Presenter

Nina Finley

Abstract

Sea Star Wasting Disease (SSWD), the largest wildlife epizootic ever recorded, has killed millions of sea stars since June 2013. Evidence points to a viral infectious agent, Sea Star-Associated Densovirus, and multiple environmental factors are probably involved. This study evaluated the effect of ocean acidification (OA) on the progression of SSWD in four native Puget Sound species. Thirty-five individuals were maintained in ambient pH of Elliot Bay (pH = 7.80 to 8.00) or lowered pH predicted for 2100 (pH = 7.40 to 7.60). Daily visual grading and computed tomography (CT) were used to quantify the effects of OA on sea star health and ossicle density. Our results show that OA conditions accelerate SSWD in mottled sea stars during the first 25 days of exposure. Preliminary analysis indicates that OA decreases ossicle density, suggesting a trade-off between skeletal maintenance and immune function serves to amplify SSWD in OA conditions.

Faculty Sponsor

Paul Yancey

Sponsor Department/Programs

Biology

Tracks

Secrets of the Deep

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Location

Science 100

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Research Funding Source or OCS Program

NOAA Hollings Scholarship

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Is Ocean Acidification Melting Sea Stars? The Effect of Lowered pH and Wasting Disease on Nearshore Asteroid Health

Science 100

Sea Star Wasting Disease (SSWD), the largest wildlife epizootic ever recorded, has killed millions of sea stars since June 2013. Evidence points to a viral infectious agent, Sea Star-Associated Densovirus, and multiple environmental factors are probably involved. This study evaluated the effect of ocean acidification (OA) on the progression of SSWD in four native Puget Sound species. Thirty-five individuals were maintained in ambient pH of Elliot Bay (pH = 7.80 to 8.00) or lowered pH predicted for 2100 (pH = 7.40 to 7.60). Daily visual grading and computed tomography (CT) were used to quantify the effects of OA on sea star health and ossicle density. Our results show that OA conditions accelerate SSWD in mottled sea stars during the first 25 days of exposure. Preliminary analysis indicates that OA decreases ossicle density, suggesting a trade-off between skeletal maintenance and immune function serves to amplify SSWD in OA conditions.

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