Research on Flu Viruses in Marine Mammals at the Channel Islands

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Date: August 24, 2017
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

For the September From Shore to Sea lecture Dr. Pamela Yochem will discuss the role and significance of marine mammals in spreading influenza viruses that may pose a risk to human health.
Yochem’s research has revealed that some of the marine mammals at the Channel Islands have been exposed to the same virus that caused the last global epidemic of influenza in humans. She has discovered that northern elephant seals are particularly susceptible to infection and transmission of this type of virus.
The sudden appearance and rapid spread of this highly contagious virus in both humans and marine mammals is unprecedented according to Yochem. Her research is focused on learning how the pinnipeds were exposed to the virus and how it is transmitted. This project is part of a national program designed to provide the information and public health tools needed to control the threat and impact of an influenza epidemic.
Yochem is the Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer at Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute in San Diego, California. She is a USDA-accredited veterinarian and has studied the population biology, behavioral ecology, and health of marine vertebrates for 30 years. She has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Yochem holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Pathology from University of California, Davis. She currently serves on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Council, which advises the Secretary of Commerce on living marine resource matters.
The talk will be held on Thursday, September 14, 2017. The From Shore to Sea lecture series is sponsored by Channel Islands National Park to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding marine waters. The 2017 lecture series will take place at 7:00 pm on the second Thursday of each month, January through December, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive, in Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.

This lecture can also be viewed live online, at: Shore to Sea lecture series.

Lectures are recorded and posted at:

Last updated: August 25, 2017

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