"Anybody who sees something, any observation of nature could be important," Johnson said. "It's kind of like Facebook for nature."
"Everyday people, amateur observations are really important," she said.
Starfish are known to regenerate their limbs, but this epidemic is different. As VICE reporter Nathaniel Rich described, the starfish "weren't merely shedding their arms. They were tearing them off. They were tearing them off the way a man, lacking access to a sharp tool, might tear off one of his own arms: by using one arm to wrench the other out of its socket."
Melissa Miner, a marine researcher at the University of California at Santa Cruz told Yahoo Travel that there has been some evidence of recovery, but the problem is far from over.