Sea star wasting disease demography and etiology in the brooding sea star Leptasterias spp.

Autoři: Noah Jaffe aff001;  Renate Eberl aff001;  Jamie Bucholz aff001;  C. Sarah Cohen aff001
Působiště autorů: Estuary and Ocean Science Center, Biology Department, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, United States of America aff001;  Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, California, United States of America aff002;  University of Wisconsin-River Falls, River Falls, Wisconsin, United States of America aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225248


Sea star wasting disease (SSWD) describes a suite of disease signs believed to have led to catastrophic die-offs in many asteroid species, beginning in 2013. While most studies have focused on large, easily visible sea stars with widely-dispersing larvae, less information is available on the effect of this disease outbreak on smaller sea star species, such as the six-armed sea star Leptasterias spp. Unlike many larger sea stars, Leptasterias brood non-feeding young instead of broadcast-spawning planktonic larvae. Limited dispersal and thus limited gene flow may make these sea stars more vulnerable to local selective pressures, such as disease outbreaks. Here, we examined Leptasterias populations at sites along the California coast and documented abundance changes coincident with recent Pacific coast SSWD in 2014. Detection of Leptasterias in central California declined, and Leptasterias were not detected at multiple sites clustered around the San Francisco Bay outflow in the most recent surveys. Additionally, we categorized disease signs in Leptasterias in the field and laboratory, which mirrored those seen in larger sea stars in both settings. Finally, we found that magnesium chloride (MgCl2) slowed the progression of physical deterioration related to SSWD when applied to sea stars in the laboratory, suggesting that MgCl2 may prolong the survival of diseased individuals.

Klíčová slova:

California – Cryptic speciation – Epidemiology – Invertebrates – Magnesium chloride – Population density – Salinity – Starfish


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