Climate change brings disease threat for polar bears
With its habitats shrinking and food supplies dwindling, the fate of the polar bear looks grim in the face of climate change . Now comes news that the iconic Arctic mammal may face another potentially devastating threat: it may be particularly vulnerable to new pathogens moving northwards as a result of warming.
Diana Weber, who works at both the New College of Florida, Sarasota, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, led a team that sequenced DNA from 98 polar bears in Canada. They looked specifically for genes coding the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) – a molecule found on the surface of cells that acts as a crucial component of the immune systems of most vertebrates.
Fatal fungus found in third major amphibian group, caecilians
|Scientists took skin swabs from more than 200 |
wild-caught caecilians to test for the potentially
deadly chytrid fungus
An international team led by scientists at the Natural History Museum and Zoological Society of London (ZSL) have found the first cases of chytrid fungus infections in caecilians. They report their findings today in the journal EcoHealth.
More than 200 caecilians caught from the wild had DNA tests carried out on swabs of their skin to check for the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. The study included 29 caecilian species from 5 countries in Africa and South America, which is the largest genetic survey of this fungus in caecilians to date.
Can a Mosquito Kill a Killer Whale? Yes, Says New Case Report
It sounds almost impossible. How could a tiny mosquito possibly kill one of the top predators in the ocean? According to a new peer-reviewed case report published in the Journal of Marine Mammals and Their Ecology, it’s because they lived in captivity.
“Orca (Orcinus Orca) Captivity and Vulnerability to Mosquito-transmitted Viruses,” co-authored by John Jett and Jeffrey Ventre, queries the role of captivity and husbandry procedures in lowering the immune system of captive orcas. The duo, who are former SeaWorld trainers, directly correlated the death of two SeaWorld killer whales to their environment and disease-carrying mosquitoes.
“Although unreported in wild orca populations,” Jett and Ventre noted, “mosquito-transmitted diseases have killed at least two captive orcas in U.S. theme parks.”
What If There Is No Happy Ending? Science Communication as a Path to Change
... Over the next 12 years, I watched as entire communities of amphibians – hundreds of animals and over 100 species of frogs and salamanders – succumbed to chytridiomycosis, the fungal disease caused by that fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd for short). It was stunningly fast. Entire valleys would be wiped out in a few months. It was devastating. We worked furiously to document and understand what was happening, driven to tell the world about what we were seeing. We cranked out definitive papers. More importantly, though, I felt personally responsible doing something.
For me, that ‘something’ was going to take skills you just don’t learn in the lab or the field, so I applied for communication and leadership training through the Leopold Leadership Program. I wanted to learn how to better communicate lessons learned from the amphibian extinction I had observed in the hopes of alerting others and preventing new extinctions. I put my freshly honed communication skills to work, describing what we had seen in the field, and the impacts of those declines on populations, communities, and ecosystems. I gave lots of talks to many kinds of groups – colleagues, hobbyists, zookeepers. I always hoped that somebody in the audience would have the right bit of information to understand where this fungus came from, how it worked, and how we might control it.
I am struggling to find a new message, one that moves past the death and destruction I have witnessed and beyond the feelings of helplessness and frustration, but one that is still honest and useful....
OTHER WILDLIFE HEALTH NEWS
- Answers sought from dolphin deaths [Yarmouth, Massachusetts, USA - Map It ]
- Dead Fish Wash Up Along Eastern Shore [View cases reported in Alabama, USA on the Global Wildlife Disease Map ]
- Scientists find impact of open-ocean industrial fishing within centuries of bird bones
- How Do Wind Turbines Kill Birds?
- Climate Change Forecast to Shrink Habitat of Common Plants and Animals
- Local ground squirrel tests positive for plague [Palomar Mountain, California, USA - Map It ]
- Chronic wasting disease found in deer near Shenandoah National Park [Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA - Map It ]
- Bat fungus ravages hibernation site in Ohio [Ohio, USA]
- Vt. Fish & Wildlife seeking info on bat colonies [Vermont, USA]
- Corals turn to algae for stored food when times get tough
- Coral reefs suffering, but collapse not inevitable, researchers say
- Cooling ocean temperature could buy more time for coral reefs
- Pathogens go both ways
- Bacterial infection in mosquitoes renders them immune to malaria parasites: Strategy holds promise for malaria control efforts
- WHO says new coronavirus may be passed person to person
- 2012 West Nile Outbreak Was The Deadliest In US History: CDC
- Human disease leptospirosis identified in new species, the banded mongoose, in Africa
- Local rabies epidemic draws DOH attention [New Mexico, USA]
- World's fish are migrating to escape global warming
- IUCN's 'Red List' Criteria: What Makes An Ecosystem Endangered?