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Tech + Science


May 31, 2020 - Haaretz

Climate Change Forecast: Rising Tide of Parasites in Warming Seas

Climate Change Forecast: Rising Tide of Parasites in Warming Seas
Warmer Waters File Image: (c) Photabulous!

As global warming proceeds, so does ocean warming. Now a new study published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution looks at ocean life, asking how it is responding to abrupt climate change, which this is – not “gradual” warming as the planet has experienced before. Species can adapt to gradual changes but not to sudden ones, so acute climate pulses can devastate, explains lead author Danielle Claar, a postdoc at the University of Washington.

But who thrives? Many, many parasites. It had been quite clear that the virus causing “wasting disease” in sea stars along the American west coast starting in 2013 thrived in the abnormally warm waters. Now Claar and the team warn that severe pulse warming events could result in a “tsunami” of disease, as happened to the unhappy sea stars. Want another example? Another recent UW study found that the incidence of anisakis, a parasite commonly found in raw fish, increased 283-fold in the past 40 years.

Read more at Haaretz

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