Sea star disease strikes peninsula marine centers

July 28, 2014

(AP)—The disease wreaking havoc on wild sea star populations on the West Coast has struck captive collections in Washington's Olympic Peninsula.

The Peninsula Daily News reports ( ) Monday that sea stars at Port Townsend's Marine Life Center and Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles have died of the disease, known as wasting.

In Port Townsend, 12 ochre stars have died, while it eliminated a species from the tanks in Port Angeles. Both centers pipe in ocean water for their tanks. Experts believe the disease might be caused by bacteria or a virus and that it's infectious.

Caretakers at the Peninsula's marine science centers don't intend to replace sea stars until they feel more confident they can keep them alive. They also want to avoid taking breeding adults that might be needed to replenish wild colonies.

Explore further: Marine scientists track spread of sea star wasting disease

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