Wednesday, May 6, 2015


A survey was done on May 5th 2015 at Constellation Marine Reserve in West Seattle for Pisaster o. (Purple Star).  The survey was restricted to the breakwater just south of the park boundary and included only the south side of the breakwater.  A check of the pipeline rip-rap at the park's south boundary was also done at the minus 1ft. tide level.  On the breakwater 38 Pisaster o. were counted and all appeared healthy.  Although actual measurements were not taken all of the sea stars appeared to be approximately the same size (size of a normal human hand), so may have been all from the same age class.  Two Pisaster o. were observed on the pipeline riprap and both appeared healthy and the same size as the ones on the breakwater.
A report by divers (names not available) was forwarded to me by Laura James (a professional diver, videographer and photographer) stated that they had observed 100 or so Pisaster o. in deeper water on the pipeline over the last few weeks and they appeared to be healthy and adult size.
This is good news for Constellation Marine Reserve as it is the fist time in 2 years that a survey has been completed without finding evidence of SSWD in Pisaster o.  observed.  This summer will tell us more about the state of the Purple Stars at CMR....hopefully we will see an increase in healthy stars......fingers crossed.
Additionally there were 15 Keyhole Limpets seen on the south side of the breakwater which is a rather high number as per my recollection from past years.  These limpets may be benefiting from the low number of the Purple Stars which are a predator of the limpets. 

Pisaster o.

South side of breakwater CMR area

Keyhole Limpets on breakwater

Rip-Rap on pipeline CMR   minus 1ft. tide

Spring Showers over Elliott Bay


  1. I was out at low tide a couple of days ago, in Boundary Bay. I found a fair number of immature sea stars, probably the mottled star, all associated with barnacles. About one third of them had up-curled arm tips, although none were grossly deformed.

    1. Hi,
      Interesting....any signs of wasting other than curled up arms? I haven't seen any mottled stars lately at Constellation but saw lots of juveniles last winter....most healthy. Generally I only see the small juvenile stars in winter as they hide under rocks in Spring and Summer and I don't do any rock turning.
      I did a count at Constellation May 7th ( the entire park down to minus 1.5 Ft.) and found 63 healthy and 5 with low level of SSWD - all Purple stars Pisaster o. Size 4" to 12" est. ( I don't take actual measurements)
      I saw no other sea star species.