One of the most unusual/interesting findings from the dock was the massive sea star and the fair-to-poor condition of the green crab. Long Island is a peculiar geographic place to be during the summer in the age of Global Warming. Over the last decade more and more tropical fish have been riding further north on the Gulf Stream since the waters have been gradually warming. One theory is that along with these new, brightly colored and exotic fish, new virulent diseases have arrived in Long Island waters.
These unstudied and largely unknown diseases are threatening the endemic species and likely causing immune suppression and sickness in sea stars and green crabs (which technically are an invasive species, but they’ve been here so long we consider them family). A common symptom of the scary disease is claw deformation and “erosion.” Sea stars have been simply dying out to the point where they are extremely rare. Last year at this time sea stars were decently abundant in the bays and in the Long Island intertidal zone. This year they are almost nonexistent.
I wonder how the other marine life are taking it, as for myself, I got a small sea star tattoo on my wrist in attempt to deal with their sudden loss. Well, that and I have a keen appreciation for the radially symmetric keystone predator 😉