Ochre Star


The intertidal region on the West coast of Vancouver Island British Columbia is a rich environment that supports a diversity of species.  Sea stars are beautiful and vibrant animals that play an important role in the intertidal ecolsystem. Recently the iconic sea stars have been suffering mass mortality events all along the Northeast Pacific coast; up to 20 different species of sea stars have been afffected by sea star wasting syndrome (SSWS).  The disease has recently been linked to a virus and symptoms include lesions, limb autotomy, loss of turgor, and eventually death by rapid dissue disintigration.  The rapid change in the ecological make up of the intertidal could have grave reprocussions.  

Our Surveys

The goal of this project is to survey the sea star populations at four locations once a month at low tide.  This will help us get an idea of the spread of the disease and the population demographics within the sites. Data will be collected on number, size, and disease progression for each sea star found in the designated area.

Our methods are based on those from the Pacific Rocky Intertidal Monitoring Lab out of UCSC, and our data will contribute to their larger project.   

Download the project report Sea Star Wasting Disease 2015 Report.


Report your sightings with the iNaturalist App!

SIMRS is always looking to enhance the scope and quality of our research and, to this end, we are looking to launch a new electronic reporting system for wildlife monitoring in Clayoquot Sound in Spring 2017. Specifically, we have chosen to utilize iNaturalist- a wildlife sightings forum used worldwide by both professional and amateur naturalists. iNaturalist consists of both a website and a mobile or tablet based application, allowing for easy reporting of observations. We hope that an electronic system will make reporting observations easier and quicker, and so will increase the quantity and quality of data we receive.

If you or your company would like to participate in this program or volunteer please email: strawberryislemarineresearch@gmail.com

Volunteer with SIMRS

Image Credit: Kyler Vos Photography (top), Jessica Edwards (bottom)