Scientist searching for asterina starfish information and/or samples

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sgkennedy

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Hey All,

This post is essentially a duplicate of my "new member" post using a different header to try and attract the attention of folks with asterina knowledge.

My name is Scott and I joined reef2reef a few minutes ago. I've had a saltwater tank for 10 years and enjoy the hobby immensely. My day job is Professor of Genetics at a snooty ivy league medical school based in Cambridge/Boston Massachusetts. This day job is actually why I decided to join reef2reef. A few months ago I had a single asterina starfish show up in my tank. It disappeared the next day and I haven't seen any since. This started me reading about these amazing creatures. As most of you probably know, some species of the genus asteroideans can divide asexually by fissiparity, which just means they rip themselves in half (or drop a leg) and then the pieces regenerate full starfish. Truly remarkable. I am wondering if these asterina might make a useful model system for molecular biologists like me to learn how cells and tissues regenerate. The reason I think this is worth doing is that understanding more about how tissues regenerate may have major implications for how we treat people suffering from a variety of injuries and diseases. Anyways, to date there has been very little research done on the asterina species that divide by fissiparity, so you guys are the world's experts. I would love to hear what you know about them. These are the traits that would make a species the perfect model system for me and others; small as possible, easy and cheap to feed, tolerant of low quality water, fast asexual growth, and capable of sexual reproduction (with short life-cycle). If you know anything about asterina, or have run across asterina with some or all of the above qualities, please do let me know. Most importantly, I am curious if anybody has an active asterina infection (and lives near Boston) as I would love to get samples to start my own cultures. Or maybe I could arrange a fed-ex pickup, if you don't live in the Boston area. In the interest of full disclosure, if you do end up giving/sending me your contaminating asterina, some will likely give their lives for science and the study of tissue regeneration. So only respond, if you are ok with this. I certainly understand if you aren't. Finally, if you know of somebody that has had, or is having, an asterina infection...maybe direct them to this post. Hope all is well and I look forward to being part of reef2reef. Scott.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Welcome to reef2reef!
following along to see what the team has to say about asterinas, 80% of posters would consider them a bad hitchhiker that seems a fair ratio based on posts online.

I used to get free ones from the lfs and put into pico reefs because they were so tough/able to tolerate large water changes etc and were perfectly scaled for the system layout. seemed harmless to me always. Id still take some free ones today if avail.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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this is the only species I expect to see in halves and quarters vs full symmetrical appendages in place.

any other common reef tank star if we random sample a hundred of them, they come complete.

but asterinas...the complete ones are rare. if they're always popping up mid regeneration, that is a very busy model going on
 
RAP Orlando

Rouxdog

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i had about 500 on my glass this morning before the light would turn on. Could probably send you some but I am in Louisiana so you might prefer some closer
 
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sgkennedy

sgkennedy

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i had about 500 on my glass this morning before the light would turn on. Could probably send you some but I am in Louisiana so you might prefer some closer
Hey. I'm spending the holiday break setting up a bunch of tanks to take the asterina. Was thinking of sending generous folks like you a pre-payed Fed Ex package (with return label and baggies inside) and then arranging a pickup at your place for the next day. Was also thinking of waiting until early January to arrange the package as this will give me time to get supplies. Also, we will want a private way to exchange address info. You know how to do something like this on this site? Hope all is well. Scott.
 

Paul B

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I am in Long Island NY and also have hundreds of them but I wouldn't call it an infection because I kind of like them. I may collect a bunch and put them in en experimental tank to raise them. :p
 
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