Sea stars

An Oct. 10 talk in Astoria will examine the status of local sea stars, which were impacted by a major die-off earlier this decade.

ASTORIA — Sea Star Wasting Syndrome (SSWS) has been recognized as one of the most widespread disease outbreaks documented in the ocean to date, with over 20 species of sea stars affected along the West Coast.

Oregon State University graduate student Silke Bachhuber will provide an update on the current status of sea stars in the rocky intertidal on the Pacific Northwest coast, discuss the natural history of the iconic ochre star, Pisaster ochraceus, and share ongoing scientific research into the ecological underpinnings of disease impacts.

The 7 p.m. talk is set for Oct. 10 at the Fort George Lovell Showroom, 1483 Duane Street, Astoria. This free event is open to the public. Doors open at 6 p.m. to purchase dinner or beverages at the Fort George Brewery before the event. For more information, call the park at 503-861-2471 or check out www.nps.gov/lewi or Lewis and Clark National Historical Park on Facebook.

Bachhuber works in the Menge-Lubchenco Laboratory at OSU. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she worked on a number of projects monitoring and investigating the effects of ocean acidification on the California coast. Her current work in Oregon and California is focused on understanding the role of two intertidal predators, the common dogwhelk, Nucella ostrina, and the six-armed sea star, Leptasterias spp., in influencing the change in rocky intertidal ecosystems after the removal of ochre stars, Pisaster ochraceus, due to Sea Star Wasting Syndrome. The Menge-Lubchenco lab has been tracking the prevalence of the disease in Oregon since 2014 as well as the effects of Pisaster on the structure of intertidal communities.

Nature Matters, a lively conversation about the intersection of nature and culture, takes place on the second Thursday of each month from October through May. Nature Matters is hosted by Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in partnership with the North Coast Watershed Association, the Lewis & Clark National Park Association, and the Fort George Brewery + Public House. Special thanks to the Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve for co-hosting this event.

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