Ben Miner picks his way over slick cobble on the shore of Bellingham Bay, in northwestern Washington. He has brought me to his study site here to show me something that has become increasingly rare on the west coast of North America: a healthy community of sea stars.
He stops now and again to point them out, clustered among the rocks or in skirts of algae. They are all Pisaster ochraceus, the ochre star, and colored a deep, hale purple. “No signs of wasting,” he says. “Yet.”