Deaths of manatees in Indian River Lagoon a mystery
Stomachs filled with algae, but appear OK
Manatees are drowning for some mysterious reason, with bellies full of seaweed as one of the only clues. At least 55 manatees have died in the Indian River Lagoon since July, including 25 of them in the past month, mostly in Brevard.
Their carcasses appear otherwise healthy, but their guts are filled with thick drift algae, also called macroalgae, and not so much of their usual seagrass staple diet. That stringy stuff is virtually nowhere to be found in the lagoon, after a phytoplankton explosion decimated the estuary’s seagrass in 2011.
Scientists have yet to identify any known algae toxin that may be killing the manatees. But biologists with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg say the 2011 phytoplankton “super bloom,” as well as a severe brown algae bloom after that, may have contributed to the manatee die-off.
“So far we haven’t found evidence of disease or viruses at this point, but we’re still looking into that as well,” said Kevin Baxter, a spokesman with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
...“That has been a common thread that there have been large amounts of it,” Baxter said. “They’ve generally been healthy looking, otherwise.”
... Dead cormorants, a few bottlenose dolphins and redfish also have been reported recently in Brevard.
WNS Update – Ontario: First 2013 case confirmed
|Updated map of WNS in Ontario.|
Click on map to enlarge.
This incident included reports of bats observed flying during the day, a strong indicator of WNS infection, and both scavenged and whole dead bats. The samples for WNS surveillance were collected and submitted as part of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources enhanced WNS surveillance program.
Deer dispersal research and chronic wasting disease
Between 2001 and 2005, when Duane Diefenbach was studying the dispersal of young white-tailed deer, he had no idea the research would prove useful in trying to contain an outbreak of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Keystone State.
By 2008, when the results of the collaborative research project conducted by Penn State, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the U.S. Geological Survey were published in an issue of Behavioral Ecology, it occurred to him that his work might have epidemiological implications.
... In his four-year study, Diefenbach, adjunct associate professor of wildlife ecology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and leader of the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, documented deer dispersal behavior that provides insight into how far and how fast CWD could spread among wild deer.
DNA tools help scientists trace salmon disease back to the source
B.C. fishery scientists are developing a new generation of genetic tools to find diseases that are undermining the health of wild Pacific salmon and track them back to their source.
More than 90 per cent of juvenile salmon that migrate from fresh water to live as adults in the ocean die before they return to spawn, according to the researchers.
Disease is believed to be responsible for excessive mortality, according to Brian Riddell, CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation. But very little is known about the incidence of disease among wild salmon, in part because wild salmon are very difficult to observe once they enter the ocean and because weakened fish are eaten by predators, leaving no evidence of the cause of illness.
“We almost never see diseased wild fish,” Riddell said.
But a new collaboration between Genome B.C., the PSF and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is collecting the biggest set of tissue samples from both wild and ocean-farmed Pacific salmon ever assembled in order to analyze the genomes of all the viruses, disease and pathogens the fish carry.
OTHER WILDLIFE HEALTH RELATED NEWS
- International collaboration to investigate disappearing reptiles and amphibians
- Polar bear hunting and migration 'hit by warming climate': Researchers from British Ecological Society find that shrinking sea ice is affecting polar bears' health and breeding success
- How Contagious Tasmanian Devil Cancer Goes Invisible
- As California Considers Bill to Ban Lead Hunting Ammunition, National Poll Finds Most Americans Support Switch to Nontoxic Bullets [USA]
- Death of Red-Tailed Hawk Caused By Rat Poison, Says EPA [Madison Square Park, New York, USA - Map It ]
- WA researchers investigate whether foxes cause sheep measles
- Genetic mapping of sea lamprey may control invader and improve human health
- UC Davis veterinary medicine research facility opens
- New research paper says we are still at risk of the plague: Historical review provides lessons for the control of the plague
- Predicting hotspots for future flu outbreaks
- Is Disease Eradication Always the Best Path?
- New laboratory opened to handle highly contagious diseases
- Water vole ladder link to help isolated colony [Isolated water voles in London are being provided with miniature ladders to encourage them to venture further afield]
- UM researcher revolutionizing scientific communication, one tweet at a time [sharing information as a conference meeting is happening]