Speaker: Kathy Huntington, Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services (AVPS)
Climate variability and change pose several threats to marine mammals across the Arctic. Potential impacts include alterations in pathogen pathways, effects on body condition due to shifts in the food web, and changes in toxicant exposures. The lack of integrated long-term data on health, diseases, and toxicant effects in Arctic marine mammals severely limits our ability to predict the effects of climate change on marine mammal health. During this presentation, the observed and anticipated impacts to marine mammals to environmental changes will be discussed, including the unusual mortality event that occurred in seals and walrus in northern Alaska in 2011. Data and information needs to understand existing and potential marine mammal health in the Arctic will also be discussed.