SAHFOS data used in international study shows rising global temperatures link to an increase in waterborne food poisoning and other human infections

10 Aug 2016 | 437

SAHFOS, one of the world’s most respected marine science organisations, has been involved in a new study researching whether Vibrio (bacteria) infections are on the rise as climate change warms the world’s oceans.

Conclusions from this study suggest a rise in people contracting Vibrio infections after swimming in the sea or perhaps eating raw seafood, like oysters, could be down to ocean warming – this is increasingly being linked to climate warming.  Most bacteria present in our oceans are not harmful to humans, but Vibrio – whose pathogens are directly associated with gastroenteritis, infection to open wounds exposed to seawater causing cellulitis or septicemia, as well as Vibrio Cholerae (the causative agent of Cholera) – can be.

Lead by Professor Luigi Vezzulli, from the Department of Earth, Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Genoa, with Professor Chris Reid, Dr Pierre Helaouet and Professor Martin Edwards from SAHFOS, as well as 5 other co-authors from various international organisations, the research group considered how the apparent link between ocean warming and climate warming is impacting on marine bacteria.

With a focus on the North Atlantic and North Sea, the preserved plankton samples (collected between 1958-2011 by the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey and taken from the SAHFOS archives) were analysed to show how the abundance of Vibrio populations had fluctuated during a 50 year time-frame. 

The resulting paper has been published in the Proceedings of the Nationals Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the United States of America :

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