[MARMAM] New Publication - A Review of Circumpolar Arctic Marine Mammal Heath—A Call to Action in a Time of Rapid Environmental Change

Ashley Barratclough ashley_2486_b at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 19 16:12:13 PDT 2023


New Publication - A Review of Circumpolar Arctic Marine Mammal Heath—A Call to Action in a Time of Rapid Environmental Change (Barratclough, Ashley)

Dear All, 

We are excited to share our new publication: 

Barratclough, Ashley, Steven H. Ferguson, Christian Lydersen, Peter O. Thomas, and Kit M. Kovacs. "A Review of Circumpolar Arctic Marine Mammal Heath—A Call to Action in a Time of Rapid Environmental Change." Pathogens 12, no. 7 (2023): 937.
https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0817/12/7/937 <https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0817/12/7/937> The full text is available open access.

Abstract
The impacts of climate change on the health of marine mammals are increasingly being recognised. Given the rapid rate of environmental change in the Arctic, the potential ramifications on the health of marine mammals in this region are a particular concern. There are eleven endemic Arctic marine mammal species (AMMs) comprising three cetaceans, seven pinnipeds, and the polar bear (Ursus maritimus). All of these species are dependent on sea ice for survival, particularly those requiring ice for breeding. As air and water temperatures increase, additional species previously non-resident in Arctic waters are extending their ranges northward, leading to greater species overlaps and a concomitant increased risk of disease transmission. In this study, we review the literature documenting disease presence in Arctic marine mammals to understand the current causes of morbidity and mortality in these species and forecast future disease issues. Our review highlights potential pathogen occurrence in a changing Arctic environment, discussing surveillance methods for 35 specific pathogens, identifying risk factors associated with these diseases, as well as making recommendations for future monitoring for emerging pathogens. Several of the pathogens discussed have the potential to cause unusual mortality events in AMMs. Brucella, morbillivirus, influenza A virus, and Toxoplasma gondii are all of concern, particularly with the relative naivety of the immune systems of endemic Arctic species. There is a clear need for increased surveillance to understand baseline disease levels and address the gravity of the predicted impacts of climate change on marine mammal species.

Please email me at ashley.barratclough at nmmf.org <mailto:ashley.barratclough at nmmf.org> if you have any questions. 

Best, 

Ashley 
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