Marine food webs as vector of human patogens

Updated 2004-11-15

Marine foodwebs as vector and possibly source of viruses and bacteria patogenic to humans shall be investigated in a compartive north-south study. Effects of sewage from ships traffic and urban settlements, on animals of arctic foodwebs will be studied.

Comments and additional information:

Focus is on seals and birds that primarily depend on benthic communities, particulary shellfish, crustaceans and benthic fish species that may accumulate microbes, and on their predators, the polar bear and the polar fox. Mechanism for transmission into terrestrial foodchains and in particular, to food for human consumption, is also of concern. Given the high population of relevant seals (whalerus, bearded seal) and their predators and scavengers (polar bear, polar fox, various sea birds), as well as the high numbers of tourist ships visiting Svalbard, it is also of interest to know if present regulatory measures are sufficient to protect marine mammals from diseases that can transmit from humans or domestic animals. From autumn 2004 the project is carried out as guest scientist research at the laboratory premises of Kristineberg Marine Research Station (2.nd adress below).

Time frame

Project time span
2003 - 2007
Data collection
2003 - 2006
Data processing
2004 - 2007
Data reporting
2005 - 2007

Contact information

Contact person
Morten Laake
Faculty of Science and Mathematics Agder University College Servicebox 422 N-4604 Kristiansand Norway
+47 38 14 16 04
+47 38 14 10 71
Other project contacts
Docent Morten Laake, Guest scientist Kristineberg Marine Research Station S-450 34 Fiskebäckskil, SWEDEN E-mail: Mobile: +47 926 81 881 Tel: +46 523 185 00 (switch board) Fax: +46 523 185 02

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Biological effects
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Human media
Marine benthos
Marine fish
Marine mammals
Terrestrial mammals
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

Water samples: virus concentrates, indicative sewage bact. Fish and shellfish: gut contents, hepatopancreas/liver. Birds: fresh guano, occ. exudates of diseased individuals. Mammals: fresh fecal material, occ. exudates and blood, exudates of diseased individuals. (Dead individuals of birds/mammals are not collected)


Regions studied
Biological effects
Biological effects
Biological effects
Biological effects
Biological effects
Biological effects
Biological effects
Other areas

Data availability

Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?
Specimen banking information

RNA and DNA extracts, stored at -80 degr.C. till 2007 at least, probably at Kristineberg Marine Station, Sweden. Second contact person: dr. Bodil Hernroth.

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

Analyses of DNA and RNA from pathogens are performed at the Virology lab. of GU, partly at KMF. Procedures are aseptic from sampling through all steps, and carried out according to published and recommended methods and good laboratory practise. Some samples are preserved on site, all are kept frozen until analysis and stored at -80 degr.C.

QA/QC Information (what QA/QC procedures are implemented, laboratories involvment in QA/QC activities, model verification/validation routines, etc.)

Both laboratories have implemented QA/QC systems, both at the procedure and management levels. Identification of pathogens is based upon specific genetic probe or standard, or when necessary, genetic sequencing data of PCR product.

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Other institutes involved in the project

Dept. of Microbiology and Virology, Sahlgenska Hospital, Göteborg University, Sweden prof. Tomas Bergström.

Is this project reporting to other organizations/programmes?

Financing for 2005 is applied at NFR, Oslo. No other reports are made so far.

Please log in to edit this record