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Posts Tagged ‘ecosystems’

Animal diseases increasingly plague the oceans

February 21, 2012 Comments off

rawstory.com

whale.afp

VANCOUVER — When dead sea mammals started washing ashore on Canada’s west coast in greater numbers, marine biologist Andrew Trites was distressed to find that domestic animal diseases were killing them.

Around the world, seals, otters and other species are increasingly infected by parasites and other diseases long common in goats, cows, cats and dogs, marine mammal experts told a major science conference.

The diseases also increasingly threaten people who use the oceans for recreation, work or a source of seafood, scientists told reporters at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held this year in this western Canadian city.

The symposium “Swimming in Sick Seas” was one of many sessions at the meeting that drew a bleak picture of the state of

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Loss of top animal predators has massive ecological effects

July 23, 2011 Comments off

terradaily


When sea otters, which feed on sea urchins, were hunted to extinction in some coastal areas of the Pacific Ocean, sea urchins increased in abundance and decimated underwater kelp forests, also affecting other species that inhabit the kelp. Credit: Matt Knoth.

“Trophic Downgrading of Planet Earth,” a review paper that will be published on July 15, 2011, in the journal Science, concludes that the decline of large predators and herbivores in all regions of the world is causing substantial changes to Earth’s terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems.

The paper claims that the loss of apex consumers from ecosystems “may be humankind’s most pervasive influence on nature.” The research was funded primarily by the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The paper is co-authored by the Institute’s executive director, Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch, and the lead author is Dr. James A. Estes, professor of ecology and evolution at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

The review, conducted by an international team of 24 scientists, illuminates the Read more…

Global warming could increase diseases originating from water sources

February 20, 2011 Comments off

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Climate change could increase exposure to water-borne diseases originating in oceans, lakes and coastal ecosystems, and the impact could be felt within 10 years, US scientists told a conference in Washington on Saturday.

Several studies have shown that shifts brought about by climate change make ocean and freshwater environments more susceptible to toxic algae blooms and allow harmful microbes and bacteria to proliferate, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

In one study, NOAA scientists modeled future ocean and weather patterns to predict the effect on blooms of Alexandrium catenella, or the toxic “red tide,” which can accumulate in shellfish and cause symptoms, including paralysis, and can sometimes be deadly to humans who eat the Read more…