Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Disease Takes Its Toll On Waterfowl Populations

Date:
October 13, 1997
Source:
United States Geological Survey
Summary:
Hundreds of thousands of migrating waterfowl are presently dying from avian botulism in flyway staging sites in southern Canada and the northern U.S.

Avian botulism is a disease of birds resulting from the ingestion of a paralyzing toxin produced by the bacterium, Clostridium botulinum type C. The toxin is closely related to botulism toxins A and B, which are responsible for a similar food-borne disease in humans. Affected birds lose coordination and show signs of paralysis of the legs and wings and labored breathing. In advanced stages of the disease, the birds cannot hold their heads up, and often drown or suffocate.

Most outbreaks of type C botulism occur in ducks, and species such as pintails, shovelers, and mallards are among those that suffer the greatest losses. However, almost all birds are susceptible to the disease, says Dr. Creekmore, and in recent years, losses in other species, including pelicans, herons, and egrets have been increasing.

Dr. Tonie Rocke, a veteran scientist also at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, who has spent years studying botulism explains, "Often the disease will occur in one wetland and not occur in an adjacent wetland just a few yards away. If we could determine the environmental factors that trigger the disease, we may be able to devise wetland management methods to lower the risk of outbreaks and reduce mortality."

Dr. Rocke and her colleagues have made significant progress in determining the conditions that are associated with avian botulism outbreaks. The organism is widely distributed in wetland sediments and factors such as acidity (pH), salinity, and temperature apparently play major roles in increasing or decreasing the risk of outbreaks. The next step is to determine if management actions influence these key environmental conditions.

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center is the foremost wildlife diagnostic and investigative facility of its type, devoted to identifying causes and possible management responses for episodes of death or debilitation among free-ranging wild creatures throughout the United States and, on a consulting basis, other nations.

As the nation's largest earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 1,200 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial, scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to wise economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources of the nation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

United States Geological Survey. "Disease Takes Its Toll On Waterfowl Populations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 October 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971011091200.htm>.
United States Geological Survey. (1997, October 13). Disease Takes Its Toll On Waterfowl Populations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971011091200.htm
United States Geological Survey. "Disease Takes Its Toll On Waterfowl Populations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971011091200.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins