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As sea stars vanish from Marin beaches, Romberg scientists search for answers

There was once a galaxy of thousands of tiny sea stars strewn over the rocky beaches of West Marin. But over a period of six years, Leptasterias pusilla, or the six-rayed sea star, vanished from Marin County beaches — and scientists are trying to find out why. Biologists at the Estuary & Ocean Science Center at the Romberg Tiburon Campus recently published a research paper looking at the disappearance of this tiny sea star, an important player in the marine ecosystem. Scientists suspect genetics and disease played a role. But the death of the tiny stars might also signal disturbing changes in the bay environment. (Todd Fitzgerald photo / Creative Commons)

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