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Do marine heat waves cause pathogen outbreaks in Australian coastal waters?

Funding: 2021: $147,537
2022: $195,356
2023: $176,640

Project Member(s): Seymour, J., Labbate, M.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Australian Research Council (ARC Discovery Projects)
Australian Research Council (ARC Discovery Projects)

Start year: 2021

Summary: This project aims to identify links between increasingly frequent Marine Heat Wave (MHW) events and outbreaks of microbes that cause disease in marine animals, reduced aquaculture yields and human health hazards. Pathogenic bacteria from the Vibrio genus exhibit a preference for elevated seawater temperature and this project will test the hypothesis that episodic MHWs will trigger blooms of dangerous species. Using innovative ecogenomic tools, this project will track the impact of MHWs on the dynamics of pathogenic Vibrio within coastal habitats, oyster farming facilities and coral reefs. The benefit of this project will be essential new knowledge on an emerging threat to Australia’s valuable marine estate, food security and public health.

FOR Codes: Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology), Microbial ecology, Biological oceanography, Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts), Natural Hazards in Marine Environments, Environmental Health, Public health (excl. specific population health), Natural hazards, Understanding climate change