Sea Stars – Because “Starfish” Aren’t Really Fish At All

For years, scientists have been trying to get us to stop calling these wonderful creatures “starfish.” Relatives of the sand dollar, sea urchin, and sea cucumber, a better name would be “sea stars.” There are almost 2,000 species of identified sea stars in the oceans and they vary widely in color, texture, size and shape. Sea stars normally live to be anywhere between 5 to 35 years old in the wild.


Red Starfish

Sea stars are marine invertebrates and typically have a central disc and five arms; however, some species have as few as four arms and others have as many as 10, 20, or even 40. They live in all of the oceans in the world and have adapted to both very warm and very cold climates. Sea stars only live in salt water though, if you put a sea star in fresh water it would die.

The main predators of sea stars are sea otters, rays, sharks, seagulls and different types of fish. They do have some pretty cool defenses though, they use camouflage to blend in with their surroundings, they can drop an arm to escape and then grow a new one in it’s place, and they have armor which protects them from many attackers. Sea stars armor consists of a tough covering on their upper side, which is made up of plates of calcium carbonate with tiny spines on the surface.

These marine animals feed on common ocean creatures like clams, mollusks, coral, and dying fish, they have a very unusual method of eating them. They eat clams and other shelled creatures by prying the shell open and then pushing their stomach out through its mouth and into the bivalve’s shell. Once it has digested its food, the sea star will slide its stomach back into its body. This strange way of eating enables sea stars to eat prey that are larger than their mouths.

Star Fish

Star Fish

Sea stars move using hundreds of tube feet, which are located on their underside. Some sea stars, like the adult sunflower sea star, can move at an incredible one meter per minute using its 15,000 tube feet. These tube feet are also used by sea stars to hold their prey.

Did you know that sea stars don’t have blood in their bodies? Instead of blood, they use seawater to pump nutrients through their bodies via a water vascular system. The sea star pumps seawater through its sieve plate, or madreporite, into its tube feet to extend them and then muscles within the tube feet retract them.

While sea stars aren’t totally blind, they can’t see anywhere near as well as humans. They have something called an eyespot on the tip of each arm, which allows them to sense light and shapes. If you look carefully at the tip of a sea stars leg, you might notice a red or black dot – that is its eyespot.

Next time someone talks about “starfish,” you can tell them that they aren’t really “fish” at all; they don’t have gills, scales or tails like fish do. These complex and beautiful animals are considered threatened by scientists due to pollution and loss of habitat, so we need to work together to keep our oceans clean, healthy, and thriving.

Watch Sea Stars move in this timelapse video.

Stars of the Sea from Karin Brussaard on Vimeo.

Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation Appoints Three New Members to Board of Directors

WILMINGTON, Del., March 26, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — The Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation (MOSF) today announced the addition of three new members to the organization’s Board of Directors. MOSF is dedicated to the global promotion of positive marine conservation and education initiatives.


“Today’s appointments reflect MOSF’s commitment to establishing a global leadership team of skilled individuals committed to the conservation of marine resources.  These individuals will be invaluable as we advance our work to promote and support marine conservation projects and education initiatives,” said Jennifer Pitzer, Managing Director of MOSF.

Armin Afsahi, Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni and Community Engagement at the University of California, San Diego

Kim Brown , Director of The Overseas Guides Co. Ltd., former owner and founder of Smart Currency Exchange Ltd. and co-founder of Business Wand LLP

B.R. McConnon III, Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer at DDC Advocacy, a full-service public affairs advocacy firm

Armin Afsahi is Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni and Community Engagement at the University of California, San Diego. In this capacity, Afsahi oversees university-wide alumni relations; annual giving; donor development; marketing and digital outreach; corporate relations and industry engagement. Afsahi serves as chief alumni officer for the university and also leads the UCSD Alumni Association and its Board of Directors; the organization serves more than 155,000 alumni worldwide.  He has served in executive leadership positions in private ventures and on the senior advancement teams at UCSD and Georgetown University, where he worked in the areas of alumni engagement, capital campaign planning, strategic business initiatives, board management, and corporate development. Afsahi serves on the board of the Council of Advancement and Support of Education and is a partner with San Diego Social Venture Partners.

Kim Brown is a business owner, serial entrepreneur, consultant, and author. In 2004, Kim founded UK-based Smart Currency Exchange Ltd., a foreign currency exchange, which reached over £500M in turnover before she sold her share in 2011. She is also the founder and a Director of The Overseas Guides Company (OGC) Ltd., a firm which helps overseas property buyers through the step-by-step buying process in over twenty countries; OGC is strategically aligned with, the UK’s number one property website. In 2011, she co-founded Business Wand, which is the parent company of and She has authored several property guides and her work has been published in over fifty newspapers and magazines, including Overseas Living.  She also has written a book titled, “How Life Really Works.” Kim recently embarked on a new adventure; she and her family have purchased a 56′ Oyster sailboat, and are setting sail around the world with their 3 ½ year old daughter. Follow her journey at

B.R. McConnon, III is founder, Chairman, and CEO of DDC Advocacy, an international full-service advocacy firm. DDC Advocacy is the largest firm of its type in the U.S. In this role, B.R. contributes long-term strategic direction and provides counsel to DDC Advocacy clients. Under his leadership, DDC Advocacy ranked 72nd on the Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies list for 2002, and twice received the Deloitte & Touche Technology Fast 500 award for North America, including top 10 in Virginia. B.R. received his B.A. in Government and International Relations from Georgetown University. He is active in several outside business ventures and charities, including serving on the board of the J-Street Cup, a charity that he founded to raise funds for the Fisher House at Walter Reed Army Hospital, the American Heart Association, and the Bishop Ireton High School Alumni Association.

The new board members join MOSF’s existing Board of Directors:

  • Dr. Tiffany Moisan, Research Physical Scientist in the Hydrological Sciences Lab at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Rosemarie Watkins, retired, former Director of International Policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C.
  • David Pitzer, Vice President and CIO of Frederick Mutual Insurance

About the Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation

The Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation (MOSF) is a Delaware non-profit dedicated to the positive global promotion of marine conservation and education. MOSF is collaborates with individuals, organizations, and businesses that are managing successful marine conservation projects and documenting how projects are carried out and how they can be replicated. Via the Internet and by visiting coastal communities, MOSF is building global relationships and a grassroots network of people who are committed sharing ideas to keep our oceans healthy.

Media Contact: Jennifer Pitzer, Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation

See the actual press release online.

SOURCE Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation

Win a new MacBook Pro with a Retina display and get some MOSF swag along the way!

 UPDATE: 12/12/2014 – We are getting much closer to our goal of 1,000 members!  Don’t miss out on your chance to get this Mac Book Pro for as little as a $5 annual membership.


What’s better than having a MacBook Pro with a Retina display, the world’s most powerful portable notebook option for those that like to take their work (or play) with them wherever the go? How about winning a MacBook Pro with Retina display from The Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation (MOSF)?  You can enter to get one by signing up to become a member of MOSF.

All you have to do to win a free MacBook Pro with a Retina display is head over to our membership page, sign up, like us on Facebook, and cross your fingers. If you want to get that MacBook faster, you can do so by sharing the link on Twitter, Facebook and any other social media sites.  Once MOSF has reached 1,000 members, we will draw the winner.

What are you waiting for?



To win, you must have an MOSF membership on the day of the drawing and are following us on Twitter @mosfoundation, Facebook or Google+.  Even the $5 annual membership will do!

Tweet or post about us, up to once a day, for extra entries in the contest!