In an earlier blog post, I’d mentioned that we had observed a large amount of dead starfish out at the Cut at Whytecliff, which was corroborated by a news story about a mass starfish die-off. Diving at Whytecliff again today, again we noticed pieces of starfish at around 10 meter depth on the right wall (although not quite as concentrated as they were at the cut last week). It appears to have hit only a couple species of starfish (Morning Sun Stars?), although I didn’t notice too many of the other usual suspects in the area apart from a healthy-looking slime star at depth.
The decomposition (disintegration?) appears to have greatly progressed into a grey-slime kind of state, although to be honest the grey-slime may be completely unrelated. I’m not entirely sure. Interestingly there appeared to have been some dead crabs in the area as well. I didn’t check to see if it was simply the case that the a couple of crabs had moulted in the decomposition pile, or if they were actually dead crabs.
A quick video clip (with horrible white-balancing) of an area saturated with the grey slime, and some photos of the carnage are below for documentation purposes. If any marine biologists happen to be reading this, I would appreciate an expert weigh-in in the comments below.