Marine Ecosystem Health Diagnostic and Surveillance Laboratory

Mission Statement and Philosophy 

We provide timely and quality diagnostic services to assess the impact of disease on marine wildlife. Our goal is to identify the role of various pathogens that contribute to the loss of wildlife.

We aim to... 

  • Provide diagnostic testing and support to members of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Network, wildlife biologists, marine animal scientists, and marine animal clinicians 
  • Transfer of technologies from other institutions to facilitate continued accessibility of developed diagnostics
  • Develop and optimize new methodologies for detecting and tracking diseases 
  • Recognize and disseminate new knowledge that benefits marine animals, people and their environment 

Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Network 

Through partnerships we investigate emerging and endemic diseases in stranded marine mammals in order to protect and conserve the species and their habitat. We participate in infectious disease and zoonotic pathogen surveillance programs and provide data for compilation into central databases when appropriate.

Impacting our Communities

We provide state and federal agencies with efficient and cost-effective lab services to monitor free-ranging marine animal health and investigate mortality events.

As a UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine program, we develop and maintain collaborative relationships with academic and scientific communities. Through mutually beneficial research and training efforts we contribute to the education of professional veterinary medical students at all levels, and provide outreach to the scientific community and the public. 

Data Integrity 

Data is maintained in a database and may be utilized for analyses to facilitate disease surveillance purposes by the UC Davis Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Center for Marine Animal Health. For more information, see Submit Samples.

Data Agreements and Requirements

Agreements to investigate and collectively publish scientific data to facilitate correct interpretation of results and protect both submitter investment in data and faculty investment in new research diagnostics will be established as needed. 

The Marine Health Lab has no requirement for co-authorship; however if the intellectual input exceeds the regular service function of the lab, co-authorship may be requested. When special projects require validation of new protocols and development of new assays, co-authorship may be required. All manuscripts prepared using data generated through the MEHDS should include consultation with all involved parties to ensure correct interpretation of the results and appropriate acknowledgements and affiliations.