Monday, February 20, 2012

Animal diseases increasingly plague the oceans

VANCOUVER - When dead sea mammals started washing ashore on Canada's west coast in greater numbers, marine biologist Andrew Trites was distressed to find that domestic animal diseases were killing them.

Around the world seals, otters and other species are increasingly infected by parasites and other diseases long common in goats, cows, cats and dogs, marine mammal experts told a major science conference.

The diseases also increasingly threaten people who use the oceans for recreation, work or a source of seafood, scientists told reporters at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held this year in this Western Canadian city.

The symposium "Swimming in Sick Seas" was one of many sessions at this year's AAAS that drew a bleak picture of the state of the world's oceans, which are increasingly acidic, warming in some areas and being inundated with melting ice or other climate change effects. Read More