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Cetacean deaths

Daniel Garcia Párraga, Michael Moore, Andreas Fahlman
Hydrostatic lung compression in diving marine mammals, with collapsing alveoli blocking gas exchange at depth, has been the main theoretical basis for limiting N2 uptake and avoiding gas emboli (GE) as they ascend. However, studies of beached and bycaught cetaceans and sea turtles imply that air-breathing marine vertebrates may, under unusual circumstances, develop GE that result in decompression sickness (DCS) symptoms. Theoretical modelling of tissue and blood gas dynamics of breath-hold divers suggests that changes in perfusion and blood flow distribution may also play a significant role...
April 25, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Annalaura Mancia, Denise Lunardi, Luigi Abelli
Wild animals in their natural environment could provide a big source of information, but sampling can be very challenging, above all for protected species, like marine mammals. Nevertheless, significant data can be obtained sampling stranded animals right after their death, taking into account proper sampling time and methodology. RNA samples from the skin of 12 individuals including the species Stenella coeruleoalba, Tursiops truncatus, and Grampus griseus were used to test 4 potential gene markers of anthropogenic contaminants exposure...
February 2018: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Yara Bernaldo de Quirós, Meghan Hartwick, David S Rotstein, Michael M Garner, Andrea Bogomolni, William Greer, Misty E Niemeyer, Greg Early, Frederick Wenzel, Michael Moore
The challenge of identifying cause of death in discarded bycaught marine mammals stems from a combination of the non-specific nature of the lesions of drowning, the complex physiologic adaptations unique to breath-holding marine mammals, lack of case histories, and the diverse nature of fishing gear. While no pathognomonic lesions are recognized, signs of acute external entanglement, bulging or reddened eyes, recently ingested gastric contents, pulmonary changes, and decompression-associated gas bubbles have been identified in the condition of peracute underwater entrapment (PUE) syndrome in previous studies of marine mammals...
January 31, 2018: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
Wen-Ta Li, Hui-Wen Chang, Meng-Hsien Chen, Hue-Ying Chiou, Bang-Yeh Liou, Victor Fei Pang, Wei-Cheng Yang, Chian-Ren Jeng
Silver, such as silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), has been widely used in commercial products and may be released into the environment. The interaction between Ag deposition and biological systems is raising serious concerns because of one health consideration. Cetaceans, as the top predators of the oceans, may be exposed to Ag/Ag compounds and suffer negative health impacts from the deposition of these compounds in their bodies. In the present study, we utilized autometallography (AMG) to localize the Ag in the liver and kidney tissues of cetaceans and developed a model called the cetacean histological Ag assay (CHAA) to estimate the Ag concentrations in the liver and kidney tissues of cetaceans...
April 2018: Environmental Pollution
Tina Kesselring, Sacha Viquerat, Ralph Brehm, Ursula Siebert
The harbour porpoise is the only cetacean species native to German waters. Since human pressures are suggested to shorten their reproductive lifespan, basic knowledge on reproduction is strongly required. One parameter is the onset of sexual maturity in female harbour porpoises. Therefore, we investigated the first signs of sexual maturity for a period of almost two decades (1990-2016). Ovaries from 111 female harbour porpoises from the German North Sea and Baltic Sea were examined for the presence and morphological structure of follicles, corpora lutea and corpora albicantia...
2017: PloS One
Jerko Hrabar, Ivana Bočina, Andrea Gudan Kurilj, Martina Đuras, Ivona Mladineo
Stranded cetaceans are often found with gastric lesions associated with the presence of parasites; most frequently, nematodes of the genus Anisakis and the heterophyd digenean trematode Pholeter gastrophilus. In this study, we present histopathology mainly (but not exclusively) related to these 2 parasite species. Macroscopically, lesions associated with the presence of Anisakis spp. were characterised by the presence of ulcers within the gastric mucosa, while the digenean P. gastrophilus was found within large submucosal fibrotic nodules in the gastric wall...
July 24, 2017: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
J Díaz-Delgado, K R Groch, M W Wiegand, E R Secchi, R Réssio, F C C Natália, J L Catão-Dias
Neuroectodermal developmental anomalies are reported rarely in cetaceans and central nervous system cysts are not described. We describe the gross, microscopical, histochemical and immunohistochemical features of a neuraxial myelencephalic cyst in a stranded neonatal Burmeister's porpoise (Phocoena spinipinnis). Grossly, a subdural, extra-axial, well-demarcated, yellow fluid-filled cystic structure (1.9 × 1.6 × 1 cm) expanded the left foramen of Luschka, the left caudolateral cerebellar recess and the left cranioventral myelencephalon...
July 2017: Journal of Comparative Pathology
Nicole E Beaulieu-McCoy, Kathryn K Sherman, Marisa L Trego, Daniel E Crocker, Nicholas M Kellar
Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on an individual's health and reproductive success. The use of cortisol quantification as an indicator of stress in free-ranging cetaceans and phocids is increasing but no studies have applied this technique on blubber in otariids. We measured cortisol concentrations in blubber samples obtained from California sea lions, Zalophus californianus, stranded in San Diego County and those incidentally killed in the California drift gillnet fishery. We also measured progesterone concentrations to assess female reproductive status and, in males, as a potential secondary measure of adrenal steroid production...
October 1, 2017: General and Comparative Endocrinology
Joanna L Kershaw, Meredith Sherrill, Nicholas J Davison, Andrew Brownlow, Ailsa J Hall
Mammalian body condition is an important individual fitness metric as it affects both survival and reproductive success. The ability to accurately measure condition has key implications for predicting individual and population health, and therefore monitoring the population-level effects of changing environments. No consensus currently exists on the best measure to quantitatively estimate body condition in many species, including cetaceans. Here, two measures of body condition were investigated in the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)...
May 2017: Ecology and Evolution
Kelly Buckle, Wendi D Roe, Laryssa Howe, Sarah Michael, Padraig J Duignan, E Burrows, Hye Jeong Ha, Sharon Humphrey, Wendy L McDonald
Brucella spp infections of marine mammals are often asymptomatic but have been associated with reproductive losses and deaths. Zoonotic infections originating from marine isolates have also been described. Hector's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori) are an endangered species with a declining population, and the role of infectious disease in population dynamics is not fully understood. In this study, 27 Hector's dolphins found dead around the New Zealand coastline between November 2006 and October 2010 were evaluated for lesions previously associated with cetacean brucellosis...
September 2017: Veterinary Pathology
Federica Giorda, Marco Ballardini, Giovanni Di Guardo, Maria Domenica Pintore, Carla Grattarola, Barbara Iulini, Walter Mignone, Maria Goria, Laura Serracca, Katia Varello, Alessandro Dondo, Pier Luigi Acutis, Fulvio Garibaldi, Frine Eleonora Scaglione, Andrea Gustinelli, Sandro Mazzariol, Cristina Esmeralda Di Francesco, Cristiana Tittarelli, Cristina Casalone, Alessandra Pautasso
Between 2007 and 2014, 83 cetaceans were found stranded along the Ligurian coast of Italy, in the Pelagos Sanctuary, the largest marine protected area in the Mediterranean basin. Forty-nine (59%) were submitted to complete or partial necropsy, depending on the conservation status of the carcass. Based on gross and histological pathology and ancillary testing, the cause of death was determined and categorized as anthropogenic or natural (i.e., nonanthropogenic) in origin for 33 animals (67%) and of undetermined origin in the remaining 16 (33%)...
October 2017: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
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...
May 1, 2017: 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
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