Improving marine disease surveillance through sea temperature monitoring, outlooks and projections

Jeffrey Maynard, Ruben Van Hooidonk, C. Drew Harvell, C. Mark Eakin, Gang Liu, Bette L. Willis, Gareth J. Williams, Maya L. Groner, Andrew Dobson, Scott F. Heron, Robert Glenn, Kathleen Reardon, Jeffrey D. Shields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


To forecast marine disease outbreaks as oceans warm requires new environmental surveillance tools. We describe an iterative process for developing these tools that combines research, development and deployment for suitable systems. The first step is to identify candidate host-pathogen systems. The 24 candidate systems we identified include sponges, corals, oysters, crustaceans, sea stars, fishes and sea grasses (among others). To illustrate the other steps, we present a case study of epizootic shell disease (ESD) in the American lobster. Increasing prevalence of ESD is a contributing factor to lobster fishery collapse in southern New England (SNE), raising concerns that disease prevalence will increase in the northern Gulf of Maine under climate change. The lowest maximum bottom temperature associated with ESD prevalence in SNE is 12°C. Our seasonal outlook for 2015 and long-term projections show bottom temperatures greater than or equal to 12°C may occur in this and coming years in the coastal bays of Maine. The tools presented will allow managers to target efforts to monitor the effects of ESD on fishery sustainability and will be iteratively refined. The approach and case example highlight that temperature-based surveillance tools can inform research, monitoring and management of emerging and continuing marine disease threats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20150208
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1689
StatePublished - Mar 5 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


  • Climate change
  • Epizootic shell disease
  • Homarus americanus
  • Marine disease
  • Predictive tools
  • Resource management


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