Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 24th, 2014


Low Tide: 0.8' @ 1:48 PM

First official day of Oregon Spring Break - and it was a lovely one. The winds didn't pick up until the end of the shift so visitors were out on the beach in large numbers. Our highest count was 148 people in the intertidal.

Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus luecocephalis) continue to make regular appearances at the Rock, usually resulting in the Western Gulls (Larus occidentalis) taking off from the cliffs in a raucous cloud of white and grey.

There was an unconfirmed case of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome observed at Haystack Rock by staff and visitors over the weekend. Photos were sent to researchers at U.C. Santa Cruz, but it is important to note that nothing will be confirmed until monitoring can be set up. This may be an isolated case, if it is even the disease, and more research will need to be done.

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome is a description of symptoms found in many species of sea stars. It is characterized by the appearance of lesions on the ectoderm, or skin, of them animal. The lesions expand, leading to arm loss and eventually death, sometimes in a matter of days. Observations of the syndrome have been made from Alaska to southern California, though few cases have been documented thus far in Oregon. Because of the geographic span of the outbreak and it's potential to rapidly affect sea star populations, monitoring prior to and during the event is of great importance. This will allow researchers to estimate impacts of wasting syndrome and document recovery.

The photos below show the animal observed at Haystack Rock over a period of a few days.

Sea star with whitish lesion appearing on arm, photo take on Mar. 21st.

Same Sea Star with arm missing, photo taken on Mar. 24th. Again, this case is unconfirmed but we would like staff, volunteers and visitors to be aware of a potential observation.


WHAT CAN WE DO?

The Haystack Rock Awareness Program and the Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe) are partnering to seek citizen support in monitoring local sea star populations. HRAP will be hosting an informational session with U.C. Santa Cruz research associate Melissa Miner on April 7th, from 5:00 PM  - 7:00 PM, at Cannon Beach City Hall (163 E. Gower, Cannon Beach, 97110). The event is open to the public and will focus on Sea Star Wasting Syndrome information and monitoring protocols. 

See the flyer below for more information on the meeting or visit MARINe's website at www.pacificrockyintertidal.org for information on Sea Star Wasting Syndrome.


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