Citlalli Aquino, an intern in the RC lab, won a grant from The Friends of the Seymour Center for her independent research proposal on sea star wasting disease. She is currently testing how salinity influences the appearance of sea star wasting syndrome, and she is also testing whether the disease spreads through the water. Very little is known about wasting disease, what causes it, and what conditions make it worse. Citlalli wants to better understand this disease, and by demonstrating whether the illness is water borne, she hopes that it will become easier for others to keep captive sea stars healthy.
Currently, Citlalli is an undergraduate junior majoring in marine biology at UCSC. She first became involved with the RC Lab and sea star wasting disease due to her interest in marine ecology and trophic cascades. The project is going well, and she’s excited to share her findings with other researchers. Citlalli plans to apply to graduate schools in the fall and hopes to continue doing similar work in marine ecology.