Does terrestrial epidemiology apply to marine systems?
McCallum, HI and Kuris, A and Harvell, CD and Lafferty, KD and Smith, GW and Porter, J, Does terrestrial epidemiology apply to marine systems?, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 19, (11) pp. 585-591. ISSN 0169-5347 (2004) [Refereed Article]
Most of epidemiological theory has been developed for terrestrial systems, but the significance of disease in the ocean is now being recognized. However, the extent to which terrestrial epidemiology can be directly transferred to marine systems is uncertain. Many broad types of disease-causing organism occur both on land and in the sea, and it is clear that some emergent disease problems in marine environments are caused by pathogens moving from terrestrial to marine systems. However, marine systems are qualitatively different from terrestrial environments, and these differences affect the application of modelling and management approaches that have been developed for terrestrial systems. Phyla and body plans are more diverse in marine environments and marine organisms have different life histories and probably different disease transmission modes than many of their terrestrial counterparts. Marine populations are typically more open than terrestrial ones, with the potential for long-distance dispersal of larvae. Potentially, this might enable unusually rapid propagation of epidemics in marine systems, and there are several examples of this. Taken together, these differences will require the development of new approaches to modelling and control of infectious disease in the ocean.