The December 2009 Nor’easter seems to have lowered water temperatures in the Charleston, SC area enough to cause sea stars (previously called starfish) and sea pansies to die and wash up on local beaches. Today’s Post and Courier ran a story about starfish washing up on the Isle of Palms.
Cyrus Buffum at Charleston Waterkeeper asked people on Facebook and Twitter for pictures and information on possible causes of the sea star deaths.
We found dozens of sea stars and sea pansies in the tide line on Dewees. Sea pansies are one of the three kinds of coral found in South Carolina. They grow just below the low tide line and are usually only seen on the extra large low tides, known as Spring Tides. Even then, they are hard to find and little known. Today, dead sea pansies were easy to find.
Below we have posted several pictures of dead sea stars and sea pansies. We could easily have taken pictures of many more of both.