Feather stars, those 200-million-year-old creatures that look like something straight from the pages of a Dr. Seuss book, may be the next kings of the reef. The plant-like animals seem to be thriving, even as other reef dwellers, like corals, are dying from warmer waters linked to climate change.
Angela Stevenson of the University of British Columbia has studied crinoids, a group of marine creatures including feather stars and sea lilies, for over a decade. She’s currently stationed in Negros Oriental, Philippines, where her team is observing and experimenting with the abundant feather star communities that live on the reefs offshore. (See mesmerizing video of a feather star swimming.)
The scientists are studying eight