This presentation is part of the Cape Perpetua Speaker Series, hosted by the Cape Perpetua Collaborative.
Beginning in 2013, a disease epidemic termed “sea star wasting” (SSW) caused massive declines within sea star populations ranging from southcentral Alaska to southern California. Widespread die-offs of the ochre star, Pisaster ochraceus, were captured by the Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe), which collects population data for this and other key intertidal species at over 100 west coast sites as part of a long-term monitoring program. This effort was further expanded by enlisting the help of community science groups to monitor sea stars in areas lacking long-term surveys. While SSW persists at low levels in most regions, ochre star populations are trending towards recovery in many areas, including Oregon. However, patterns of recovery vary substantially at both local and broad-scales. Thus, continued monitoring will be essential for documenting the lasting impacts of SSW on this important keystone predator.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
For over 25 years, Melissa Miner has played a key role in the collection and synthesis of long-term monitoring data from rocky intertidal communities ranging from Alaska to Mexico as part of the Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe). She is currently a researcher at UC Santa Cruz, but works remotely from Bellingham, WA, where she lives with her family and fluffy rescue mutt, who have all assisted with sea star surveys.