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Kristina Timmerman


We were interested in the distance of movement among cushion sea stars (Oreaster reticulatus) located in Graham’s Harbor, San Salvador, Bahamas. We hypothesized that there is a difference in distance moved when the starfish are under disturbed conditions as compared to undisturbed conditions. Based on our hypothesis, we predicted that the starfish move further when disturbed in comparison to when they have not been disturbed. The data was collected through six trials, over the course of three days (9-11 March, 2022). For the disturbed environment, we collected the starfish and placed them in a central location. From there, we measured the distance moved after one hour. For the undisturbed environment, we found the starfish in their original location, marked the location, and measured the distance moved after one hour. Distance moved was significantly different (t = 3.46, df = 11, p=0.005) between disturbed (M = 22.89, SD = 24.95) and undisturbed (M = 0.328, SD = 0.979). Statistical analysis suggests that we accept our hypothesis. These results suggest that sea stars have the ability to determine a change in their environment. Overall, this research contributes to the general knowledge regarding the behavior of cushion sea stars, as well as individual preferences of the sea stars.