Scientists with the Vancouver Aquarium were on the water last week looking closely at how a serious decline in the Sea Star population in the waters in Howe Sound near West Vancouver is impacting the rest of the marine ecosystem. Scientists first started noticing a decline in Sea Star populations in 2013 and the cause for the decline is what is know as Sea star wasting disease. “It was really striking to see the wasting sea stars. They kind of lose their internal body pressure, they develop lesions, they start to fall apart, drop their arms, so it’s really quite gruesome ” said Jessica Schultz, ecology and climate research manager with the aquarium’s Howe Sound Research and Conservation team.
Vancouver Aquarium marine scientist Laura Borden holds up a piece of kelp found in shallow waters in Howe Sound on Monday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)