‘Stars’ Returning

May 10, 2016

seastarBright sunshine made-warmer by a near-calm wind this early Tuesday on California’s north coast, supposedly an indicator of our immediate future.
The next couple of days, as indicated by the percent-chance of precipitation-scale on the WunderBlog‘s weather thingy, a rare slide along at zero until at least early Friday — and again depending on the wind, temperatures should be amiable, too.

Weather good-as-it-gets out here, but not so at all back east — surreal tornadoes and lots of rainwater.
Although a new report published last month showing weather conditions for most Americans has ‘improved‘ over the past 40 years, the US Midwest is now feeling the predicted opposite shift.

Meanwhile, back ‘out here‘ on the Left Coast, some also-rare good news — last week, it was announced that maybe that horrible Sea star melt-down experienced along the Pacific Coast the past couple of years may not be a total disaster. Reportedly, a record number of starfish offspring survived the virus attack.
From the Times-Standard last Thursday:

Data collected by Oregon State University researchers since 2014 showed an unprecedented number of baby sea stars survived during the summer and winter of 2015.
“When we looked at the settlement of the larval sea stars on rocks in 2014 during the epidemic, it was the same or maybe even a bit lower than previous years,” Oregon State University Marine Biology Professor Bruce Menge said in a statement.
“But a few months later, the number of juveniles was off the charts — higher than we’d ever seen — as much as 300 times normal.”
A similar increase in sea star juveniles was also found at sites just north of Trinidad near Patrick’s Point State Park, Humboldt State University Marine Lab Director Brian Tissot said, though the abundance was not quite as high as it was in Oregon.
“I think there is a lot of parallel between what they’re seeing and what we’re seeing,” Tissot said.

Preliminary data shows that the baby sea star abundance in Trinidad dropped back down again in the fall and winter of 2015.
Tissot said predation, competition and environmental factors makes survival difficult for a baby sea star, but the added presence of the deadly wasting disease has also played a large role.
Sea stars infected with the wasting disease were first found on the North Coast in April 2013, with Tissot believing it to be one of the earliest, if not the earliest, sighting of the disease on the West Coast.
California Sea Grant Extension marine ecologist Joe Tyburczy recalled how a Humboldt State University graduate student researching the sea stars in 2013 noticed her specimens were breaking apart in the marine lab tanks.
“She thought she was doing something wrong,” Tyburczy said.

Right now on a come back…

(Illustration above: ‘A common starfish on Trinidad State Beach,‘ found here).

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