The rising tide of ocean diseases: Unsolved problems and research priorities

Drew Harvell, Richard Aronson, Nancy Baron, Joseph Connell, Andrew Dobson, Steve Ellner, Leah Gerber, Kiho Kim, Armand Kuris, Hamish McCallum, Kevin Lafferty, Bruce McKay, James Porter, Mercedes Pascual, Garriett Smith, Katherine Sutherland, Jessica Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


New studies have detected a rising number of reports of diseases in marine organisms such as corals, molluscs, turtles, mammals, and echinoderms over the past three decades. Despite the increasing disease load, microbiological, molecular, and theoretical tools for managing disease in the world's oceans are underdeveloped. Review of the new developments in the study of these diseases identifies five major unsolved problems and priorities for future research: (1) detecting origins and reservoirs for marine diseases and tracing the flow of some new pathogens from land to sea; (2) documenting the longevity and host range of infectious stages; (3) evaluating the effect of greater taxonomic diversity of marine relative to terrestrial hosts and pathogens; (4) pinpointing the facilitating role of anthropogenic agents as incubators and conveyors of marine pathogens; (5) adapting epidemiological models to analysis of marine disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-382
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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