Cold snap may have killed dozens of starfish, Panama City News Herald, February 3, 2011:
The cold weather is likely responsible for the deaths of several dozen starfish that washed up late last month on the coast at St. Andrews State Park near the jetties, officials said. ...
Christopher Pomory, an associate professor of biology with the University of West Florida, said the deaths were most likely the cold weather that killed the starfish. ...
He added the cause of the deaths also could be that the starfish were all born at the same time, shared the same life cycle and reached the end of their life cycle together, irregardless of the cold weather. The chances that the oil gusher had anything to do with the dead critters were “very, very slim,” Pomory said.
Representatives with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said they could not comment on how the starfish died because biologists had not investigated. “Individuals may have contacted the news media about dead starfish, but no one filed a report on the Fish Kill Hotline,” the FWC said in a statement. “Starfish are invertebrates and degrade fairly quickly. There’s really not a way days after the fact to determine why or how they died.”
After initially speaking with a News Herald reporter, the Department of Environmental Protection retracted their representative’s statements, saying in an e-mail the department was “not the authority on this issue and we cannot speculate on the cause of the dead starfish.”