Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2017


Sea Star Wasting Disease (SSWD) broke out along the west coast of North America in 2013 and SSWD is arguably one of the largest recorded marine life epizootic outbreaks to date. Individuals affected by the disease rarely recover and large mortality events of more than 20 different species of sea stars on the west coast of North America are being observed. This project’s goal was to implement a citizen science project in Ketchikan, AK to establish continual and long-term data collection for sea stars to monitor disease dynamics and fill data gaps that exist in southeast Alaska. This project focused on the intertidal and shallow subtidal zones at a site named Mountain Point in Ketchikan, AK. Methodology included semi-permanent survey transects that accessed sea star diversity, disease presence, and radii sizes. The data collection from the study found a healthy intertidal sea star density of 2.47 individuals/m2 and that only a very small percentage (< 1%) of Mountain Point’s sea stars show signs of disease. However, population dynamics of P. ochraceus and P. helianthoides lead to concerns for healthy reproductive adult populations for these species. The project was successful in recruiting local diver citizen scientists that wish to continue data collection and input in years to come.


Department: MBE

MPS Track: TME


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