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A large number of starfish along the West Coast have been stricken with a disease that causes the creatures to lose their arms and disintegrate.  Marine and environmental scientists from across the state, including U-C Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Lab, are documenting incidents of “sea star wasting disease” from Alaska to Southern California.  In one case,  95 percent of a tide pool sea star population was killed.   While a localized outbreak occurred in 1983-84 in Southern California, the disease has never been as widespread as researchers are finding now.

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