Moment of Truth… Infected or Not Infected?

Microbial Ecology of Sea Star Wasting Disease

After events of the past week and harsh treatment (plus a lot of harsh language, too!), today we made the decision to see if our sea stars were SSaDV-positive or negative. Our objective in traveling to the Aleutians was to sample a ‘clean’ population in which neither SSWD nor SSaDV had been observed. In March we sampled over 80 stars and found that to be the case. We also didn’t observe any disease then. On this trip, Elliot and I observed at least a couple of stars which looked a bit suspect, although noted that these were all located near the boat ramp, and all appeared flattened or squished. So it’s quite possible they had been run over.

IMG_3585Elliot poses with suspect star.

Step one in our friends’ viral status is to take samples of their tube feet, which is quite simple: we use sterilized forceps to yank off 4…

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