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Sperm whale

William T Gough, Frank E Fish, Dylan K Wainwright, Hilary Bart-Smith
The cetacean tail fluke blades are not supported by any vertebral elements. Instead, the majority of the blades are composed of a densely packed collagenous fiber matrix known as the core layer. Fluke blades from six species of odontocete cetaceans were examined to compare the morphology and orientation of fibers at different locations along the spanwise and chordwise fluke blade axes. The general fiber morphology was consistent with a three-dimensional structure comprised of two-dimensional sheets of fibers aligned tightly in a laminated configuration along the spanwise axis...
March 9, 2018: Journal of Morphology
Tiffany F Keenan-Bateman, William A McLellan, Alex M Costidis, Craig A Harms, D Mark Gay, David S Rotstein, Sentiel A Rommel, Charles W Potter, D Ann Pabst
The giant (>3 m) parasitic nematode Crassicauda magna infects kogiid whales, although only 3 studies to date have provided detailed descriptions of these worms, all based upon fragmented specimens. These fragments were found within the neck region of kogiids, an unusual anatomic site for this genus of parasites. C. magna is a species-specific parasite among kogiids, infecting only pygmy sperm whales Kogia breviceps, and with a primarily cervico-thoracic distribution. To date, however, the pattern of habitat use within the host and transmission path of this parasite remain unknown...
March 5, 2018: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
M A Majorina, K A Glukhova, V V Marchenkov, B S Melnik
Studies on the process of spontaneous protein folding into a unique native state are an important issue of molecular biology. Apomyoglobin from the sperm whale is a convenient model for these studies in vitro. Here, we present the results of equilibrium and kinetic experiments carried out in a study on the folding and unfolding of eight mutant apomyoglobin forms of with hydrophobic amino acid substitutions on the protein surface. Calculated values of apparent constants of folding/unfolding rates, as well as the data on equilibrium conformational transitions in the urea concentration range of 0-6 М at 11°C are given...
January 2018: Molekuliarnaia Biologiia
Hui-Min Cheng, Hong Yuan, Xiao-Juan Wang, Jia-Kun Xu, Shu-Qin Gao, Ge-Bo Wen, Xiangshi Tan, Ying-Wu Lin
The structure and function of heme proteins are regulated by diverse post-translational modifications including heme-protein cross-links, with the underlying mechanisms not well understood. In this study, we introduced a Cys (K42C) close to the heme 4-vinyl group in sperm whale myoglobin (Mb) and solved its X-ray crystal structure. Interestingly, we found that K42C Mb can partially form a Cys-heme cross-link (termed K42C Mb-X) under dithiothreitol-induced reductive conditions in presence of O2 , as suggested by guanidine hydrochloride-induced unfolding and heme extraction studies...
February 19, 2018: Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Steven J Rowland, Paul A Sutton, Simon T Belt, Vera Fitzsimmons-Thoss, Alan G Scarlett
Jetsam ambergris, found washed ashore on beaches, is an environmentally modified form of a natural product of Sperm whales which sometimes develops a pleasant odour. Odorous samples have proved valuable in perfumery. Identification of jetsam ambergris by analysis of organic-soluble extracts by Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR) and of derivatised samples by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) has already been shown. Here, we describe a different method, in which characteristic alkenic protons and carbon atoms of the major constituent ambrein, were identified in whole extracts using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR)...
January 22, 2018: Natural Product Research
Ludovic Tenorio-Hallé, Aaron M Thode, Jit Sarkar, Christopher Verlinden, Jeffrey Tippmann, William S Hodgkiss, William A Kuperman
Ray-tracing is typically used to estimate the depth and range of an acoustic source in refractive deep-water environments by exploiting multipath information on a vertical array. However, mismatched array inclination and uncertain environmental features can produce imprecise trajectories when ray-tracing sequences of individual acoustic events. "Double-difference" methods have previously been developed to determine fine-scale relative locations of earthquakes along a fault [Waldhauser and Ellsworth (2000). Bull...
December 2017: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
John Pierce Wise, James T F Wise, Catherine F Wise, Sandra S Wise, Christy Gianios, Hong Xie, Ron Walter, Mikki Boswell, Cairong Zhu, Tongzhang Zheng, Christopher Perkins, John Pierce Wise
In response to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and the massive release of oil that followed, we conducted three annual research voyages to investigate how the oil spill would impact the marine offshore environment. Most investigations into the ecological and toxicological impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil crisis have mainly focused on the fate of the oil and dispersants, but few have considered the release of metals into the environment. From studies of previous oil spills, other marine oil industries, and analyses of oil compositions, it is evident that metals are frequently encountered...
December 19, 2017: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Toxicology & Pharmacology: CBP
Nikolai Hecker, Virag Sharma, Michael Hiller
Kallikrein related peptidase 8 (KLK8; also called neuropsin) is a serine protease that plays distinct roles in the skin and hippocampus. In the skin, KLK8 influences keratinocyte proliferation and desquamation, and activates antimicrobial peptides in sweat. In the hippocampus, KLK8 affects memory acquisition. Here, we examined the evolution of KLK8 in mammals and discovered that, out of 70 placental mammals, KLK8 is exclusively lost in three independent fully-aquatic lineages, comprising dolphin, killer whale, minke whale, and manatee...
November 1, 2017: Genome Biology and Evolution
Alexandra Fernandes Costa, Salvatore Siciliano, Renata Emin-Lima, Bruna Maria Lima Martins, Maura Elisabeth Moraes Sousa, Tommaso Giarrizzo, José de Sousa E Silva Júnior
Marine mammal stranding events are used as an important tool for understanding cetacean biology worldwide. Nonetheless, there are vast gaps of knowledge to be filled in for a wide range of species. Reputable information is required regarding species from large baleen whales to sperm and beaked whales, as well as pelagic dolphins. This paper describes new cetacean records from north and north-eastern Brazil, which are both the least surveyed areas regarding aquatic mammals. Regular beach surveys were conducted to recover cetacean carcasses along the coast of Pará beginning November 2005...
2017: ZooKeys
Catherine F Wise, James T F Wise, Sandra S Wise, John Pierce Wise
Two major oil crises in United States history, the 1989 Exxon-Valdez oil spill in Alaska and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, drew attention to the need for toxicological experiments on oil and chemically dispersed oil. We are still learning the effects these spills had on wildlife. However, little data is known about the toxicity of these substances in marine mammals. The objective of this study is to determine the toxicity of Alaskan oil, as well as chemically dispersed oil...
November 8, 2017: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Toxicology & Pharmacology: CBP
Zhongchang Song, Yu Zhang, Steven W Thornton, Songhai Li, Jianchen Dong
The wave propagation, sound field, and transmission beam pattern of a pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) were investigated in both the horizontal and vertical planes. Results suggested that the signals obtained at both planes were similarly characterized with a high peak frequency and a relatively narrow bandwidth, close to the ones recorded from live animals. The sound beam measured outside the head in the vertical plane was narrower than that of the horizontal one. Cases with different combinations of air-filled structures in both planes were used to study the respective roles in controlling wave propagation and beam formation...
October 2017: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Ladd Irvine, Daniel M Palacios, Jorge Urbán, Bruce Mate
Here, we describe the diving behavior of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using the Advanced Dive Behavior (ADB) tag, which records depth data at 1-Hz resolution and GPS-quality locations for over 1 month, before releasing from the whale for recovery. A total of 27 ADB tags were deployed on sperm whales in the central Gulf of California, Mexico, during spring 2007 and 2008, of which 10 were recovered for data download. Tracking durations of all tags ranged from 0 to 34.5 days (median = 2.3 days), and 0...
October 2017: Ecology and Evolution
Trevor W Joyce, John W Durban, Diane E Claridge, Charlotte A Dunn, Holly Fearnbach, Kim M Parsons, Russel D Andrews, Lisa T Ballance
Dive capacity among toothed whales (suborder: Odontoceti) has been shown to generally increase with body mass in a relationship closely linked to the allometric scaling of metabolic rates. However, two odontocete species tagged in this study, the Blainville's beaked whale Mesoplodon densirostris and the Cuvier's beaked whale Ziphius cavirostris, confounded expectations of a simple allometric relationship, with exceptionally long (mean: 46.1 min & 65.4 min) and deep dives (mean: 1129 m & 1179 m), and comparatively small body masses (med...
2017: PloS One
Wesley C Warren, Lukas Kuderna, Alana Alexander, Julian Catchen, José G Pérez-Silva, Carlos López-Otín, Víctor Quesada, Patrick Minx, Chad Tomlinson, Michael J Montague, Fabiana H G Farias, Ronald B Walter, Tomas Marques-Bonet, Travis Glenn, Troy J Kieran, Sandra S Wise, John Pierce Wise, Robert M Waterhouse, John Pierce Wise
The sperm whale, made famous by Moby Dick, is one of the most fascinating of all ocean-dwelling species given their unique life history, novel physiological adaptations to hunting squid at extreme ocean depths, and their position as one of the earliest branching toothed whales (Odontoceti). We assembled the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) genome and resequenced individuals from multiple ocean basins to identify new candidate genes for adaptation to an aquatic environment and infer demographic history. Genes crucial for skin integrity appeared to be particularly important in both the sperm whale and other cetaceans...
September 13, 2017: Genome Biology and Evolution
Maria Isabel N Di Azevedo, Vitor L Carvalho, Alena M Iñiguez
Anisakidae are represented mainly by species of Anisakis Dujardin, 1845, Pseudoterranova Krabbe, 1878, and Contracaecum Railliet and Henry, 1913. Integrative taxonomy, based on morphological and genetic approaches, can provide a precise identification of species, increasing the knowledge of their systematics, biology, and evolution. In this study, integrative taxonomy was applied in order to identify, at generic and/or specific taxonomic level, 245 anisakids from 63 cetaceans of 12 different species, which stranded in the Brazilian coast...
November 2017: Parasitology Research
Colleen E Bryan, Gregory D Bossart, Steven J Christopher, W Clay Davis, Lisa E Kilpatrick, Wayne E McFee, Terrence X O'Brien
Non-ischemic cardiomyopathy is a leading cause of congestive heart failure and sudden cardiac death in humans and in some cases the etiology of cardiomyopathy can include the downstream effects of an essential element deficiency. Of all mammal species, pygmy sperm whales (Kogia breviceps) present the greatest known prevalence of cardiomyopathy with more than half of examined individuals indicating the presence of cardiomyopathy from gross and histo-pathology. Several factors such as genetics, infectious agents, contaminants, biotoxins, and inappropriate dietary intake (vitamins, selenium, mercury, and pro-oxidants), may contribute to the development of idiopathic cardiomyopathy in K...
December 2017: Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
Giacomo Giorli, Whitlow W L Au
Sperm whales forage in the deep ocean, hunting for squid. An innovative approach for the study of sperm whale foraging behavior and habitat selection is reported in this letter. A DIDSON imaging sonar mounted on a profiler with a conductivity, temperature, and depth sensor was used to count and measure potential prey in the deep ocean during sperm whales' acoustical foraging encounters in Hawaii. Preliminary results show how this technique can be applied to the study of deep diving whale foraging and habitat selection...
September 2017: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
João Carlos Borges, Danielle Dos Lima, Edson Moura da Silva, André Lucas de Oliveira Moreira, Miriam Marmontel, Vitor Luz Carvalho, Rodrigo de Amaral, Stella Maris Lazzarini, Leucio Câmara Alves
Cryptosporidium and Giardia are protozoans that can infect humans and wild and domestic animals. Due to the growing importance of diseases caused by protozoan parasites in aquatic species, we aimed to evaluate the frequency of infection by Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia sp. in aquatic and marine mammals in the northern and northeastern regions of Brazil. We collected 553 fecal samples from 15 species of wild-ranging and captive aquatic mammals in northern and northeastern Brazil. All samples were analyzed by the Kinyoun technique for identification of Cryptosporidium spp...
September 20, 2017: Diseases of Aquatic Organisms
Gang Wu, Jing Zhao, Stefan Franzen, Ah-Lim Tsai
Dehaloperoxidase-hemoglobin (DHP), a multifunctional globin protein, not only functions as an oxygen carrier as typical globins such as myoglobin and hemoglobin, but also as a peroxidase, a mono- and dioxygenase, peroxygenase, and an oxidase. Kinetics of DHP binding to NO, CO, and O2 were characterized for wild-type DHP A and B and the H55D and H55V DHP A mutants using stopped-flow methods. All three gaseous ligands bind to DHP significantly more weakly than sperm whale myoglobin (SWMb). Both CO and NO bind to DHP in a one-step process to form a stable six-coordinate complex...
October 5, 2017: Biochemical Journal
Natalya S Katina, Vitalii A Balobanov, Nelly B Ilyina, Victor D Vasiliev, Victor V Marchenkov, Anatoly S Glukhov, Alexey D Nikulin, Valentina E Bychkova
Investigation of the molecular mechanisms underlying amyloid-related human diseases attracts close attention. These diseases, the number of which currently is above 40, are characterized by formation of peptide or protein aggregates containing a cross-β structure. Most of the amyloidogenesis mechanisms described so far are based on experimental studies of aggregation of short peptides, intrinsically disordered proteins, or proteins under denaturing conditions, and studies of amyloid aggregate formations by structured globular proteins under conditions close to physiological ones are still in the initial stage...
September 5, 2017: Biophysical Journal
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