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Sea stars in Southern California are dying in droves from mysterious disease




A healthy sea star clings to the intertidal zone of Crystal Cove State Park.
A healthy sea star clings to the intertidal zone of Crystal Cove State Park.
Jed Kim
A healthy sea star clings to the intertidal zone of Crystal Cove State Park.
Few sea stars remain at tide pools in Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach. The site recently had more than a hundred sea stars, but most have been killed by wasting disease.
Jed Kim
A healthy sea star clings to the intertidal zone of Crystal Cove State Park.
Faye Creedon, an employee of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, measures marine organisms in the intertidal zone of Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach.
Jed Kim
A healthy sea star clings to the intertidal zone of Crystal Cove State Park.
Eric Fan, a graduate student at CSU Fullerton, counts mussels at Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach.
Jed Kim
A healthy sea star clings to the intertidal zone of Crystal Cove State Park.
Jayson Smith is an assistant professor at Cal Poly Pomona. He is a principle investigator on a long-running project to monitor marine species at sites in Southern California.
Jed Kim
A healthy sea star clings to the intertidal zone of Crystal Cove State Park.
Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach
Jed Kim/KPCC


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A mysterious disease is wiping out populations of sea stars, also known as starfish, up and down the West Coast. It was first spotted in Washington State and Canada, and has spread to Southern California.

It's a problem we've talked about on this show before, but now KPCC's Jed Kim reports on the latest from the hunt to figure out what's causing it.