.”
Dr. Harvell: “It’s the largest epidemic we’ve ever seen with marine wildlife… We watched our populations go from thousands of stars to none over the space of a month.”
Bruce Menge, Oregon St. Univ.: [I can’t] find even a single star. “Deep down, I worry this might be a harbinger of some impending, major problem resulting from climate change… a complete alteration of coastal ecosystems”… Wasting syndrome appeared… the same time that deep, cold water rose up and filled the area… so perhaps it is not warming waters.
MSNBC, Sept. 17, 2014: It’s the largest known epidemic in the world’s oceans – Laura James, diver: “There were a whole bunch of sea stars that washed up… more than any of us had ever seen… I’ll never forget it, it was like a war zone… bodies laying around everywhere… Up and down the west coast from Mexico all the way up to Alaska, the scale of this is beyond anything I’ve ever even imagined. We’re already seeing changes, we’re seeing a shift in our biodiversity… [The sea stars] are all gone now… It could be an indicator of a bigger problem.” >> Watch the MSNBC segment here