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Hookworms are a leading cause of mortality in seal and sea lion pups. Researchers will investigate if ocean food availability as well as the genetic make-up and immune response in South American fur seal pups affect the severity of hookworm infections. The team will analyze 15 years of collected data on fur seals living on Guafo Island in southern Chile to investigate if changes in ocean sea surface temperature and productivity also are associated with changes in hookworm prevalence and mortality in pups. Identifying drivers for hookworm infections, including marine environment, genetics and immune responses in individual animals, will help researchers develop improved wildlife health programs for mitigating hookworms and other parasitic diseases in marine mammals.

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The University of Georgia
Study country
United States
Mauricio Seguel, DVM
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