Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8253
Title: A framework for examining climate driven changes to the seasonality and geographic range of coastal pathogens
Author: John Jacobs, Stephanie K. Moore, Kenneth Kunkel, Liqiang Sun
Publication Year: 2015
Journal: Climate Risk Management
Keywords: pathogens,climate change,harmful algae

 Climate change is expected to alter coastal ecosystems in ways which may have predictable consequences for the seasonality and geographical distribution of human pathogens and harmful algae.  Here we demonstrate relatively simple approaches for evaluating the risk of outbreaks of pathogenic bacteria in the genus Vibrio and toxin-producing harmful algae in the genus Alexandrium, with estimates of uncertainty, in U.S. coastal waters under future climate change scenarios through the end of the 21st century.  One approach forces empirical models of growth, abundance and the probability of occurrence of the pathogens and algae at specific locations in the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound with ensembles of statistically downscaled climate model projections to produce first order assessments of changes in seasonality.  In all of the case studies examined, the seasonal window of occurrence for Vibrio and Alexandrium broadened, indicating longer annual periods of time when there is increased risk for outbreaks.  A second approach uses climate model projections coupled with GIS to identify the potential for geographic range shifts for Vibrio spp. in the coastal waters of Alaska.  These two approaches could be applied to other coastal pathogens that have climate sensitive drivers to investigate potential changes to the risk of outbreaks in both time (seasonality) and space (geographical distribution) under future climate change scenarios.


Theme: Sustainable, safe and secure seafood for healthy populations and vibrant communities
Foci: Provide scientific support to ensure safe seafood for healthy populations and characterize how human activities and climate affect risks from pathogens, chemical contaminants and biotoxins