Do infectious diseases stop where land meets water?
Diseases, both infectious and noninfectious, have the potential to cross the land sea barrier. Whilst the focus of this topic has classically focused on diseases that could affect humans closely interacting with marine animals in a clinical or dietary setting, it is becoming apparent that some diseases also affect wildlife with important attendant conservation implications. Moreover, historically most work on diseases that cross land sea barriers have focused on marine mammals, it is now becoming evident that other marine animal groups lower in the phylogenetic tree are being adversely affected by factors originating from land, again with important conservation implications. There is a clear need for the veterinary profession to step up and lend their expertise to understanding disease process in those species that are less charismatic but likely have more ecosystem value than their more charismatic brethren. Veterinarians can also contribute significantly to wildlife conservation by educating their clients on proper management of invasive species to reduce their impacts on endangered native wildlife.