Saturday, July 12, 2014


JULY 11 2014
On a kayak trip to South Puget Sound we circumnavigated Hope Island State Park and explored about 1/2 mile up the south side of Hammersley Inlet looking for sea stars  This are was home to a large healthy community of various species of sea stars just last year.  Purple, Mottled, Giant Pink, Leather and Sunflower Stars were abundant in the intertidal and subtidal.  Sea Star Wasting Syndrome has hit this area hard.  While we would expect to see 100's of sea stars on a trip like this in the passed but we almost came up empty this trip.  In all we observed at total of 2 Leather Stars, 1 Mottled Star, 3 Giant Pink Stars, and 1 small Sunflower Star.  Water visibility was about five feet so we were able to check both the exposed shore at the minus 2.8 ft. low tide and the subtidal down to about 3 feet..  All the stars seen were in the subtidal except for the small  Sunflower Star.  All the stars appeared to be healthy but it was difficult to know because of the visibility in the water.  Some stars were likely missed due to kelp coverage in many areas, but large boulders that normally are sea star rich were totally without stars.  If our survey is even close to accurate it would mean that this area has lost over 99% of the past sea star population in these species.

The images below show sea stars in the area from previous years trips and images from the July 11 2014 trip.

Giant Pink Pisaster 2001

Mottled and Purple Stars 2001

Mottled Stars 2001

Purple Stars 2001
Hammersley Inlet 2014

Hammersley Inlet 2014

Plumose Anemones on log 2014

Hammersley Inlet 2014

Hope Island SP  2014

Raccoon Hope Island 2014

Mottled Star 2014

Gretchen Hope Island 2014

Kelp cover Hope Island 2014

Red Rock Crab dug up by Raccoon 2014

Crab being eaten by anemone

Mussels on downed tree branch 2014

Large mussel and barnacle clump on downed tree...sea star food  2014

Bering Hermit Crab in broken Moon Snail shell 2014 Hope Is.

Only Sunflower Star found on kayak trip 2014

Strange clam shell with partial Moon Snail drill hole  2014

Gretchen and commercial clam diggers 2014

1 comment:

  1. This brings back a lot of memories out of storage for me. I really love the pictures of hope-island here! It looks like you guys picked a great sunny day in Adelaide to head out for a kayaking trip!