Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Marine disease on the rise?

14.04.2004



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!
Further information:
http://www.plosbiology.org/plosonline/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020120
http://www.plosbiology.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center

nachricht Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>