Several years ago, a virus swept through bottlenose dolphin populations on the Atlantic coast killing about half of the inshore population. If a similar disease outbreak were to hit southern resident killer whales, it could potentially mean the end of the population.
Disease can play a large role in wildlife population decline, which is why SeaDoc Society Science Director Dr. Joe Gaydos will present on the topic at the next Marine Science Lecture Series at YMCA Camp Orkila’s Larry Norman Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. Note that while most lectures are held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, this one will be at Camp Orkila. The event is free.
“Disease can be as important as predation in shaping populations and ecosystems,” said Gaydos. In his lecture, he will describe how people and wildlife can pass diseases to one another, and how human activities can make wild animals more susceptible to disease in the first place. Some examples include contaminates that we put into the ecosystem and prey availability, like a shortage of salmon for southern residents.