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The once populated sea star disappears because of warm water and illness – the Grand Forks Gazette

Warm waters and infectious diseases have been identified as the cause of the sunshine of sea fish along the Pacific coast, a recent study said.

Sunflower sea stars are one of the largest marine fish in the world and come in a variety of bright colors, including purple and orange. Some of them grow more than a meter in length and are so fast that they "literally run into the sea," said Joseph Gaydos, senior research author.

"But when this disease occurs, it is like a zombie apocalypse," said Gaydos, who, along with the University of California, Davis, and SeaDoc Society.

"It may have 24 weapons and suddenly it walks around and its weapons just fall. And then the whole body suddenly disappears.

So, what used to be a "big, beautiful sea star" and weighing about five kilograms, in a few days reminiscent of a lime part, he said.

"This is just a very ugly and fast disease for these sunflower sea stars."

In 2013, scientists began to notice species populations falling from 80 to 100 percent in deep and shallow waters of Alaska and B.C. to California. Divers and deep trawls gathered the population information.

Sunflower sea stars are in the waters of hundreds of meters to just three meters.

Diego Montecino-Latorre, co-author of the study, and Davis from the University of California, said scientists found a link between elevated water temperature and less sea star visibility.

Gaydos said that the water temperature rise is not the same in all areas.

He said the oceans are "not like a bath" with a consistent temperature, adding that some places in California have increased by about 4 C, and in Washington – by 2.5 ° C.

One of the theories put forward by scientists is that the rise in temperature makes the sea stars more susceptible to an existing disease, especially because the sea stars do not have a complex immune system.

Gaydos said dismissal is a wake-up call.

"It's hard to see what's happening in the ocean, but we need to pay attention, because it happened in a very short time," he said. "To disappear all the species, it's not good."

Hina Alam, Canadian Press

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