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Old Dominion University professor of oceanography Eileen Hofmann was a key researcher in a study that will be published in Science magazine today.

Hofmann's research on the effects of marine diseases on oysters in the waters off the Southeastern U.S., including the Chesapeake Bay, is part of the study "Emerging Marine Diseases: Climate Links and Anthropogenic Factors."

Science is the weekly journal of the Washington, D.C., based American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The study, headed by C. Drew Harvell of Cornell University, concludes that the number of diseases in marine waters is increasing, judging from examination of shellfish, coral and marine mammals that are affected by host-jumping organisms.

Epidemics also may be affecting other species, many of which are disappearing without notice.

Contributing factors to the increase in diseases are long-term warming trends and increased human activities. More interdisciplinary studies of marine diseases is needed, according to the research.

Hofmann has been studying oysters for 10 years. Her study group consists of Old Dominion oceanography professor John Klinck and researchers from Rutgers University, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Maryland Oxford Laboratory.

This article was posted on: September 1, 1999

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