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Cetacean deaths

Maria Morell, Andrew Brownlow, Barry McGovern, Stephen A Raverty, Robert E Shadwick, Michel André
Assessment of the impact of noise over-exposure in stranded cetaceans is challenging, as the lesions that lead to hearing loss occur at the cellular level and inner ear cells are very sensitive to autolysis. Distinguishing ante-mortem pathology from post-mortem change has been a major constraint in diagnosing potential impact. Here, we outline a methodology applicable to the detection of noise-induced hearing loss in stranded cetaceans. Inner ears from two mass strandings of long-finned pilot whales in Scotland were processed for scanning electron microscopy observation...
February 6, 2017: Scientific Reports
Andrew M Ritchie, Nathan Lo, Simon Y W Ho
In Bayesian phylogenetic analyses of genetic data, prior probability distributions need to be specified for the model parameters, including the tree. When Bayesian methods are used for molecular dating, available tree priors include those designed for species-level data, such as the pure-birth and birth-death priors, and coalescent-based priors designed for population-level data. However, molecular dating methods are frequently applied to data sets that include multiple individuals across multiple species. Such data sets violate the assumptions of both the speciation and coalescent-based tree priors, making it unclear which should be chosen and whether this choice can affect the estimation of node times...
October 26, 2016: Systematic Biology
Justin F Rosenberg, Martin Haulena, Linda M N Hoang, Muhammad Morshed, Erin Zabek, Stephen A Raverty
Cryptococcosis has been reported in marine mammals in the northeastern Pacific with increasing frequency in the last 15 yr. Although a variety of cetaceans have been diagnosed with cryptococcosis, Cryptococcus gattii has not been reported in pinnipeds. We document C. gattii VGIIa in a harbor seal ( Phoca vitulina ) pup and in an unrelated adult. Both animals were presented to Vancouver Aquarium's Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (VAMMRC) with generalized weakness, dehydration, respiratory compromise, minimally responsive mentation, and suboptimal body condition...
July 2016: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Denise McAloose, M Virginia Rago, Matías Di Martino, Andrea Chirife, Sarah H Olson, Lucas Beltramino, Luciana M Pozzi, Luciana Musmeci, Luciano La Sala, Nadia Mohamed, Juan Emilio Sala, Lucas Bandieri, Julian Andrejuk, Ania Tomaszewicz, Tracie Seimon, Mariano Sironi, Luis E Samartino, Victoria Rowntree, Marcela M Uhart
Between 2003 and 2012, 605 southern right whales (SRW; Eubalaena australis) were found dead along the shores of Península Valdés (PV), Argentina. These deaths included alarmingly high annual losses between 2007 and 2012, a peak number of deaths (116) in 2012, and a significant number of deaths across years in calves-of-the-year (544 of 605 [89.9%]; average = 60.4 yr(-1)). Post-mortem examination and pathogen testing were performed on 212 whales; 208 (98.1%) were calves-of-the-year and 48.0% of these were newborns or neonates...
April 12, 2016: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
Rui Ruan, Jue Ruan, Xiao-Ling Wan, Yang Zheng, Min-Min Chen, Jin-Song Zheng, Ding Wang
Little is known about the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in the genome of Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis) (YFP) or other cetaceans. In this study, a high-quality YFP bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library was constructed. We then determined the organization and characterization of YFP MHC class II region by screening the BAC library, followed by sequencing and assembly of positive BAC clones. The YFP MHC class II region consists of two segregated contigs (218,725 bp and 328,435 bp respectively) that include only eight expressed MHC class II genes, three pseudo MHC genes and twelve non-MHC genes...
March 2, 2016: Scientific Reports
Isabela G Domiciano, Camila Domit, Matt K Broadhurst, Mariana S Koch, Ana Paula F R L Bracarense
Cetaceans are considered environmental sentinels and their health often reflects either anthropogenic or natural spatio-temporal disturbances. This study investigated the pathological findings and mortality of small cetaceans with the aim of detecting hazards and monitoring health trends in a high-biodiversity area. Between 2007 and 2012, 218 stranded cetaceans were recorded on the Paraná coast, southern Brazil. Fifty-seven (26.1%) of these animals, including 50 Sotalia guianensis, 2 Pontoporia blainvillei, 2 Stenella frontalis, 1 Stenella longirostris, 1 Tursiops truncatus and 1 Globicephala melas were necropsied and samples were collected for histopathology...
2016: PloS One
Lonneke L IJsseldijk, Mardik F Leopold, Elisa L Bravo Rebolledo, Rob Deaville, Jan Haelters, Jooske IJzer, Paul D Jepson, Andrea Gröne
Long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) are rare visitors to the southern North Sea, but recently two individual strandings occurred on the Dutch coast. Both animals shared the same, unusual cause of death: asphyxiation from a common sole (Solea solea) stuck in their nasal cavity. This is a rare cause of death in cetaceans. Whilst asphyxiation has been reported in smaller odontocetes, there are no recent records of this occurring in Globicephala species. Here we report the stranding, necropsy and diet study results as well as discuss the unusual nature of this phenomenon...
2015: PloS One
Sarah Piwetz, David Lundquist, Bernd Würsig
Humpback dolphins (genus Sousa) use shallow, near-shore waters throughout their range. This coastal distribution makes them vulnerable to recreational and commercial disturbances, especially near heavily populated and industrialized areas. Most research focusing on Sousa and human activities has emphasized direct impacts and threats, involving injury and death, with relatively little focus on indirect effects on dolphins, such as changes in behaviour that may lead to deleterious effects. Understanding behaviour is important in resolving human-wildlife conflict and is an important component of conservation...
2015: Advances in Marine Biology
Stephanie Venn-Watson, Kathleen M Colegrove, Jenny Litz, Michael Kinsel, Karen Terio, Jeremiah Saliki, Spencer Fire, Ruth Carmichael, Connie Chevis, Wendy Hatchett, Jonathan Pitchford, Mandy Tumlin, Cara Field, Suzanne Smith, Ruth Ewing, Deborah Fauquier, Gretchen Lovewell, Heidi Whitehead, David Rotstein, Wayne McFee, Erin Fougeres, Teri Rowles
A northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM) cetacean unusual mortality event (UME) involving primarily bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama began in February 2010 and continued into 2014. Overlapping in time and space with this UME was the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill, which was proposed as a contributing cause of adrenal disease, lung disease, and poor health in live dolphins examined during 2011 in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. To assess potential contributing factors and causes of deaths for stranded UME dolphins from June 2010 through December 2012, lung and adrenal gland tissues were histologically evaluated from 46 fresh dead non-perinatal carcasses that stranded in Louisiana (including 22 from Barataria Bay), Mississippi, and Alabama...
2015: PloS One
O Gonzales-Viera, V Ruoppolo, J Marigo, V L Carvalho, K R Groch, C P Bertozzi, C Takakura, G Namiyama, R E T Vanstreels, J L Catão-Dias
This study reports the occurrence of renal lesions in cetaceans from the coast of Brazil subjected to necropsy examination between 1996 and 2011. The animals (n = 192) were by-caught in fishing nets, were found dead on beaches or died despite attempted rehabilitation. Kidney samples were evaluated grossly and microscopically and, depending on the histopathological findings, immunohistochemical and ultrastructural analyses were conducted. Due to autolysis, a diagnosis was reached in only 128 animals, of which 82 (64...
May 2015: Journal of Comparative Pathology
J P Guimarães, A M B Febronio, J E Vergara-Parente, M R Werneck
The parasitic fauna of cetaceans is an important tool for ecological studies, including analyses on the causes of death. Halocercus brasiliensis is a nematode frequently found in the bronchi and bronchioles of some cetaceans, and it is commonly associated with focal inflammation of the respiratory tract leading to bacterial pneumonia and septicemia and, sometimes, to death. The objective of this study was to report infections by H. brasiliensis in the respiratory tract of Delphinidae stranded on the northern seaside of Bahia, Sergipe, and south of Alagoas, all states in the northeast region of Brazil...
April 2015: Journal of Parasitology
Nicholas J Davison, James E F Barnett, Mark Koylass, Adrian M Whatmore, Matthew W Perkins, Robert C Deaville, Paul D Jepson
Helicobacter infection in cetaceans was first reported from the US in 2000 when the isolation of a novel Helicobacter species was described from two Atlantic white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus acutus). Since then, Helicobacter species have been demonstrated in cetaceans and pinnipeds from around the world. Since 1990, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency Polwhele, Truro, has been involved in the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme to establish the cause of death of cetacean species stranded along the coast of Cornwall, England...
July 2014: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Eva Sierra, Antonio Fernández, Antonio Espinosa de los Monteros, Manuel Arbelo, Josué Díaz-Delgado, Marisa Andrada, Pedro Herráez
Ship strikes are a major issue for the conservation of may cetacean species. Certain gross and microscopic criteria have been previously reported for establishing a diagnosis of death due to ship strikes in these animals. However, some ship-strike injuries may be masked by advanced carcass decomposition and may be undetectable due to restricted access to the animals. In this report we describe histopathological muscular findings in 13 cetaceans with sharp trauma from ship strikes as the cause of death. Skeletal muscle samples were taken from the incision site and from the main locomotor muscle, the longissimus dorsi, in areas not directly affected by the sharp injury...
2014: PloS One
Anett K Larsen, Ingebjørg H Nymo, Benjamin Briquemont, Karen K Sørensen, Jacques Godfroid
Marine mammal Brucella spp. have been isolated from pinnipeds (B. pinnipedialis) and cetaceans (B. ceti) from around the world. Although the zoonotic potential of marine mammal brucellae is largely unknown, reports of human disease exist. There are few studies of the mechanisms of bacterial intracellular invasion and multiplication involving the marine mammal Brucella spp. We examined the infective capacity of two genetically different B. pinnipedialis strains (reference strain; NTCT 12890 and a hooded seal isolate; B17) by measuring the ability of the bacteria to enter and replicate in cultured phagocytes and epithelial cells...
2013: PloS One
Megan Stolen, Judy St Leger, Wendy Noke Durden, Teresa Mazza, Erika Nilson
Multiple single case reports of asphyxiation in dolphins caused by fish lodged in the esophagus exist. However, the significance of this cause of mortality in a single population has not been documented. We performed a retrospective evaluation of pathology records from stranded bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from the Indian River Lagoon to evaluate the impact of this cause of death on this population. From 1997 to 2011, asphyxiation due to choking was identified as the cause of death in 14 of 350 cases (4%)...
2013: PloS One
Michael J Moore, Julie van der Hoop, Susan G Barco, Alex M Costidis, Frances M Gulland, Paul D Jepson, Kathleen T Moore, Stephen Raverty, William A McLellan
Post-mortem examination of dead and live stranded beach-cast pinnipeds and cetaceans for determination of a cause of death provides valuable information for the management, mitigation and prosecution of unintentional and sometimes malicious human impacts, such as vessel collision, fishing gear entanglement and gunshot. Delayed discovery, inaccessibility, logistics, human safety concerns, and weather make these events challenging. Over the past 3 decades, in response to public concern and federal and state or provincial regulations mandating such investigations to inform mitigation efforts, there has been an increasing effort to objectively and systematically investigate these strandings from a diagnostic and forensic perspective...
April 11, 2013: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
Manuel Arbelo, Antonio Espinosa de Los Monteros, Pedro Herráez, Marisa Andrada, Eva Sierra, Francisco Rodríguez, Paul D Jepson, Antonio Fernández
Between 1999 and 2005, 233 stranded cetaceans (comprising 19 species) were reported in the waters of the Canary Islands. Of these, 138/233 (59.2%) were subjected to a complete or partial standardized necropsy, including 4 Balaenopteridae, 9 Physeteridae, 8 Kogiidae, 27 Ziphiidae and 90 Delphinidae. Of these, 46/138 (33.3%) cetaceans were diagnosed with anthropogenic pathological categories (i.e. the cause of death was anthropogenic). These included fishing interaction (bycatch) (19 individuals), 'atypical' mass stranding events linked to naval exercises (13), ship collisions (8) and other anthropogenic-related pathology (6)...
March 26, 2013: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
Andrew Butterworth, Philippa Brakes, Courtney S Vail, Diana Reiss
Annually in Japanese waters, small cetaceans are killed in "drive hunts" with quotas set by the government of Japan. The Taiji Fishing Cooperative in Japan has published the details of a new killing method that involves cutting (transecting) the spinal cord and purports to reduce time to death. The method involves the repeated insertion of a metal rod followed by the plugging of the wound to prevent blood loss into the water. To date, a paucity of data exists regarding these methods utilized in the drive hunts...
2013: Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science: JAAWS
Rob Appleby, Bradley Smith, Darryl Jones
In contrast to several species of cetaceans and primates, behavioural responses to dead conspecifics have rarely been reported in wild canids. Here we provide details of the responses of an adult female and littermates to a dying and subsequently dead pup, including what appeared to be four instances of transport of the deceased pup by the mother over a two-day period, one of which was directly observed and filmed. We tentatively propose that, in the absence of any evidence of consumption of the pup, its transport by the mother could be interpreted as care-giving behaviour emanating from an enduring mother-infant bond, in a similar vein to what has been suggested for several other species exhibiting such behaviour...
June 2013: Behavioural Processes
L Begeman, J A St Leger, D J Blyde, T P Jauniaux, S Lair, G Lovewell, S Raverty, H Seibel, U Siebert, S L Staggs, P Martelli, R I Keesler
Intestinal volvulus was recognized as the cause of death in 18 cetaceans, including 8 species of toothed whales (suborder Odontoceti). Cases originated from 11 institutions from around the world and included both captive (n = 9) and free-ranging (n = 9) animals. When the clinical history was available (n = 9), animals consistently demonstrated acute dullness 1 to 5 days prior to death. In 3 of these animals (33%), there was a history of chronic gastrointestinal illness. The pathological findings were similar to those described in other animal species and humans, and consisted of intestinal volvulus and a well-demarcated segment of distended, congested, and edematous intestine with gas and bloody fluid contents...
July 2013: Veterinary Pathology
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