Target: President Obama
Goal: Delegate a team of researchers dedicated to solving the mystery of the epidemic killing starfish in the Pacific Ocean
Since June 2013, millions of starfish off the coasts of California, Washington, and Oregon have mysteriously died off as a result of a virus called sea star wasting syndrome. This syndrome works by slowly detaching the starfish’s limbs from its body, ultimately resulting in a mutilated carcass that winds up on the ocean shore.
The warmer ocean temperatures that have resulted due to the influx of greenhouse gases being emitted into the air give the bacteria the conditions it needs to spread like wildfire. According to an article in the Daily Mail, a team of researchers that has been monitoring starfish species off the coasts of the San Juan Islands near Washington claim that over 40 percent of starfish are showing signs of the disease, and this number will only increase as the summer months unfold.
Starfish are keystone species, meaning they hold an important position in the ecosystems in which they inhabit. Starfish represent a vital predator in the intertidal zones, munching on mussels and other shellfish. If these species are allowed to grow without regulation by the starfish, unprecedented consequences could occur. Scientists are unsure as to what exactly will happen, but it is for certain that the ecosystem will change drastically, and not necessarily for the better.
This disease is not a future threat. At this moment, hundreds of starfish continue to suffer from this virus or become newly infected with it. The time is now for us to act. Help us encourage President Obama to make saving the starfish a priority, like he has recently done with the honeybee.
Dear President Obama,
As you are reading this petition, thousands of starfish continue to die from a mysterious ailment called sea star wasting syndrome. This disease viciously attacks starfish, tearing off their limbs until only a shriveled up carcass remains.
Just like the honeybees you have recently made a priority, starfish too are an important species to keep around. The starfish are a valuable keystone species and without them, the species that the starfish preys upon will grow out of control, causing unforeseen consequences for various intertidal zone ecosystems in Washington, California, and Oregon.
These starfish need your hasty action. According to a team of scientists doing research on this disease off the coast of Washington, over 40 percent of the starfish seen are infected, and this number will only increase as the summer goes on. Please give the starfish a fighting chance at survival, and assign a team of researchers to help the all ready established research teams come up with a possible cure.
[Your Name Here]