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Chihiro Ishii, Yoshinori Ikenaka, Shouta M M Nakayama, Hazuki Mizukawa, Yared Beyene Yohannes, Yutaka Watanuki, Masaaki Fukuwaka, Mayumi Ishizuka
Seabirds are marine top predators and accumulate high levels of metals and metalloids in their tissues. Contamination by metals in the highly productive offshore region has become a matter of public concern. It is home to 80% of the seabird population in the USA, 95% of northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus), and major populations of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) and whales. Here, the concentrations of eight heavy metals (Hg, Cd, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn and Pb) and a metalloid (As) in the liver and kidneys of the northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia), short-tailed shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris), tufted puffin (Fratercula cirrhata) and horned puffin (Fratercula corniculata) collected in the Bering Sea were measured...
March 13, 2017: Journal of Veterinary Medical Science
René R Wijngaard, Marcel van der Perk, Bas van der Grift, Ton C M de Nijs, Marc F P Bierkens
This study investigates the impact of future climate change on heavy metal (i.e., Cd and Zn) transport from soils to surface waters in a contaminated lowland catchment. The WALRUS hydrological model is employed in a semi-distributed manner to simulate current and future hydrological fluxes in the Dommel catchment in the Netherlands. The model is forced with climate change projections and the simulated fluxes are used as input to a metal transport model that simulates heavy metal concentrations and loads in quickflow and baseflow pathways...
2017: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution
Katherine Roehl, Mark Jankowski, Erik Hofmeister
Serological tests play an important role in the detection of wildlife diseases. However, while there are many commercial assays and reagents available for domestic species, there is a need to develop efficient serological assays for wildlife. In recent years, marine mammals have represented a wildlife group with emerging infectious diseases, such as influenza, brucellosis, and leptospirosis. However, with the exception of disease-agent-specific assays or functional assays, few reports describe the use of antibody detection assays in marine mammals...
December 2016: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine: Official Publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Kathi A Lefebvre, Lori Quakenbush, Elizabeth Frame, Kathy Burek Huntington, Gay Sheffield, Raphaela Stimmelmayr, Anna Bryan, Preston Kendrick, Heather Ziel, Tracey Goldstein, Jonathan A Snyder, Tom Gelatt, Frances Gulland, Bobette Dickerson, Verena Gill
Current climate trends resulting in rapid declines in sea ice and increasing water temperatures are likely to expand the northern geographic range and duration of favorable conditions for harmful algal blooms (HABs), making algal toxins a growing concern in Alaskan marine food webs. Two of the most common HAB toxins along the west coast of North America are the neurotoxins domoic acid (DA) and saxitoxin (STX). Over the last 20 years, DA toxicosis has caused significant illness and mortality in marine mammals along the west coast of the USA, but has not been reported to impact marine mammals foraging in Alaskan waters...
May 2016: Harmful Algae
Angela Fago, Daniel Garcia Parraga, Elin E Petersen, Niels Kristensen, Lea Giouri, Frank B Jensen
The ability of marine mammals to hunt prey at depth is known to rely on enhanced oxygen stores and on selective distribution of blood flow, but the molecular mechanisms regulating blood flow and oxygen transport remain unresolved. To investigate the molecular mechanisms that may be important in regulating blood flow, we measured concentration of nitrite and S-nitrosothiols (SNO), two metabolites of the vasodilator nitric oxide (NO), in the blood of 5 species of marine mammals differing in their dive duration: bottlenose dolphin, South American sea lion, harbor seal, walrus and beluga whale...
March 2017: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Renhua Yan, Jiacong Huang, Lingling Li, Junfeng Gao
Modeling the rain-runoff processes and phosphorus transport processes in lowland polders is critical in finding reasonable measures to alleviate the eutrophication problem of downstream rivers and lakes. This study develops a lowland Polder Hydrology and Phosphorus modeling System (PHPS) by coupling the WALRUS-paddy model and an improved phosphorus module of a Phosphorus Dynamic model for lowland Polder systems (PDP). It considers some important hydrological characteristics, such as groundwater-unsaturated zone coupling, groundwater-surface water feedback, human-controlled irrigation and discharge, and detailed physical and biochemical cycles of phosphorus in surface water...
December 7, 2016: Environmental Pollution
Joshua Drew, Elora H López, Lucy Gill, Mallory McKeon, Nathan Miller, Madeline Steinberg, Christa Shen, Loren McClenachan
Yankee whalers of the 19th century had major impacts on populations of large whales, but these leviathans were not the only taxa targeted. Here, we describe the "collateral damage," the opportunistic or targeted taking of nongreat whale species by the American whaling industry. Using data from 5,064 records from 79 whaling logs occurring between 1840 and 1901, we show that Yankee whalers captured 5,255 animals across three large ocean basins from 32 different taxonomic categories, including a wide range of marine and terrestrial species...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Frederik Valeur Seersholm, Mikkel Winther Pedersen, Martin Jensen Søe, Hussein Shokry, Sarah Siu Tze Mak, Anthony Ruter, Maanasa Raghavan, William Fitzhugh, Kurt H Kjær, Eske Willerslev, Morten Meldgaard, Christian M O Kapel, Anders Johannes Hansen
The demographic history of Greenland is characterized by recurrent migrations and extinctions since the first humans arrived 4,500 years ago. Our current understanding of these extinct cultures relies primarily on preserved fossils found in their archaeological deposits, which hold valuable information on past subsistence practices. However, some exploited taxa, though economically important, comprise only a small fraction of these sub-fossil assemblages. Here we reconstruct a comprehensive record of past subsistence economies in Greenland by sequencing ancient DNA from four well-described midden deposits...
November 8, 2016: Nature Communications
Melissa P Galicia, Gregory W Thiemann, Markus G Dyck, Steven H Ferguson, Jeff W Higdon
Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) subpopulations in several areas with seasonal sea ice regimes have shown declines in body condition, reproductive rates, or abundance as a result of declining sea ice habitat. In the Foxe Basin region of Nunavut, Canada, the size of the polar bear subpopulation has remained largely stable over the past 20 years, despite concurrent declines in sea ice habitat. We used fatty acid analysis to examine polar bear feeding habits in Foxe Basin and thus potentially identify ecological factors contributing to population stability...
August 2016: Ecology and Evolution
J N Winer, B Arzi, D M Leale, P H Kass, F J M Verstraete
Maxillae and/or mandibles from 76 walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) were examined macroscopically according to predefined criteria. The museum specimens were acquired between 1932 and 2014. Forty-five specimens (59.2%) were from male animals, 29 (38.2%) from female animals and two (2.6%) from animals of unknown sex, with 58 adults (76.3%) and 18 young adults (23.7%) included in this study. The number of teeth available for examination was 830 (33.6%); 18.5% of teeth were absent artefactually, 3.3% were deemed to be absent due to acquired tooth loss and 44...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Pathology
Carolina Loch, Robert W Boessenecker, Morgan Churchill, Jules Kieser
This study aimed to assess the enamel ultrastructure in modern otariid pinnipeds and in the extinct walrus Pelagiarctos. Teeth of the New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri), sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri), and fossil walrus Pelagiarctos thomasi were embedded, sectioned, etched, and analyzed via scanning electron microscopy. The enamel of NZ otariids and Pelagiarctos was prismatic and moderately thick, measuring 150-450 μm on average. It consisted of transversely oriented Hunter-Schreger bands (HSBs) from the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) to near the outer surface, where it faded into prismless enamel less than 10 μm thick...
June 2016: Die Naturwissenschaften
Shawn R Noren, Mark S Udevitz, Chadwick V Jay
Habitat use and activity patterns of Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) have changed with climate-induced reductions in sea ice. Increases in the time active in water could result in negative energy balance, precluding females from sustaining lactation, which could impact population demographics. Little is known about lactation costs in walruses. We examined the energetics of 0-2-yr-old walrus calves by using Bayesian hierarchical models based on longitudinal husbandry records of growth (n = 6 females and 7 males) and caloric intake (n = 5 females and 6 males) as a proxy for maternal lactation costs...
March 2016: Physiological and Biochemical Zoology: PBZ
Mauricio Seguel, Raphaela Stimmelmayr, Elizabeth Howerth, Nicole Gottdenker
We describe a pulmonary mast cell tumor in a subsistence-harvested free-ranging Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens). Neoplastic cells effacing a focal area of pulmonary parenchyma were characterized by rare metachromatic granules and positive staining for C-kit. We also report co-occurrence of a peribronchial mass with a morphologic and immunohistochemical profile compatible with paraganglioma.
April 28, 2016: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Laura M Martinez-Levasseur, Chris M Furgal, Mike O Hammill, Gary Burness
Walruses, Odobenus rosmarus, play a key role in the Arctic ecosystem, including northern Indigenous communities, which are reliant upon walruses for aspects of their diet and culture. However, walruses face varied environmental threats including rising sea-water temperatures and decreasing ice cover. An underappreciated threat may be the large amount of solar ultraviolet radiation (UV) that continues to reach the Arctic as a result of ozone loss. UV has been shown to negatively affect whales. Like whales, walrus skin is unprotected by fur, but in contrast, walruses spend long periods of time hauled-out on land...
2016: PloS One
G Carleton Ray, Gary L Hufford, James E Overland, Igor Krupnik, Jerry McCormick-Ray, Karen Frey, Elizabeth Labunski
The most significant factors currently affecting the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) population are climate change and consequent changes in sea-ice morphology and dynamics. This paper integrates recent physical sea-ice change in the Bering Sea with biological and ecological conditions of walruses in their winter-spring reproductive habitat. Historically, walrus in winter-spring depended on a critical mass of sea-ice habitat to optimize social networking, reproductive fitness, feeding behavior, migration, and energetic efficiency...
January 2016: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Klervia Jaouen, Paul Szpak, Michael P Richards
Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios of bone collagen are an established method for dietary reconstruction, but this method is limited by the protein preservation. Zinc (Zn) is found in bioapatite and the isotopic compositions of this element constitute a very promising dietary indicator. The extent of fractionation of Zn isotopes in marine environments, however, remains unknown. We report here on the measurement of zinc, carbon and nitrogen isotopes in 47 marine mammals from the archaeological site of Arvik in the Canadian Arctic...
2016: PloS One
Ankie Sterk, Jack Schijven, Ana Maria de Roda Husman, Ton de Nijs
Faeces originating from wildlife, domestic animals or manure-fertilized fields, is considered an important source of zoonotic pathogens to which people may be exposed by, for instance, bathing or drinking-water consumption. An increase in runoff, and associated wash-off of animal faeces from fields, is assumed to contribute to the increase of disease outbreaks during periods of high precipitation. Climate change is expected to increase winter precipitation and extreme precipitation events during summer, but has simultaneously also other effects such as temperature rise and changes in evapotranspiration...
May 15, 2016: Water Research
Charlotte Lindqvist, Tilottama Roy, Christian Lydersen, Kit M Kovacs, Jon Aars, Øystein Wiig, Lutz Bachmann
BACKGROUND: The population size of Atlantic walruses (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus) is depleted relative to historical abundance levels. In Svalbard, centuries of over-exploitation brought the walrus herds to the verge of extinction, and such bottlenecks may have caused loss of genetic variation. To address this for Svalbard walruses, mitochondrial haplotypes of historical walruses from two major haul-out sites, Bjørnøya and Håøya, within the Archipelago were explored using bone samples from animals killed during the peak period of harvesting...
February 18, 2016: BMC Research Notes
Eva K Sawyer, Emily C Turner, Jon H Kaas
Pinnipeds (sea lions, seals, and walruses) are notable for many reasons, including their ape-sized brains, their adaptation to a coastal niche that combines mastery of the sea with strong ties to land, and the remarkable abilities of their trigeminal whisker system. However, little is known about the central nervous system of pinnipeds. Here we report on the somatosensory areas of the nervous system of the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus). Using stains for Nissl, cytochrome oxidase, and vesicular glutamate transporters, we investigated the primary somatosensory areas in the brainstem, thalamus, and cortex in one sea lion pup and the external anatomy of the brain in a second pup...
June 15, 2016: Journal of Comparative Neurology
Violetta R Beklemisheva, Polina L Perelman, Natalya A Lemskaya, Anastasia I Kulemzina, Anastasia A Proskuryakova, Vladimir N Burkanov, Alexander S Graphodatsky
Karyotype evolution in Carnivora is thoroughly studied by classical and molecular cytogenetics and supplemented by reconstructions of Ancestral Carnivora Karyotype (ACK). However chromosome painting information from two pinniped families (Odobenidae and Otariidae) is noticeably missing. We report on the construction of the comparative chromosome map for species from each of the three pinniped families: the walrus (Odobenus rosmarus, Odobenidae-monotypic family), near threatened Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus, Otariidae) and the endemic Baikal seal (Pusa sibirica, Phocidae) using combination of human, domestic dog and stone marten whole-chromosome painting probes...
2016: PloS One
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