Researchers cautious about slow sea star recovery on North Olympic Peninsula while hundreds of new juveniles crop up elsewhere
Peninsula Daily News
May 28, 2015
The North Olympic Peninsula’s remaining sea stars may be holding their own, but there is no evidence yet of a remarkable recovery of young sea stars seen elsewhere along the Pacific coast, researchers say.
With nearly all of the mature sea stars dead and gone, rarely seen juvenile sea stars — popularly known as starfish — have been seen emerging by the hundreds at locations previously devastated by a malady known as sea star wasting syndrome during the past 18 months.
Two surveys near Everett found a total of about 600 juvenile ochre stars — one of the hardest-hit species.
Five other Puget Sound surveys found hundreds more.
However, sea star colonies on rocky outcroppings along North Olympic Peninsula shorelines not are part of that good news, researchers in Clallam and Jefferson counties say.
Staff and volunteers at the Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles and Port Townsend Marine Science Center have spent many hours since late 2013 tracking the progress of sea star wasting syndrome in their respective areas.
Feiro researchers found that the disease, believed to be caused by a densovirus, has obliterated 98 percent of sea stars in the Freshwater Bay area west of Port Angeles…