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生病的海洋哺乳动物

气候变化对海洋生物的影响


生病的海豹

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北极变暖的速度是地球其他地区的两倍,这意味着每年融化的海冰越来越多。

 

“这确实关系到那里海冰的迅速流失,原因很多。”

 

特蕾西·戈尔茨坦,加州大学戴维斯分校的研究员和环保主义者。她说,其中一个原因是像海豹这样的动物需要冰来拖走并分娩。另一个原因?随着北极变暖,海豹吃的鱼可能会移动到更深更冷的水域。所以海豹必须走得更远才能猎杀它们。

 

“因此,随着时间的推移,所有这些因素的结合可能会影响他们的健康和身体状况。这将使他们不仅体重不足,而且更容易患上其他疾病。”

 

这些疾病也可能侵袭北极海洋哺乳动物,因为(在这里发现了一个趋势?)北极海冰正在融化。

 

“这完全是意外的结果,但是的。当曾经有一座冰桥的时候,某些种群会彼此分开,所以它们不能接触,也不能把它们的细菌、病毒等给彼此。但一旦这些通道开始开放,动物就能够进一步移动,接触到过去从未接触过的新物种。”

 

戈尔茨坦和她的同事记录了从2001年到2016年一种名为马蹄疫病毒的疾病的传播。它与麻疹有关,引起海洋哺乳动物的皮肤损伤、咳嗽、肺炎、癫痫发作,有时甚至死亡。

 

戈尔茨坦的研究小组扫描了历史上和当代海洋哺乳动物的血液样本,寻找抗该病毒的抗体。他们还寻找哺乳动物鼻拭子中活感染的证据。他们发现,病毒的爆发与多年来海冰的极度流失有关,这表明开阔水域有助于病原体的传播,可能是沿着西伯利亚北部融化的海岸线。

 

他们的分析发表在《科学报告》杂志上。[E.VanWormer等人,北太平洋海洋哺乳动物中病毒的出现可能与北极海冰减少有关]

 

戈尔茨坦说,随着北极融化,依赖冰生存的哺乳动物可能已经注定要灭绝。更频繁的像这种病毒性传染病可能会加速打击。但人类也可能受到影响。

 

“在北极,人们依靠这些物种生存,因此他们真正依靠这些动物维持生计和福祉。随着这些动物消失,或者它们的栖息地消失,这也将严重影响该地区的人类。因此,总的来说,我认为随着时间的推移,北极地区的环境、动物和人类的整体健康状况将继续恶化。”

 

当然,除非我们人类采取有意义的行动来减缓地球变暖。

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