Climate Change and the Worldwide Emergence of Hematodinium-Associated Disease: Is There Evidence for a Relationship?

Climate Change and the Worldwide Emergence of Hematodinium-Associated Disease: Is There Evidence for a Relationship?

J.F. Morado, E.G. Dawe, D. Mullowney, C.A. Shavey, V.C. Lowe, and R.J. Cawthorn

Climate Change and the Worldwide Emergence of Hematodinium-Associated Disease: Is There Evidence for a Relationship?This is part of Biology and Management of Exploited Crab Populations under Climate Change
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Description

Over the past 20 years, many scientific publications have expressed a growing concern about the apparent increase of marine diseases in relation to climate change. Unfortunately, the data on this potential association are not clear; diseases of some marine taxa appear to have increased during the past two decades while diseases of other marine taxa appear to be stable or on the decline. The ambiguous nature of the data is a general result of inadequate historical or baseline data, and failure to measure and include environmental data in disease investigations. However, these findings are not unique as human health specialists are also confounded in their attempts to draw clear examples of human diseases that are only influenced by climate.

Diseases caused by parasitic dinoflagellates of the genus Hematodinium have literally exploded across the Northern Hemisphere since 1985. Coincidentally, the rapid expansion of Hematodinium-like diseases appears to have co-occurred or closely followed warming trends in both the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans. We will examine this apparent relationship and discuss elements that support or fail to confirm the relationship.

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