Bacterial Infection That Melts Starfish!


In 2013, when starfish died in massive numbers on the US Pacific Coast, scientists thought they had caught an infection. However, recent research reports suggest that the starfish succumbed to bacteria living within their skin that depleted oxygen from the water around them, making them suffocate. Scientists found that the microbes thrive on high levels of organic matter in warm water and create a low-oxygen environment. This causes tissue decay and a loss of limbs, which results in starfish melting into a puddle of slime!

The team arrived at this conclusion by examining and comparing different types of bacteria living on healthy starfish with those living among the animals with the disease. It is also predicted that this problem might get worse with climate change.

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