The course blog for Bio 412 - Marine Biology at Ashland University
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Marine Mammals Health and Climate Change
In my presentation for class, I wanted to take a deeper look at how the Arctic marine mammals' health relate to the destruction of their habitats and life due to the increasing threat of global climate change. Although the data presented isn't too detailed or much, it is because the discovery and situations to perform long term research hasn't been available until recently. Many of the agents for disease are said to be zoonotic. Examples of diseases that can not only cause major alarm between the marine mammals but also to humans include influenza and the West Nile virus. Monitoring these diseases and understanding more about how the health of marine mammals could prevent such a snow ball effect would be essential. Not only would understanding and researching more about the overall health of marine animals be useful to us humans, but the overall health of the ecosystem in which we all live in would be effective.
Health effects have included infectious diseases, pathogen transmission, and even of bio-toxins. Contamination is inevitable in nature, but even worse when humans step in and create landfills and deep sea drilling especially in the polar regions of the globe because those areas are already experiencing some heat from the threat of global climate change. Optimal species of marine mammals have been studied and noted to be the most sensitive when it comes to climate change in the environment as a whole, as well. Therefore, it is important to categorize these organisms correctly because some are more sensitive to change than others, and it could make a real difference. On top of losing their home and lifestyle due to the warming of the earth and melting of the polar ice caps, the health of marine organisms is steadily but surely going to be as affected.
Therefore, major concern to raise baseline data research is important if it is to better understand the linkage between the marine mammals and humans in terms of health. Because there is much more to build up as a long term data report on mammal organisms in the marine habitat, there is limited ability to predict that further will change in regards to health upon them and if they could in return effect other lifestyles around them, including humans. Pathogen transmission routing, body change due to alternated food web conditions are indirect effects.Therefore, the study and research to create future evidence for the effects that the climate change will have on the health of marine mammals, especially in the Arctic regions, is a topic that shouldn't be taken lightly.