February 18, 2014

Feds urge residents to report dead wildlife and more wildlife health related news stories


Melting Arctic Ice Releases Deadly Seal Parasite

A photo of a parasite.
Sarcocystis pinnipedi (dark purple) infecting the diaphragm of a ringed seal.
There is no evidence of inflammation in the tissue, in contrast to infection in
gray seal livers. Photo credit: Stephan Raverty | National Geogaphic.
When wildlife pathologists arrived at Hay Island off the coast of Nova Scotia in March 2012, they met an eerie sight. Of the thousands of silver and black-speckled gray seals that lay on the rocky outcrop, roughly a fifth were dead, despite showing no outward signs of disease.

Necropsies revealed that 406 dead seals were infested with a crescent moon-shaped parasite that had destroyed their livers, but it wasn't clear what the organism was or how the seals had contracted the parasite. Researchers revealed the parasite's identity here today at the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science. They also explained how melting ice in the Arctic Circle is helping such pathogens disperse throughout the world's oceans.

14 Feb 2014
E Underwood

More Arctic News

Oil spills cause heart attacks in fish

While it’s certainly not news that oil spills harm fish, exactly how the oil causes fish harm is a complicated question that ecologists have been trying to answer. A study published Thursday in Science presents an explanation, and it’s nothing less than heartbreaking: The oil makes the fish go into cardiac arrest. The researchers are considering the possibility that oil might cause similar cardiac impacts in other forms of life—including us.

The study authors, who are affiliated with Stanford University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), had been studying lingering damage around the site of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Tuna became their test subject, due to the spill have occurred within a major spawning ground for the Gulf’s Atlantic bluefin tuna populations. And the tuna had suffered for it: A 2012 assessment had counted a spawning population 64% smaller than the baseline population of 1970.

Science Recorder
16 Feb 2014
R Docksai

Cited Journal Article
Fabien Brette et al. (2014). Crude Oil Impairs Cardiac Excitation-Contraction Coupling in Fish. Science. 343(6172):772-776. DOI: 10.1126/science.1242747

Feds urge residents to report dead wildlife

With thousands of tons of coal ash in the Dan River, what are local nature lovers to do if they see dead or dying wildlife along the river? .... There have already been scattered reports of dead turtles in the Dan River, and the question of the spill’s affect on wildlife came up Tuesday night during a meeting with members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s first responders.

14 Feb 2014
D Thibodeau

Coral bleaching makes fish behave recklessly

Fish on bleached coral reefs are fearless. Instead of staying hidden at home, they stray out, making them easy prey for predators.

Coral reefs are rich ecosystems, home to thousands of animals. But if the water gets too warm, the corals expel the algae that live in them, leaving them bleached and sometimes killing them. Climate change is making such bleaching events more commonMovie Camera.

Wondering how fish might be affected, Oona Lönnstedt of the Australian Research Council's centre for coral reef studies and her colleagues studied the behaviour of pallid damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis) on the Great Barrier Reef.

They released fish onto live and dead coral, and found that those on dead coral took more risks and moved further afield. And while the smell of an injured mate prompted fish on live coral to take cover, their counterparts didn't react. The death rate was 75 per cent higher on dead coral.

New Scientist
14 February 2014
S Sekar

Moose Health News
One Health News Corner

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