Humans can affect marine life in unexpected ways, as when large numbers of seals succumbed to canine distemper virus in 2000, presumably contracted from domestic dogs. Such human incursions cause even more damage by exacerbating the effects of naturally occurring parasitic and pathogenic diseases. While all indicators point to a real increase in disease in marine organisms, scientists have no baseline data to measure these increases against and so cannot directly test whether marine diseases are genuinely increasing. Now Jessica Ward and Kevin Lafferty report a new method in PLoS Biology that uses the recorded incidence of disease in the scientific literature to identify disease trends in major groups of marine organisms. Their analysis not only confirms fears but also throws up some unexpected results.
Ward and Lafferty conducted an online search of 5,900 journals published from 1970 to 2001 to measure the proportion of reports of disease in nine groups or marine organisms: turtles, corals, mammals, urchins, mollusks, seagrasses, decapods (crustaceans), sharks/rays, and fishes. Their approach also takes into account potential confounding factors, such as the effect of a particularly prolific author or a single disease event reported multiple times. They found a clear increase in disease in all groups except seagrasses, decapods, and sharks/rays. And they found that disease reports actually decreased for fishes. (One explanation for this decrease could be that drastic reductions in population density caused by overfishing present fewer opportunities for transmitting infection.)
These results confirm scientists’ perceptions about the rising distress of threatened populations and thus reflects a real underlying pattern in nature. That disease did not increase in all taxonomic groups suggests that increases in disease are not simply the result of increased study and that certain stressors, such as global climate change, will impact disease in complex ways. Ward and Lafferty have created a powerful tool to help evaluate trends in disease in the absence of baseline data. It is only by understanding the dynamics of disease outbreaks that scientists can help develop sound methods to contain them.
Jessica Ward | EurekAlert!
Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.
Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
14.08.2018 | Information Technology
14.08.2018 | Life Sciences
14.08.2018 | Life Sciences