Phoenixes!

Some good news for a change. After concern that we’d lost all the stars in transit, somehow a few have survived the absolutely abhorrent conditions and are crawling in our tanks! It’s a miracle and shows just how robust these animals can be. And I think we can now exclude FedEx as the cause of wasting disease…

Upon coming into the lab this morning, Elliot was treated to the sight of not just a couple but all the sea stars in one of our tanks up on the walls – a good sign that they are still alive (actually, the only sign they are still alive!). Inspection of our larger tank also revealed that about half of our Evasterias had also survived – in fact, one or two looked downright healthy, amazing given their rough travel. After Jacob quickly performed a 40% water change, we moved the live stars to fresh artificial seawater, where they now reside. Unfortunately, we did lose all our Pycnopodia. A collaborator will, however, be sending more hopefully from the Puget Sound next week.

FullSizeRender16 Live sea stars in our tank – a pleasant surprise! They’re not totally healthy though, since they are exhibiting stress behavior, including arm curling. We tried to feed them this evening and a couple took the bait, but most did not.

FullSizeRender15 Surviving Evasterias – really incredible they’re still with us

To encourage the sea stars to get better, we put up a couple of decorations to make them feel at home…

FullSizeRender12 Sea stars are notoriously patriotic.

So let’s meet a couple of our new team members as they recover in the ward.

FullSizeRender13 Meet Ru – the largest and healthiest looking Evasterias troscheli.

FullSizeRender11 These two will be trouble – on the left is Alaska and on the right, Adore.

FullSizeRender14 This is Ben DeLa, and in the background, Joclyn.

So, looks like all is not completely lost. It’s going to take some time to get these stars back up to health, but I hope we manage to do so! For the sadly deceased sea stars, Elliot and Ian biopsied them this afternoon; even though they are probably not good any more for bacterial work, we still can learn much about their genetic diversity and whether or not SSaDV was in fact present on Unalaska at the moment.

FullSizeRender17 The carcass of one of our Pycnopodia… poor thing.

Finally, after months of searching high and low, even on the west coast, Ian managed to procure a few bottles of Rogue’s Wasted Sea Star Purple Pale Ale. We’d been hearing about this brew for some time, so its good to finally get our hands on some!! Needless to say after the hassles of this week one of these might disappear this evening (responsibly, of course).

IMG_3680 Rogue Wasted Sea Star Purple Pale Ale

Stay tuned for updates on the stars…


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