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Starfish Babies Are Back In Full Force On The West Coast After Most Of The Species Died

Now is a good time to go check out some tide pools.

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The stars "developed twisted arms, then showed deflation and lesions, and eventually lost arms and the ability to grip onto the substrate before finally disintegrating completely," according to a statement from Oregon State University.

The disease eventually reduced the overall sea star population by 63-84%, while one species was reduced by 80-99%.

Scientists believe the disease has a "multi-faceted cause," with ocean acidification one theory experts are exploring.

But researchers announced this weej that baby stars from Alaska to Baja California are now not just being born, but are suddenly thriving at an "unprecedented" level.

"They just had an extraordinary survival rate into the juvenile stage," the study's lead author Bruce Menge said. "Whether they can make it into adulthood and replenish the population without succumbing to sea star wasting disease is the big question."

The researchers believe the changes could have a huge impact on the region as a whole.

"The longer-term ecological consequences of this [disease] event could include wholesale elimination of many low zone species and a complete change in the zonation patterns of rocky intertidal communities along the West Coast of North America," the OSU team said.

Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Stephanie McNeal at stephanie.mcneal@buzzfeed.com.

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