Thursday March 16, 2023

Washington Post

Growing a yard across and bearing two dozen limbs, the sunflower sea star prowls the deep, eating snails, abalones and urchins. Along the Pacific Coast, this multicolored monster is a top predator.

Or at least it was.

The National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency tasked with protecting marine life, announced Wednesday that it is proposing to list the sunflower sea star as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, a status that suggests this crucial ocean species is only steps away from extinction.

Over the past decade, a mysterious disease has devastated the starfish’s population. The decline is not only a disaster for the sea stars. Their disappearance also threatens to worsen the effects of climate change by degrading underwater kelp forests that suck up carbon dioxide.

Read more >

Link copied successfully