By David Scheel
The Alaska Octopus Project of Alaska Pacific University is the apparently the first to report sea star wasting syndrome in Prince William Sound, AK. The Alaska Octopus Project has surveyed octopus abundance and other marine life in Prince William Sound since 1995.
Remains of diseased sea stars were found at two locations, one in the northern Sound and one in the southern Sound. Observations at both locations were of a single species, Pycnopodia helianthoides. Other sea stars observed appeared healthy.
Sea star wasting syndrome has been killing numerous sea stars and other echinoderms along the west coast of north America. The disease has been widely reported in California, Washington and Oregon. The disease has been reported elsewhere in Alaska, including in Kachamak Bay. However, diseased sea stars in Prince William Sound were not found last year during the octopus surveys, and no reports appeared in the disease database Pacific Rocky Intertidal Monitoring, which monitors sea star wasting syndrome. The observations were reported to Pacific Rocky Intertidal Monitoring from the field on 19 June 2015. Click here for full report.