Major Marine Ecological Disturbances, Morbidity, Mortality and Disease of Marine Wildlife Species Human Health and Economic Impacts
Entry ID: HEED_UNH

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Summary
Abstract: The HEED (Health, Ecological and Economic Dimensions of) Global Change
Program, a 3-year effort funded by the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration's Office of Global Programs and the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, has developed a
systematic methodology for collecting morbidity and
mortality occurrence data, across a range of species. A comprehensive
survey of instances of marine ecological disturbance, and a
methodology for future Major marine ecological disturbances (MMED)
investigation, is desired by international, federal and state agencies
in their efforts to better understand the changes occurring in the
world's oceans. Our approach draws together the expertise of over 15
separate disciplines, organizes historic data in one standard format,
assesses the integrity and coverage of data, and provides a method for
future standardized data collection and analysis. Events within this
morbidity and mortality database serve as (eco)indicators of
ecologically and economically significant disturbances. The overall
framework enables the assessment of marine ecosystem health.

In our initial study area, which includes the Western North Atlantic,
Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico, recognized major marine
ecological disturbances (MMEDs) have increased during the last 30
years. We have tracked those changes and are attempting to
characterize patterns within our data-sets. The HEED Global Change
Program provides researchers, interested in testing hypotheses, with
six data-sets and a framework to explore factors (e.g., climate,
pollution, trophodynamic shifts) that may be contributing to
MMEDs. The methods that we have developed can be scaled up to the
level of global assessment.

The six datasets integrated for our Framework are:

1) MMED Database: Morbidity/mortality and adverse occurrences among
coral, seagrasses, invertebrates, fish, sea turtles, shore birds,
marine mammals, and humans, including Harmful Algal Bloom data.

2) Climate Databases: Sea-surface temperature anomalies,
precipitation anomalies, unusual weather events, movement of the Gulf
Stream, indices of climatological anomalies, including the NAO and El
Nino phenomena.

3) Biophysical Databases: Dissolved inorganic and organic nutrients,
river flux, metal concentrations, water column stratification, oxygen,
salinity, solar radiation, presence/absence and abundance of indicator
species.

4) Base-line Ecosystem Datasets: Chlorophyll biomass, plankton
abundance and diversity, dynamics and life history for benthic and
pelagic species, and their organization in trophodynamic guilds for
particular places over time.

5) Economic Database: NMFS fisheries statistics, FEMA and SBA requests
for assistance, and other economic and social costs of morbidity and
mortality events. Case studies include Pfiesteria, Summer, 1997.

6) Mass-Media Database: Article searches of MMED-related stories and
economic costs, to ensure complete coverage of data too recent to
appear in published literature. Case studies include global marine
mammal reports from 1997-98.

Our data depicts a geographic expansion and overall increase in MMEDs,
over the last several decades - including unprecedented events, and
disturbances of increasing severity. These have had, in some cases,
significant human health and economic impacts. Increased understanding
of MMEDs, through the use of the tracking methodology described here,
provides a justification and basis for a rapid response to public
health risks and threats to ecosystems.
For more information, see:
"http://www.med.harvard.edu/chge/textbook/index.htm"

Related URL
Link: VIEW RELATED INFORMATION
Description: Human health and global environmental change


Geographic Coverage
 N: 56.0 S: -4.0  E: -28.0  W: -102.0

Temporal Coverage
Start Date: 1995-11-10
Stop Date: 1999-06-06


Location Keywords
OCEAN > ATLANTIC OCEAN
OCEAN > ATLANTIC OCEAN > NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN
OCEAN > ATLANTIC OCEAN > NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN > CARIBBEAN SEA
OCEAN > ATLANTIC OCEAN > NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN > GULF OF MEXICO
CONTINENT > NORTH AMERICA > UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Science Keywords
AGRICULTURE >AGRICULTURAL AQUATIC SCIENCES >FISHERIES    [Definition]
ATMOSPHERE >PRECIPITATION >PRECIPITATION ANOMALIES    [Definition]
ATMOSPHERE >ATMOSPHERIC RADIATION >SOLAR RADIATION    [Definition]
HUMAN DIMENSIONS >ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS >CONTAMINANT LEVELS/SPILLS >MARINE DISEASE    [Definition]
HUMAN DIMENSIONS >ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS >HEAVY METALS CONCENTRATION    [Definition]
HUMAN DIMENSIONS >PUBLIC HEALTH >DISEASES/EPIDEMICS >HUMAN ILLNESS    [Definition]
TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE >WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY >CHLOROPHYLL    [Definition]
TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE >WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY >DISSOLVED GASES    [Definition]
TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE >WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY >INORGANIC MATTER    [Definition]
TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE >WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY >OXYGEN    [Definition]
TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE >WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY >TRACE METALS    [Definition]
OCEANS >OCEAN TEMPERATURE >SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE >SST ANOMALIES    [Definition]
HUMAN DIMENSIONS >ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE/MANAGEMENT >ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS    [Definition]
OCEANS >AQUATIC SCIENCES >FISHERIES    [Definition]
CLIMATE INDICATORS >ATMOSPHERIC/OCEAN INDICATORS >TELECONNECTIONS >EL NINO SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) >ENSO    [Definition]
CLIMATE INDICATORS >ATMOSPHERIC/OCEAN INDICATORS >TELECONNECTIONS >NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION >NAO    [Definition]
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION >ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES >FISH    [Definition]
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION >ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES >MAMMALS >MAMMAL STRANDING    [Definition]
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION >ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES >MAMMALS    [Definition]
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION >ANIMALS/INVERTEBRATES    [Definition]
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION >PLANTS >ALGAE; HARMFUL ALGAE BLOOMS    [Definition]
BIOSPHERE >AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS >PLANKTON >PHYTOPLANKTON    [Definition]
BIOSPHERE >AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS >PLANKTON    [Definition]
OCEANS >OCEAN CHEMISTRY >PIGMENTS >CHLOROPHYLL    [Definition]
BIOSPHERE >AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS >MARINE HABITAT    [Definition]
BIOSPHERE >ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS >SPECIES/POPULATION INTERACTIONS >SPECIES LIFE HISTORY    [Definition]
BIOSPHERE >ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS >COMMUNITY DYNAMICS >BIODIVERSITY FUNCTIONS    [Definition]
BIOSPHERE >ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS >COMMUNITY DYNAMICS >INDICATOR SPECIES    [Definition]
BIOSPHERE >ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS >COMMUNITY DYNAMICS >INDICATOR SPECIES >REGIONAL INDICATOR SPECIES    [Definition]
BIOSPHERE >ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS >ECOTOXICOLOGY >TOXICITY LEVELS >SHELLFISH TOXICITY    [Definition]
HUMAN DIMENSIONS >PUBLIC HEALTH >MORBIDITY    [Definition]
HUMAN DIMENSIONS >POPULATION >MORTALITY    [Definition]


ISO Topic Category
FARMING
BIOTA


Keywords
ECOSYSTEM HEALTH
GLOBAL DATA ON ANECDOTAL BASIS
MARINE ECOLOGICAL DISTURBANCES
MARINE MAMMAL STRANDING
MARINE MORBIDITY
MARINE MORTALITY


Data Center
Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University    [Information]
Data Center URL: http://chge.med.harvard.edu/

Data Center Personnel
Name: CENTER FOR HEALTH AND THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT
Phone: 617-384-8530
Fax: 617-384-8585
Email: chge at hms.harvard.edu
Contact Address:
Center for Health and the Global Environment
Harvard Medical School
401 Park Drive, Second Floor
City: Boston
Province or State: MA
Postal Code: 02215
Country: USA


Personnel
PAUL R. EPSTEIN
Role: INVESTIGATOR
Email: paul_epstein at hms.harvard.edu
Contact Address:
Center for Health and the Global Environment
Harvard Medical School
401 Park Drive, Second Floor
City: Boston
Province or State: MA
Postal Code: 02215
Country: USA


Publications/References
Epstein PR. Is Global Warming Harmful to Health? Scientific American;
August 2000

Epstein PR. Climate and Health. Science 1999: 285: 347-348

Epstein PR, Dobson A, Vandermeer J. Biodiversity and Emerging
Infectious Diseases: Integrating Health and Ecosystem Monitoring. In
Biodiversity and Human Health. Grifo F, Rosenthal J (Eds.). Island
Press. Washington DC 1997.

Epstein PR, Ford TE, Colwell RR. Marine ecosystems. Lancet 1993; 342:
1216-1219.

Epstein PR. Emerging diseases and ecosystem instability: New threats
to public health. American Journal of Public Health 1994; 85: 168-172.

Patz JA, Epstein PR, Burke TA, Balbus JM. Global climate change and
emerging infectious diseases. Journal of the American Medical
Association 1996; 275: 217-223.

Haines A, Epstein PR, McMichael AJ, on behalf of an international
panel. Global health watch: monitoring impacts of environmental
change. Lancet 1993; 342: 1463-1469.

For human health and global environmental change publications, see:
http://www.med.harvard.edu/chge/resources.html

Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2000-03-24
Last DIF Revision Date: 2012-11-08

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