A mysterious disease is killing sea stars, What ?

Hello hivians welcome to yet another post by your truly @sam9999

So, yesterday I made some discovery from a post here in @stemsocial by @Futurekr, He dropped some serious knowledge bombs about sea stars, or as some of us mistakenly call them, starfish. Sea stars are not fish at all! Nope, they're more like the cool cousins of urchins and sand dollars. They belong to the invertebrate gang, which means they have no backbone. Meanwhile, fish strut around with their fancy backbones, feeling all superior and stuff you know.

Now, let's talk about their fabulous fashion sense.


Most sea stars rock spiny skins and sport five arms, but wait for it—some of these daredevils can grow up to a mind-blowing 50 arms! That's right, they're like the sea star version of an octopus on steroids. And here's the best part: these arms are equipped with pincer-like arms and suckers that make room for all sorts of hilarious animal creeping along the ocean floor. It's like a slow-motion dance party down there! And guess what? Sea stars have their very own built-in food-finding GPS in the form of a light-sensitive eyespot at the tips of their arms. They're basically the underwater foodies of the animal kingdom.

Now, let's address their social life, or lack thereof. Sea stars are a bit like introverts of the sea—they prefer their own company most of the time. But every now and then, they decide to throw a massive feast and invite all their friends. It's like an underwater potluck, and the menu? Bivalves, snails, and even fish! They know how to party, and they certainly know how to eat.

But here's where things get truly mind-blowing. Sea stars have the ultimate superpower—regeneration. Yeah, you heard me right. If they lose an arm, they just shrug it off and grow a brand-new one. It's like they have their very own arm-growing factory, and they're not afraid to use it. Imagine if we humans could do the same! Misplace your arm? No worries, it'll grow back in a few months to years. Who needs superhero movies when we have sea stars?

Now, onto the not-so-funny stuff. Sea star wasting syndrome (SSWS) has been causing quite the ruckus in the sea star community. Back in the day, it existed at a low level, but in 2013 and 2014, things took a dark turn. Sea star deaths skyrocketed like a sea star rock concert gone wrong. It turns out these ocean superheroes can handle extreme conditions like tidal waves and heat, but when a marine heatwave crashed their party, it made them more vulnerable to SSWS. Talk about a major buzzkill.

video by National Geographics

Scientists have been scratching their heads, trying to figure out the cause of this mysterious syndrome. Some blamed it on a dastardly densovirus, but guess what? Further investigations left them more confused than a pufferfish trying to do the Macarena. They just couldn't find a consistent link between the virus and the disease. It's like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube underwater—frustrating and nearly impossible.

But fear not, dear readers, for there is hope on the horizon. The staff at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, led by the legendary Tiffany Rudek, has come up with a treatment plan to combat this sea star catastrophe. They've been working tirelessly, considering the stars' immune system and tackling those mischievous bacterial factors head-on. It's like a game of tag, but instead of chasing each other around, they're tagging those bacteria with their scientific expertise. Tiffany Rudek and her team are the ultimate tag champions, showing those bacteria who's boss.

But let's not forget the true stars of this underwater comedy: the sea stars themselves. These spiny, arm-waving wonders have captured our hearts with their unique charm and the ability to grow back lost arms. It's like a cosmic game of "Now you see it, now you don't," as they amputate their own arms and proceed to regenerate them like it's no big deal. Talk about a magic trick that would leave even the greatest illusionists scratching their heads!

Scientists are closely studying these fantastic creatures, hoping to uncover the secrets behind their remarkable regenerative powers. Imagine a future where humans can regenerate lost limbs like sea stars—superheroes would have some serious competition! We might even witness a sea star-themed revolution, with sea star-inspired merchandise flooding the market. Who wouldn't want a sea star-shaped backpack or a sea star-themed superhero costume?

But let's get back to the sea star wasting syndrome (SSWS) drama. The cause of this mysterious disease has been a puzzle for researchers, with conflicting reports and theories floating around like stubborn pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that refuse to fit. Some claimed it was linked to densovirus, but subsequent investigations failed to find consistent evidence. It's like searching for buried treasure, only to end up with a handful of seashells.

As the scientific community delved deeper into the mystery, they discovered a bacterial connection. The sea star's own microbiome seemed to be playing a sneaky role, proliferating bacteria on their surfaces like a microscoplic party. These bacteria disrupted oxygen levels, causing the poor sea stars to suffocate. It's like the underwater version of a crowded nightclub with poor ventilation—no wonder the sea stars couldn't catch a breath!

To make matters worse, decaying stars became hotspots for bacterial communities, providing them with the perfect environment to thrive and wreak havoc. It's like hosting a bacteria convention, where they exchange tips on how to cause more trouble. But fear not, for the sea star superheroes are here to save the day!

The staff at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, led by the indomitable Tiffany Rudek, developed a treatment plan that would give sea stars a fighting chance against the wasting disease. With their knowledge of the stars' immune systems and their strategic approach to treating injuries and wasting symptoms, they became the ultimate sea star saviors. It's like watching a team of doctors performing lifesaving surgeries on tiny, spiky patients.

Their efforts have paid off, with 17 sea stars from different species given a new lease on life. These lucky stars owe their survival to the dedication and ingenuity of the aquarium staff. It's like a heartwarming tale of triumph in the face of adversity!

As we rap up this wild and wacky sea star adventure, let's take a moment to appreciate these enchanting creatures and the amazing work being done to protect them. Sea stars may not be fish, but they sure know how to swim their way into our hearts.

And with that, we bid farewell to the sea star chronicles, leaving you with a smile on your face and an appreciation for the whimsical wonders that inhabit our vast, mysterious world beneath the waves. Keep exploring, keep laughing, and remember—the sea star saga continues



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