Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sick fish may get sicker

05.08.2009
Climate change and other stresses expected to affect entire populations of fish

Entire populations of North American fish already are being affected by several emerging diseases, a problem that threatens to increase in the future with climate change and other stresses on aquatic ecosystems, according to a noted U.S. Geological Survey researcher giving an invited talk on this subject today at the Wildlife Disease Association conference in Blaine, Wash.

"A generation ago, we couldn't have imaged the explosive growth in disease issues facing many of our wild fish populations," said Dr. Jim Winton, a fish disease specialist at the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center. "Most fish health research at that time was directed toward diseases of farmed fish."

In contrast, said Winton, recent studies in natural aquatic systems have revealed that, in addition to being a cause of natural death, infectious and parasitic fish diseases can produce significantly greater mortality in altered habitats leading to population fluctuations, extinction of endangered fish, reduced overall health and increased susceptibility to predation.

In addition, said Winton, populations of certain fish species have suffered catastrophic losses after non-native diseases were first introduced into a water body. Examples include whirling disease in the intermountain west and the recent introduction of viral hemorrhagic septicemia in the Great Lakes.

"The scientific community is increasingly concerned that global trade, extensive habitat alteration, accumulations of contaminants and other human-caused stresses stressors, including climate change, will affect the distribution or severity of fish diseases and contribute to increasing population-scale losses in these important natural resources," Winton said.

Disease is often ignored as a factor affecting wild populations of fish and wildlife because the effects are difficult to observe and quantify, noted Winton. But as cold-blooded animals, fish are highly dependent on environmental conditions, especially temperature, to help maintain critical physiological processes such as immune function that can affect whether a fish gets a disease or parasite, how it is affected by it, and how the disease progresses.

In particular, said Winton, some fish – such as salmon, trout and muskellunge - have a fairly narrow range of water temperatures they can live in. "If that temperature is exceeded over a period of time, not only may die-offs occur, but also, the increased stress and altered immune function will lead to greater levels of infectious or parasitic diseases which is why global warming is of particular concern.

Winton said that increased scientific recognition of fish diseases as a potential population-limiting factor in wild populations of fish is partly the result of the emergence of high-profile diseases such as whirling disease in wild-spawning rainbow trout in the Rocky Mountain West, viral hemorrhagic septicemia in the North Pacific Ocean and the Great Lakes, and a fungal-like disease, ichthyophoniasis, in adult Chinook salmon in the Yukon River.

The 58th annual meeting of the Wildlife Disease Association (WDA) will be August 2-7, 2009, in Blaine, Wash. The theme is Wildlife Health from Land to Sea: Impacts of a Changing World. This press release is based on a paper being presented on Aug. 3 at the conference by USGS scientist Dr. Jim Winton, "The ecology of emerging diseases among populations of wild fish."

USGS provides science for a changing world. For more information visit www.usgs.gov.

Catherine Puckett | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usgs.gov

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>