About the Event
What happened to sea stars?
Since 2013, millions of sea stars have died along the west coast of North America.
These sea stars started showings bizarre symptoms. They developed skin lesions, which progressed to the sea stars losing their limbs, and finally causing the disintegration of the whole animal. This outbreak confused, and worried scientists, as sea stars are a 'keystone species'. This means that a large loss in sea star numbers could cause a large change in their ecosystem as a whole.
Scientists are spending a lot of time figuring out what was causing these symptoms and how we can help fight this outbreak. They learnt that a virus is causing this disease, but they are still looking for exactly which virus it is.
In this talk, Dr. Alyssa Gehman explored the current state of sea star wasting disease in British Columbia. She discussed how the response to the disease changed along the coast, how the virus affected different sea star species and how this knowledge can help us fight this disease!
About the speaker
Dr. Alyssa Gehman applies ecological theory to host-parasite interactions to better understand the fitness effects of parasites on their hosts in a rapidly changing world. Alyssa is a Hakai Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia with Dr. Chris Harley. Alyssa received her PhD from the University of Georgia's Odum School of Ecology, an M.S. from Western Washington University and a B.A. from Colorado College.