Series:

Disease as an ecological force

About the series

A main story and two vignettes on impacts of disease in the ecosystem. Sponsored by U.S. EPA.

In the third series of Salish Sea Currents, we present a main story and two vignettes on impacts of disease in the ecosystem. [View printable PDF of this series]

Sponsored by

United States Environmental Protection Agency logo

Latest story posted: 1/13/2016

Related stories

Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Photo: Eric Engbretson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Are diseases playing a role in salmon decline?

Chinook, coho and steelhead populations in Puget Sound have declined dramatically over the past 30 years. In some cases, counts of fish returning to the rivers are just a tenth what they were in the 1980s. While many possible causes of this decline are under consideration, some researchers are focusing on the combined effects of predators and disease. This article continues our coverage of the ecological impacts of disease in Puget Sound.


Species and food webs, Fishes, Marine habitat, Estuarine habitat, Nearshore habitat, Freshwater habitat, Salish Sea Currents magazine, Salmonids, Disease

Mist from the breath of killer whales is collected at the end of a long pole then tested for dozens of different types of bacteria. Photo: Pete Schroeder

Concerns rise over potential impacts of disease on the ecosystem

From orcas to starfish to humans, disease affects every living creature in the ecosystem. Scientists are increasingly alarmed by its potential to devastate already compromised populations of species in Puget Sound.  


Water quality, Healthy human population, Species and food webs, Mammals, Invertebrates, Marine habitat, Estuarine habitat, Nearshore habitat, Disease, Killer whales, Salish Sea Currents magazine, Monitoring, Species of concern