Catastrophic Decline of a Top Carnivore in the Gulf of California Rocky Intertidal Zone

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Science  28 May 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4549, pp. 989-991
DOI: 10.1126/science.216.4549.989


The predatory sun star, Heliaster kubiniji, once the commonest rocky intertidal asteroid of the Gulf of California, has been rare throughout this region since summer 1978 when a devastating disease outbreak occurred. This unprecedented phenomenon and several other exceptional ecological events in marine communities of the northeastern Pacific appear to be linked to large-scale climatic changes that occurred during 1977 and 1978. Implications of the decline in Heliaster kubiniji are discussed.

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