A sea star ravaged by sea star wasting disease. Alison Leigh Lilly
Warming events are increasing in magnitude and severity, threatening many ecosystems worldwide. As the global temperatures continue to climb, it also raises uncertainties as to the relationship, prevalence, and spread of parasites and disease.
A recent study from the University of Washington explores the ways parasitism will respond to climate change, providing researchers new insights into disease transmission. The paper was published in May in Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
The review builds upon previous research by adding nearly two decades worth of new evidence to build a framework showing the parasite–host relationship under climate oscillations. Traditionally, climate related research is done over long time scales, however this unique approach examines how increasingly frequent “pulse warming” events alter parasite transmission.
“Much of what is known about how organisms and ecosystems can respond to climate change has focused on gradual warming,” said lead author Danielle Claar, a postdoctoral researcher at the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. “Climate change causes not only gradual warming over time, but also increases the frequency and magnitude of extreme events, like heat waves.”
Claar explains that both gradual warming and pulse warming can and have influenced ecosystems, but do so in different ways. Organisms may be able to adapt and keep pace with the gradual warming, but an acute pulse event can have sudden and profound impacts.
The 2013-2015 “blob” is one such extreme heat pulse event which has been linked to a massive die-off of sea stars along the Pacific coast of the U.S. and Canada. Many species of sea stars, including the large sunflower sea star, were decimated by a sudden epidemic of wasting disease. Five years later, populations in the region are still struggling to recover. The abnormally warm waters associated with the blob are thought to have favored the spread of the sea star-associated densovirus, the suggested cause of the disease.
The authors compare the prevalence of these marine diseases to a rising tide, an ebbing tide, or a tsunami. Disease transmission can rise or ebb in concert with gradual warming or a series of pulse warming events. However, a severe pulse warming event could result in a tsunami, “initiating either a deluge or drought of disease,” as was observed with sea stars along the Pacific Northwest.
However, not all pulse heat events will cause the same response. What may benefit a particular parasite or host in one system can be detrimental in another. Warming can alter a parasite’s life cycle, limit the range of suitable host species, or even impair the host’s immune response. Some flatworms which target wildlife and humans cannot survive as long in warmer waters, decreasing their window for infecting a host. Another recent UW study shows parasites commonly found in sushi are on the rise with their numbers increasing 283-fold in the past 40 years, though the relationship between heat pulse events and their abundance is not yet clear.
“The relationships between hosts, parasites, and their corresponding communities are complex and depend on many factors, making outcomes difficult to predict,” said Claar, who recommends researchers make predictions on a case-by-case basis for their individual systems.
The authors conclude that rather than a straightforward tidal prediction, they would expect pulse warming to cause “choppy seas with the occasional rogue wave.”
“It is important that we are able to understand and predict how parasitism and disease might respond to climate change, so we can prepare for, and mitigate, potential impacts to human and wildlife health,” said Claar.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Scientist confirms Sipadan sharks’ ulcers triggered by warm water spellon April 20, 2021 at 6:34 pm
The skin condition affecting the sharks of Sipadan island is a chronic natural disease caused by changes in the environment, said a marine expert here. Fellow of ...
- Study of Marine Recruits Reveals Imperfect Immunity Effects of Having COVID-19on April 19, 2021 at 12:07 pm
A study of more than 3,000 Marine recruits indicates that having a case of COVID-19 doesn't necessarily keep young people from being infected again.
- Marine Chemicals Market 2021 Global Share, Size, Future Demand, Global Research, Top Leading Players, Emerging Trends, Region by Forecast to 2026on April 19, 2021 at 5:14 am
Marine Chemicals Market 2021 Global Share, Size, Future Demand, Global Research, Top Leading Players, Emerging Trends, Region by Forecast to 2026 . Pos ...
- 'Incredibly blessed': Marine buddies join battle as Navy football alum fights ALSon April 16, 2021 at 9:00 am
Tyler Tidwell once led Marines deployed overseas. Now, the 35-year-old needs help getting out of bed as he battles ALS.
- Having COVID doesn’t guarantee immunity, study of Marine recruits findson April 16, 2021 at 2:30 am
Think again, according to the results of a new study of Marine Corps recruits. Ten percent of the recruits whose blood tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies before training were re-infected with ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Climate change creates migrants. Biden considers protectionson April 20, 2021 at 9:40 am
Ioane Teitiota and his wife fought for years to stay in New Zealand as refugees, arguing that rising sea levels caused by climate change threaten the very existence of the tiny ...
- Warming Oceans Are Making the Climate Crisis Significantly Worseon April 19, 2021 at 2:59 am
Humans have locked in at least 20 feet of sea level rise, writes Harold R. Wanless. Will we have enough time to fix it?
- Meltwater Pulse 1A: Melting Ice Sheets Caused Sea Levels to Rise Up to 18 Meterson April 16, 2021 at 12:36 pm
It is well known that climate-induced sea level rise is a major threat. New research has found that previous ice loss events could have caused sea-level rise at rates of around 3.6 meters per century, ...
- Sea-level rise: New study sheds light on responsible ice sheetson April 15, 2021 at 6:54 pm
Though it is well known that climate-induced sea level rise is a major threat, new research has found that previous ice loss events could have caused sea-level rise at rates of around 3.6m per century ...
- Sea levels are going to rise by at least 20ft. We can do something about iton April 13, 2021 at 7:40 am
To avoid the grimmest outlook posed by warming oceans, we need to extract heat-trapping gases from the atmosphere ...