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From the far reaches of Alaskan water to the shores of Southern California, Sea Star Wasting Syndrome has devastated the populations of many species of Sea Stars. One of the most iconic inhabitants of the nearshore, Pisaster ochraceus or the Ochre star has long been known not only as a Keystone Species, necessary for helping maintain healthy biodiversity, but the ultimate tide pool ambassador, a colorful character introducing people of all ages to our marine ecosystem and organically connecting us via the intertidal zone, feeding our curiosity, tempting us to explore beyond the proverbial line in the sand that separates land and sea.  Three years ago we took these brilliant animals for granted, now seeing a single purple star at some sites would be cause for celebration.  Scientists have isolated a virus that is thought to be responsible and combined with warmer water conditions, a one-two punch spelling the demise of this once plentiful creature. With @cristinamittermeier #starfish #nature #love #photooftheday #picoftheday #smile #gratitude #climatechange #theblob #picoftheday @natgeo  @natgeocreative @sea_legacy @seacam.  Thanks @diverlaura. Taken by paulnicklen on Tuesday 27. October 2015

From the far reaches of Alaskan water to the shores of Southern California, Sea Star Wasting Syndrome has devastated the populations of many species of Sea Stars. One of the most iconic inhabitants of the nearshore, Pisaster ochraceus or the Ochre star has long been known not only as a Keystone Species, necessary for helping maintain healthy biodiversity, but the ultimate tide pool ambassador, a colorful character introducing people of all ages to our marine ecosystem and organically connecting us via the intertidal zone, feeding our curiosity, tempting us to explore beyond the proverbial line in the sand that separates land and sea. Three years ago we took these brilliant animals for granted, now seeing a single purple star at some sites would be cause for celebration. Scientists have isolated a virus that is thought to be responsible and combined with warmer water conditions, a one-two punch spelling the demise of this once plentiful creature. With @cristinamittermeier #starfish #nature #love #photooftheday #picoftheday #smile #gratitude #climatechange #theblob #picoftheday @natgeo @natgeocreative @sea_legacy @seacam. Thanks @diverlaura

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