Dr. Anne Lichtenwalner (U. Maine Animal Health Lab) presented a poster titled, “Parasites in Maine Moose 2010-13: Collaborative Studies,” at the 62nd Wildlife Disease Association International Conference. In this study, necropsies were conducted on 25 moose, a large proportion of which was affected by lungworms, winter ticks and lung cysts.
A student project to sequence the ITS2 gene of the worms indicated that it may be a unique species. This study was a collaboration among the University of Maine, the state of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, state Center for Disease Control, and the NWDC.
NWDC participants and several collaborators also co-authored an oral presentation, “Unusual Winter Mortality Events in Multiple Atlantic Seabird Species,” at the WDA Conference. In December 2012, an irruption of live Razorbills (Alca torda) began in Florida and other southeastern states. Within weeks, reports of dead Razorbills were coming in from the same region, and would ultimately rise to several hundred individuals.
In the subsequent months, hundreds of Dovekies (Alle alle) and murres (Uria spp.) were found dead along the east coast, and the worst mortality event affecting Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica) in decades began in the northeastern U.S. and in the U.K. Necropsies performed at multiple laboratories indicate that most birds were thin or emaciated with no gross indication of disease. Unusually strong winter storms and sea surface temperature anomalies may have contributed to this mass die-off.