Death of A Star

Sonali S. J. Dhir, Dr. Jason Graham
2022 Journal of student research  
Sea star wasting disease (SSWD), originally identified in 2013, is an epidemic impacting 20 species of sea stars along the west coast of North America. Two of the most impacted species, Pisaster ochraceus and Pycnopodia helianthoides are keystone species. The loss of these sea stars impacts oceanic life. Literature reviews were conducted from January to May 2022 to investigate the effect of SSWD on the food web of sea stars and decline of kelp. The apex predators of the ecosystem, P.
more » ... es and P. ochraceus, have decreased drastically, while their prey, urchins, have increased immensely. As a result, kelp, a producer, has decreased significantly. The decline of the keystone species is highly concerning and could have drastic ecological impacts. The loss of kelp is extremely damaging for both marine life and Earth itself. If sea stars continue to decline, the amount of carbon dioxide and loss of kelp will become increasingly problematic for the ocean and health of the planet.
doi:10.47611/jsrhs.v11i3.2908 fatcat:j2kzwc45pbhappdwtg6jih5nx4