The Canadian Press –
January 30, 2019 / 1:22 p.m. | Story:
Photo: The Canadian Press
A newly reported study says that a combination of hot waters and infectious diseases was determined as the cause of a death of starfish populations of sunflower along the Pacific coast.
Co-author of the study, Drew Harvell, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, says that the heat wave in the oceans caused by global warming is aggravating starfish disease and killing the starfish more quickly.
The scientists noted that in the three years that began in 2013, populations of this species have declined between 80 and 100 percent in shallow and shallow water from Alaska and British Columbia to California.
The study says the starfish is about the size of a manhole cover with a huge appetite that crawls across the seabed like a robotic vacuum cleaner, eating everything in its path.
Joseph Gaydos of the University of California at Davis says that sunflower starfish are important because they keep sea urchins under control.
Gaydos, who is the senior author of the study, says that without the sunflower stars, populations of boobies expand and threaten kelp forests and biodiversity.