[MARMAM] Contents/abstracts - Aquatic Mammals (2006) vol 32(3)

Dagmar Fertl dfertl at geo-marine.com
Fri Jan 5 11:46:53 PST 2007

Marmam and ECS-talk subscribers - 

Happy New Year! Apologies in advance, to those of you on both listserves who
will receive cross-postings. The following are the contents and abstracts
for the most recent issue of _Aquatic Mammals_. This journal was established
by the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) in 1974. The EAAM,
European Cetacean Society (ECS), and the Board of the Alliance of Marine
Mammal Parks and Aquariums sponsor the journal. 

_Aquatic Mammals_ accepts a wide variety of papers on the care,
conservation, medicine, and science of marine mammals.  The number of papers
submitted for review has risen dramatically in recent years, and, in
response, the journal increased its annual issues from three to four in
2005.  Dr. Jeanette Thomas of Western Illinois University is the editor and
Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski of Mystic Aquarium is the co-editor. Dr. Dan Odell
recently joined the publication’s editorial board.

Subscription information can be found on the journal’s Web site, which is
at: http://www.wiu.edu/users/aquamamm/index/home.htm.

These abstracts are posted as a courtesy to the Marmam editors and the
sponsoring societies, as well as the managing editor of _Aquatic Mammals_:
Dr. Jeanette 
Thomas at Western Illinois University-Quad Cities. 

For instructions to authors, abstracts of previous issues, and publication
fees, see the journal website: EAAM (http://eaam.org) and

Please do not contact me or the listserve editors for copies of the
articles.  Instead, please find the addresses of the authors to whom reprint
requests and other inquiries should be directed. When an email address was
provided with the article, I included it with the article. Thank you for
your continued interest in these postings, as well as other publication
postings to the listserves.

Dagmar Fertl
Geo-Marine, Inc.
dfertl at geo-marine.com
Osinga, N.*, and P. 't Hart. 2006. Fish-hook ingestion in seals (Phoca
vitulina and Halichoerus grypus): The scale of the problem and a
non-invasive method for removing fish-hooks. Aquatic Mammals 32(3):261-264.

*Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre, Hoofdstraat 94-a, 9968 AG
Pieterburen, The Netherlands

>From 1975 to 2005, the Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre (SRRC) in
Pieterburen was confronted with 12 cases of seals that had ingested a
fish-hook. During the autopsy on ten seals, performations were found in the
oesophagus, stomach, and intestines. Two seals survived the ingestion of a
fish-hook by being fed cotton wool, which prevented a perforation. Most
hooks were identified as hooks used in fisheries around wrecked vessels to
catch cod. Fishermen are therefore advised to take preventive measures.
Guerrero-Ruiz*, M., H. Pérez-Cortés M., M. Salinas Z., and J. Urbán R. 2006.
First mass stranding of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the Gulf of
California, Mexico. Aquatic Mammals 32(3):261-264.

*Programa de Investigacion de Mamiferos Marinos, Departamento de Biologia
Marina, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur, A.P. 19-B, La Paz,
B.C.S., C.P. 23081, Mexico

We present the first report of a mass stranding of killer whales (Orcinus
orca) in Mexican waters. This species is a temporal inhabitant of the
region. On 31 July 2000, eight killer whales stranded alive at the southern
tip of Isla San Jose in Bahia de La Paz (24 deg 54’N, 110 deg 35’ W). All
the individuals died despite the attempts performed by local fishermen to
return them to the sea. The group consisted of an undetermined number of
females, immature males, and two calves. Skin and blubber samples were
collected, as well as a skull on 2 August from a 4.6-m immature male. A
second skull was collected on 19 August, which belonged to an individual of
undetermined sex that measured 5 m in length. The teeth from both
individuals were completely worn down. A couple of months later, two other
skulls were collected. Individual strandings of killer whales are rare, and
six records have been documented in the Mexican Pacific and Gulf of
California. This report represents the first mass stranding of killer whales
in Mexico. Since 1972, more than 160 killer whale sightings have been
collected in the Gulf of California, with more than 90 photo-identified
killer whales; nevertheless, no matches with the stranded individuals were
found. There are few cases of killer whales found stranded live, probably as
a result of whales chasing or following prey, or as a result of an outgoing
tide. Causes of this stranding remain unknown.

Mattioli, S.*, and D.P. Domning. 2006. An annotated list of extant skeletal
material of Steller’s sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) (Sirenia: Dugongidae)
from the Commander Islands. Aquatic Mammals 32(3):273-288.

*Sezione di Ecologia Comportamentale, Etologia e Gestione della Fauna,
Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali, Universita di Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli,
53100 Sienna, Italia

A new survey has permitted us to ascertain that at least 27 skeletons, 62
additional skulls, and more than 550 bones of Hydrodamalis gigas from the
Commander Islands are currently stored in 51 museums in 42 localities. It is
possible that only two to four skeletons originate from a single individual.
The other skeletons are assemblages of bones from two to 16 animals. After
27 years of heavy persecution, the Steller’s sea cow was exterminated in
about 1768. For decades after extinction, no osteological evidence indicated
the existence of H. gigas. The first bones were likely retrieved shortly
before 1840, the first partial skull was collected in 1844, and the first
skeleton was unearthed in 1855. Most of the skeletal remains were found
under the supervision of N.A. Grebnitskiy, A.E. Nordenskiöld, B. Dybowski,
and L.H. Stejneger. One skeleton and several bones have been collected in
recent decades.
Kurihara, N., and S. Oda. 2006. Cranial variation and taxonomic revision of
bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.) from Japanese waters. Aquatic Mammals

*Graduate School of Bio-Agricultural Science, Nagoya University, Aichi
464-8601, Japan

We analyze the skulls of 27 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.) from the
water around Japan to clarify their systematics. We divided the Japanese
bottlenose dolphins into two morphological groups. Group A was comprised of
six specimens from the coastal waters of the Amami Islands,
Amakusa-Shimoshima Island, and Mikura Island. Group B included 21 specimens
from other waters around Japan. Comparisons with type specimens showed that
Groups A and B were identical to the types of T. aduncus and T. truncatus,
respectively. These results support previous molecular studies on some
specimens identified as T. aduncus.
Fontaine, M.C., * M. Galan, J-M Bouquegneau, and J.R. Michaux. 2006.
Efficiency of fluorescent multiplex polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) for
rapid genotyping of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) with 11
microsatellite loci. Aquatic Mammals 32(3):301-304.

*Laboratorie d’Oceanologie, Universite de Liege, Bat. B6c Allee de la Chimie
3, 4000 Liege, Belgique

We developed two multiplex sets (PPH1 and PPH2) to amplify 11 polymorphic
microsatellite loci previously used in harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)
studies with only four polymerase chain reactions (PCRs). PPH1 allows for
the amplification of six loci at once, and PPH2 requires three PCR reactions
to amplify five loci. These two multiplex sets were tested on 100 animals
from the Belgian coast and the Black Sea. They provided a rapid and
efficient genotyping procedure for large-scale population genetic studies.
Díaz López, B., 2006. Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) predation on a
marine fin fish farm: Some underwater observations. Aquatic Mammals

Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute (BDRI), V.Diaz 4, Golfo Aranci 07020
Sassari, Italy

This paper reports on the results of underwater observations of bottlenose
dolphin feeding
behaviour in a marine fin fish farm on the Sardinian coast in Italy from
2000 to 2005. During the study period, 178 underwater encounters were noted
during 79 sightings of bottlenose dolphins at a fish farm. Total time spent
underwater in the presence of dolphins was 284 min, with a mean encounter
duration of 1.6 ± 1.3 min. Bottlenose dolphins were primarily observed
hunting both schooling and solitary prey around the fish farm cages, using
seven cooperative and individual feeding strategies throughout the water
column. The underwater observations suggest that the use of different
feeding strategies is consistent with the hypothesis that bottlenose
dolphins apply common decision rules in relation to prey availability,
resulting in the use of different foraging techniques. The observed
frequency of the feeding strategies employed by dolphins preying directly on
farmed fish could be worrisome for aquaculture.
Williams, M.T.*, C.S. Nations, T.G. Smith, V.D. Moulton, and C.J. Perham.
2006. Ringed seal (Phoca hispida) use of subnivean structures in the Alaskan
Beaufort Sea during development of an oil production facility. Aquatic
Mammals 32(3):311-324.

*LGL Alaska Research Associates, Inc., 1101 E. 76th Avenue, Suite B,
Anchorage, AK 99518, USA

We investigated whether ringed seal (Phoca hispida) use of breathing holes
and lairs (structures) during winter and spring was affected by construction
and drilling on Northstar Island, built in the nearshore Alaskan Beaufort
Sea. Trained dogs searched the sea ice for structures within 3.5 km of
Northstar during each of three survey periods: November/December 2000, March
2001, and May 2001. Temperature sensors were placed in 54 different ringed
seal structures to determine dates of abandonment. Ringed seals created and
used sea ice structures within 11 to 3,500 m of Northstar activities. Of the
35 structures located in November and December 2000, 68% had been abandoned
by late March 2001. Of the 60 structures located in March 2001, 42% had been
abandoned by late May 2001. During all surveys combined, 181 structures were
located, and 118 (65%) were actively used by late May 2001. We used Cox
regression to determine three primary factors influencing the abandonment of
these structures: (1) structures found during later searches were
significantly less likely to be abandoned; (2) structures in areas of higher
ice deformation were significantly more likely to be abandoned; and (3)
structures farther from the ice road to Northstar were more likely to be
abandoned, though marginally significant. We would have predicted structures
closer to Northstar would have been abandoned at higher rates if Northstar
activities negatively affected seal use of structures. Ringed seals in the
Alaskan Beaufort Sea appear to create and abandon structures throughout the
winter and spring at rates higher than previously documented.
Castellote, M., and F. Fossa. 2006. Measuring acoustic activity as a method
to evaluate welfare in captive beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas).
Aquatic Mammals 32(3):325-333.

Parques Reunidos Valencia S.A.L’Oceanographific, Ciudad de las Artes y las
Ciencas, Valencia, Spain

Animal welfare evaluation is a difficult task. Behavioural and physiological
parameters are commonly used, but their interpretation is not always robust.
The study of vocal behaviour as an indicator of animal welfare has proven to
be effective in some terrestrial captive mammals, but little is known about
its application in marine mammals. The acoustic activity of two belugas
(Delphinapterus leucas) was monitored during two procedures: (1) before and
after air transportation to new facilities and (2) before and after the
introduction of four harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) to the same facilities.
After transportation, the underwater vocalization rate dropped dramatically,
remained very low during the next 4 wks, and did not reach the same level as
before the transport until the 5th wk. Similarly, the vocalization rate
decreased just after the introduction of the harbour seals, and it remained
low for 2 wks. The observed decrease in the acoustic activity of beluga
whales in both situations and the persistence of this change through time
suggests that the acoustic behaviour in this species is very sensitive to
environmental stressors. We propose that observation of underwater acoustic
activity in captive beluga whales is a potentially effective method to
monitor stress is a potentially effective method to monitor stress level and
adaptations to environmental changes in their facilities. This technique
must be explored further since it could be valuable in cetacean management
in oceanaria and rehabilitation centres.
K.A. Zagzebski*, F.M.D. Gulland, M. Haulena, M.E. Lander, D.J. Greig, L.
Gage, M.B. Hanson, P.K. Yochem, B.S. Stewart. 2006. Twenty-five years of
rehabilitation of odontocetes stranded in central and northern California,
1977 to 2002. Aquatic Mammals3 2(3): 334-345.

*The Marine Mammal Center, 1065 Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito, CA 94965, USA

Rehabilitation of stranded cetaceans is receiving increasing attention and
involves considerable financial and personnel resources, although the
survival rate appears to be low. To evaluate rehabilitation success, we
examined 25 years (1977 to 2002) of data on live-stranded odontocetes (n=70)
from northern California were rescued for rehabilitation. Thirty-five
animals (50%) died within the first 24 h of being rescued, 13 animals (19%)
died within the first week, seven animals (10%) died within a month, and
five animals (7%) survived longer than one month, but subsequently died.
Three animals (4%) were deemed nonreleasable and placed into captivity,
whereas five animals (7%) were released back into the wild. Two animals (3%)
were relocated and released; these animals were never seen again. Clinical
signs were nonspecific, and it was difficult to differentiate medical
problems that resulted from stranding from those that may have caused the
stranding. Causes of death included pneumonia (n=16), septicemia (n=6),
encephalitis (n=3), maternal separation (n=7), and blunt trauma (n=6). No
morbilliviral inclusion bodies or typically associated lesions were
detected. Cause of death was unknown for 23 cases. Myocardial degeneration
and contraction band necrosis (n=9) and nephrosis (n=4) probably resulted
from the stress of stranding. Ulcerative glossitis and esophagitis were
observed in most animals that were tube-fed in rehabilitation. Four animals
that had been in rehabilitation for more than 1 wk had rhabdomyolysis and
one had scoliosis. These data indicate that the success of rehabilitating
and releasing stranded odontocetes in California is minimal, and the stress
of stranding and rehabilitation in addition to pre-existing disease can
result in morbidity and mortality. Of the animals released, two common
dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and one harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)
were tagged with satellite transmitters. Transmissions were received for up
to 5 mo after release. Increased use of telemetry is essential for
post-release monitoring and evaluating rehabilitation success.
Cunningham-Smith, P.*, D.E. Colbert, R.S. Wells, and T. Speakman. 2006.
Evaluation of human interactions with a provisioned wild bottlenose dolphin
(Tursiops truncatus) near Sarasota Bay, Florida and efforts to curtail the
interactions. Aquatic Mammals 32(3):346-356.

*Center for Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Research, Mote Marine Laboratory,
1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236, USA

Boaters have provisioned a free-ranging bottlenose male dolphin (Tursiops
truncatus) for more than 15 years near Nokomis, Florida. The dolphin is a
well-known attraction to tourists and local boaters of his predictable
presence in a narrow section of the Intracoastal Waterway near the Albee
Road Bridge. Observations and records collected since 1990 documented this
animal being fed by and interacting with humans, sometimes resulting in
injury to the humans attempting to touch, feed, or swim with it. We
initiated a study in 1997 to document the dolphin’s interactions with
boaters, to characterize the frequency and types of boater interactions with
the animal, and to evaluate the effectiveness of public education and
enforcement efforts to curtail these illegal activities.

The project consisted of three phases: (1) a base-line study, (2) a docent
program, and (3) a follow-up study. Approximately 26% of the 1,797
interactions observed during the baseline study involved touching, teasing,
or splashing, and 11% of interactions involved feeding. The docent program
involved increased signage and the operation of a marked vessel to shadow
the dolphin, monitor the types and frequencies of interactions, and offer
educational materials about responsible wildlife viewing. Only 1.3% of
boaters interacted with the dolphin in the presence of the docents; more
than half of those questioned indicated that they were aware of the
illegality of their actions. During follow-up observations to assess the
effectiveness of the docent program and minimally increased law enforcement
efforts, boater interactions with the dolphin increased by 5% after docent
discussions. The docent and follow-up studies demonstrated that a small
segment of the boating public continue to interact with the dolphin in spite
of highly visible public education efforts. Increased law enforcement
efforts, including the application of well-publicized punitive sanctions,
may be required to bring about a further reduction in dolphin-human
interactions in this area.
Warren-Smith, A.B.*, and W.L. Dunn. 2006. Epimeletic behaviour toward a
seriously injured juvenile bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops sp.) in Port
Phillip, Victoria, Australia. Aquatic Mammals 32(3):357-362.

*Dolphin Research Institute, P.O. Box 77, Hastings, Victoria, 3915,

Various studies have shown dolphin social relationships to be complex, and
this is an area of research that is continually expanded. This paper
describes the first account of epimeletic behaviour observed in a small
resident population of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in Port Phillip,
Victoria, Australia. The presumed mother displayed nurturant epimeletic
behaviour, assisting a paralysed juvenile to swim. In addition, two adults
and a juvenile dolphin were also present during the observations. The three
additional dolphins did not assist in physically supporting the juvenile;
however, one exhibited succorant epimeletic behaviour towards the mother and
inured juvenile whenever a vessel was positioned close to the group. Once
the juvenile was euthanized, the group appeared agitated, showing short
dives in a directionally erratic manner. A postmortem revealed that the
juvenile’s spine was severed, and it was considered that this was caused by
a boat propeller.
Acquarone, M.*, E.W. Born, and J.R. Speakman. 2006. Field metabolic rates of
walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) measured by the doubly labeled water method.
Aquatic Mammals 32(3):363-369.

*Current address: Frue Kirkestraede 5, DK-5000 Odense, Denmark (MA)

The energy and food requirements of free-ranging pinniped species are
difficult to measure and, as a consequence, are unknown for most species.
They can be inferred from measures of Field Metabolic Rate (FMR) made by the
Doubly Labeled Water (DLW) method, however. In this work, we confirmed our
hypothesis that the FMR of pinnipeds measured by DLW can be described by an
allometric relationship as a function of body weight. Although costly and
difficult to apply, the DLW method is one of the few possible methods
generating estimates of energy demands for unrestrained, free-living
animals. The results of its application on two adult, male, free-living
Atlantic Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus), weighing 1,370 kg and 1,250
kg, respectively, estimated from length and girth measures, are
pre-estimated here. These data extend the size range of seven pinniped
species for which the DLW method has been applied by a factor of 10. The
animals were measured at a site in northeast Greenland (76 deg N) during the
summer. FMR was dependent on the pool model for estimating metabolic rate
and was approximately 13% higher when using the single-pool compared with
the two-pool model. The estimates using the two-pool model were 328.1 (SE
8.7) MJ*day-1 and 365.4 (SE 15.4) MJ*day-1 for each of the two walruses.
These figures were combined with estimated FMR using the same method in
seven other pinniped species to derive a new, refined predictive equation
for pinniped FMR (Ln-FMR [MJ*day-1]=0.173 = 0.816 Ln-Total Body Mass [kg]).
This equation suggest that pinniped food requirements might sometimes be
twice as high as that assumed in some fisheries models, which are based on
multiples of the theoretical basal metabolism.
Van der Schaar, M., and M. Andre. 2006. An alternative sperm whale (Physter
macrocephalus) coda naming protocol. Aquatic Mammals 32(3):370-373.

Laboratori d’Aplicacions Bioacustiques, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya
(UPC), Spain

Codas are characteristic acoustic signals that sperm whales produce in
social contexts. They consist of a short series of pulses that are repeated
several times within a short time interval. The analysis of these codas and
their possible group specificity have led some authors to believe that they
may also help understand population trends and geographical separation. The
use of a consistent tool for their comparison, therefore, appears necessary
to confirm these assumptions on a wide scale. Coda classification is
currently achieved by clustering codas into different types based on the
number of clicks per coda and their normalized inter-pulse intervals. This
labeling does not follow a clear protocol, however, making it difficult to
compare results from different studies. Therefore, an alternative naming
protocol for labeling the normalized coda clusters is suggested. The goal of
the protocol is to remove ambiguity and subjectivity from the current naming
schemes and to give a systematic approach to labeling the clusters by a
characterization of their rhythm. The protocol is demonstrated on coda
vocalizations recorded near the Canary Islands.
Adams, J.D., T. Speakman, E. Zolman, and L.H. Schwacke. 2006. Automating
imagine matching, cataloging, and analysis for photo-identification
research. Aquatic Mammals 32(3):373-384.

Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomedical Research, National
Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration, 219 Johnson Road, Charleston, SC 29412-9110,
USA; email: Jeff.Adams at noaa.gov

The expanding use of digital photography for marine mammal
photo-identification has created a need for tools to analyze and manage
growing image file archives. While database management systems have been
commonly employed to manage text and numerical data generated by
photo-identification research, their use for analysis and management of
associated image files has been limited. This paper describes a
photo-identification database management system with embedded image analysis
and management capabilities. Matching and cataloging are expedited using a
multiple-attribute, non-metric catalog sorting algorithm. Algorithm
efficiency at locating catalog matches under the multiple-attribute approach
required at least 50% fewer comparisons for 90% of the 409 individuals
tested. For 50% of the individuals, 80% fewer comparisons were required.
System utility is further extended through embedded mapping components that
allow researchers to visually inspect sighting locations following each
survey and to examine sighting histories for specific individuals. In
addition, a companion ArcGIS extension allows researchers to quickly explore
and interact with the photo-identification data within a GIS environment.
This system, while created for a bottlenose dolphin research application,
can be adapted to accommodate photo-identification research on a variety of
other species.
Book Reviews:
Tucker, T.* 2006. Review – Sea turtles: A complete guide to their biology,
behavior, and conservation. J.R. Spotila, John Hopkins University Press,
2004. ISBN 0-8018-8007-6Aquatic Mammals 32(3):385-387.

*Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program, Mote Marine Laboratory,
Sarasota, Florida 34236, USA
Noke Durden, W., and M.K. Stolen. 2006. Review – Marine mammals ashore: A
field guide for strandings (2nd edition). J.R. Geraci and V.J. Lounsbury,
National Aquarium in Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, 2005. ISBN 0-9774609-0-8.
Aquatic Mammals 32(3):388-389.

*Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, 6295 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida,
32821, USA
Cornick, L.A.* 2006. Review – The Gulf of Alaska: Biology and oceanography.
P.R. Mundy (ed.), Alaska SeaGrant College Program, University of
Alaska-Fairbanks, 2005. ISBN 1-56612-090-X. Aquatic Mammals 32(3):390.

*Marine Biology and Statistics, Department of Environmental Science, Alaska
Pacific University, 4101 University Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99508, USA;
lcornick at alaskapacific.edu
P. Whooley.* 2006. Review – The complete whale-watching handbook: A guide to
whales, dolphins, and porpoises of the world. B. Wilson and A. Wilson,
Voyageur Press, Stillwater, MN, 2006, ISBN 760325677. Aquatic Mammals

*Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Derren Rossmore Clonakilty Co. Cork

More information about the MARMAM mailing list