Sand Dollars

When we think of sand dollars, we usually think a white hard circular shape. This is the skeleton of a sand dollar, bleached white by the sun. While they are alive, sand dollars are darker in color and have small spines/tough hairs all over their bodies that move food, generally algae, detritus and other similar things to their mouths. They have only a few predators, but one is the sunflower starfish. Remembering back to last summer, but continuing through the year and still to the present is the sea star wasting disease. All along the west coast and a bit on the east, starfish have noticeably been disappearing, and where they once blanketed the rocks in a range of purples and oranges, there are just barnacles and empty rock. With the great decrease in predators, it seems that one reason there are so many sand dollars, could be because there just aren’t as many sea stars to prey on them? This is an example of how predators and prey maintain a balance, and how when one starts to vanish the balance is disrupted.

Here are a few photos by Emma E. near Port Townsend Emma E 2 Emma E

Categories Science

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