March 4, 2020 11:00am to 12:00pm
Health and disease in a changing ocean
Abstract: Changing ocean conditions are threatening marine species worldwide with consequences for ecosystems and society. These changes include shifts in abiotic stressors, ecological communities, and anthropogenic use of marine habitats. Allison Tracy’s work explores the combined impacts of these factors to ask how changing ecosystems impact marine health, both directly and via species interactions. Her work focuses in particular on host-parasite interactions and disease, which are a natural part of healthy ecosystems that can have transformative effects in changing environments. Here, she will show how long-term analyses of marine disease using historical literature reports provide insight into the impact of disease across nine distinct marine taxa and 43 years. She will also present her work on emerging parasites and co-infection in sea fan octocorals in Puerto Rico. Her approach combines field surveys and laboratory experiments to investigate how within-host parasite interactions (through resources and the sea fan immune system) scale to the population level and drive patterns of disease. Finally, she will discuss her current research on ecological communities on oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay. This work leverages historical records and field surveys to address restoration-relevant questions on oyster health and disease for the benefit of ecosystems and human activities.