Recently published work, from a UK consortium including the Universities of Exeter and Portsmouth, has provided evidence that rising sea-surface temperatures have contributed to an increase in the prevalence of Vibrio bacteria in UK coastal waters used for aquaculture. Our in house laboratory has gone on to discuss this below.
Shellfish samples, collected from three locations experiencing an increase in sea-surface temperature, were found to contain multiple Vibrio species, including Vibrio rotiferianus and V. jasicida., which have not previously been reported in UK waters and are capable of causing disease in sea creatures, including the “micro-animals” consumed by fish larvae.
Some shellfish from these sites also yielded human pathogenic Vibrio species, including V. parahaemolyticus, which causes acute gastroenteritis when consumed by humans in seafood (mackerel, sardines, crab, oysters).
Increased diversity of Vibrio species in UK coastal waters, as a result of rising temperatures, has various potential consequences. It is possible that some fish species could decline in number due to depletion of an important food source for their larvae and there is a risk of increased incidence of foodborne illness associated with eating seafood, particularly in the warmer months when the Vibrio species thrive. This work provides further examples of the diverse effects of climate change and how it can affect all forms of life, including the microscopic world.
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