Starfish Baby Boom Surprises Biologists
Hundreds of babies have appeared off the Oregon coast, but it’s unclear how the youngsters will fare as they face a deadly wasting disease.
The devastation caused by a viral infection of sea stars along the United States Pacific coastline shows few signs of abating, continuing to kill its victims in a swift and grisly fashion.
Yet against those odds, a huge new crop of sea star babies popped up after last year’s spawning season, surprising researchers who have been tracking the epidemic.
“It was a pretty big surprise, actually,” Menge says. “We thought there could have been a response, but to see the extent of it, the magnitude, was very surprising.”
In some areas, the young sea stars were so abundant “you could hardly miss them,” despite the fact they are each roughly the size of a dime, he says.
But it’s still unclear whether the