Ian arrived in Seattle late evening on Sunday after spending a day with friends in Portland – a very interesting city to say the least! After a short flight and good sleep, Ian made his way to the University of Washington’s marine facility, located next to the School of Oceanography. Ian had interviewed for a faculty job here some time ago, so it was interesting to see the place again! There, he met with the UW head of operations and several other folks to discuss plans for the winter’s research cruise in the Puget Sound on board the Clifford Barnes.
The ship is equipped with everything we will need to accomplish the research goals, which include: 1) survey of deepwater sea star populations, 2) sediment coring to determine presence/absence of SSaDV (and a few other viruses) in strata; and 3) plankton tows to look at reservoirs of SSaDV and in urchin larvae.
After a few hours of planning, Ian then proceeded to the Seattle Aquarium to meet with collaborator Lesanna Lahner to discuss plans for a workshop in January and to synergize about upcoming research plans.
While there, Ian saw a couple of interesting sea stars which looked abnormal which has led to new ideas about how the disease actually kills the animals. Stay tuned!
The meeting has given new ideas for how we’ll tackle understanding of the virus and disease. There have been some mysteries on timing of wasting, as well as location in animals of SSaDV, so hopefully this fresh perspective will take us in a new direction.
Meanwhile reports of SSWD continue to come in from Melbourne, Australia, and in the Yellow Sea. We’re not sure whether these constitute the same disease, but it is looking possible.
Today Ian has regressed to 12 year old status and will tour the Boeing Factory before heading back home.