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Sunflower Sea Star Recovery w/ Ashley Kidd
September 20, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
It was the epidemic no one ever saw. From 2013- 2018, ninety-five percent of sunflower sea stars disappeared off the west coast of North America from a Sea Star Wasting Syndrome. The loss of this keystone predator, disrupted the ecological balance within kelp forests, causing many to shift to urchin barrens. Similar to the southern sea otter, sunflower sea stars are woven into the fabric of the kelp forests. This talk will highlight partners of the Pycnopodia Recovery Working Group, who are working towards a sustainable way to return sunflower sea stars to their native kelp ecosystems.
Speaker Bio: Ashley Kidd
Ashley Kidd is the conservation aquaculture program manager at the Sunflower Star Laboratory in Monterey, California. With 12 years experience as a professional aquarist in public aquaria, she draws upon her industry knowledge of animal husbandry & welfare, marine invertebrate conservation and scientific diving, to contribute to part of the roadmap for sunflower star restoration pertaining to conservation aquaculture. Ashley moved to Southern California in the fall of 2013, and volunteered with the Channel Islands National Park, right as sea star wasting syndrome was spreading and caused the extirpation of the sunflower sea star, an impressive keystone predator, from California waters.