[MARMAM] Abstracts - Aquatic Mammals 34(1); 2008

Dagmar Fertl dagmar_fertl at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 25 15:52:17 PDT 2008

Apologies to those of you on both listserves, since you 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, Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, and International Marine Animal Trainer's Association sponsor the journal. 
Aquatic Mammals accepts a wide variety of papers on the care, conservation, medicine, and science of marine mammals.  Dr. Jeanette Thomas of Western Illinois University is the editor and Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski of Mystic Aquarium is the co-editor. These abstracts are posted as a courtesy to the Marmam editors and the sponsoring societies, as well as the managing editor of Aquatic Mammals. For more information on the journal, please follow the link: 
Please find below, the addresses (including email) of the authors to whom reprint requests and other inquiries should be directed. Thank you for your continued interest in these postings, as well as other publication postings to the listserves.
With regards,
Dagmar Fertl

dagmar_fertl at hotmail.com
Schofield, D.T.*, G. Early, F.W. Wenzel, K. Matassa, C. Perry, G. Beekman, B. Whitaker, Brent; E. Gebhard, W. Walton, and M. Swingle. 2008. Rehabilitation and homing behavior of a satellite-tracked harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). Aquatic Mammals 34(1):1-8.
*Current address: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pacific Islands Regional Office, 1601 Kapiolani Boulevard, Suite 1110, Honolulu, HI 96814; email: David.Schofield at noaa.gov
A yearling male harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) stranded alive on the shores of Avon, North Carolina, and was rehabilitated for nearly 10 mo at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the University of New England. The porpoise was released over 1,204 km north of its original stranding location and was tracked for 63 d with a satellite tag. The porpoise remained in the Gulf of Maine for 3 wks before moving south along the edge of the continental shelf, returning near to its original stranding site on the coast of North Carolina. Data suggests that the animal was thriving at the time of tag failure, 63 d after release. In this paper, the rehabilitation, release, tagging, tracking, and homing behavior (returning to a previously occupied home range or activity area) are described for this Northwest Atlantic harbor porpoise.
Blanchet, M-A.*, T. Nance, C. Ast, M. Wahlberg, and M. Acquarone. 2008. First case of a monitored pregnancy of a harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) under human care. Aquatic Mammals 34(1):9-20.
*Current address: Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA; no email address was provided
Most of the data collected on the reproduction of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) comes from by-caught or stranded animals and is therefore opportunistic in nature. Harbour porpoises kept in a human-controlled environment offer a unique opportunity to gather data on the same individual with a known history over a long period of time. At Fjord&Baelt in Kerteminde, Denmark, Freja, a 10-y-old female harbour porpoise, became pregnant in September 2005 and gave birth during the night between 24 and 25 July 2006. Routinely sampled parameters, such as food intake, weight, blubber-thickness, body-girth measurements, and respiration rates, did not follow the seasonal patterns observed the preceding years at the facility. These variables either increased or remained stable during the pregnancy. 

As the first sign of the approaching parturition, a dramatic drop in food intake occurred 8 d prior to her giving birth followed by a decrease in body temperature of 1° C at about 62 h before giving birth. Freja's intermammary distance also increased as the date of the birth approached, although this parameter cannot be used for immediate diagnosis of impending parturition. The newborn calf was found dead a few hours after the birth and appeared to be the result of a full-term gestation. This study describes some observable changes in behavioural, physical, and physiological parameters occurring in a primiparous harbour porpoise during gestation, which could be used in animal husbandry for this species.
Zani, M.A.*, J.K.D. Taylor, and S.D. Kraus. 2008. Observation of a right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) birth in the coastal waters of the southeast United States. Aquatic Mammals 34(1):21-24.
*Edgerton Research Laboratory, New England Aquarium, Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110, USA: email: mzani at neaq.org
The coastal waters of the southeast United States between Brunswick, Georgia, and Cape Canaveral, Florida, is the only known calving ground for the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). On 1 January 2005, during the New England Aquarium research team's standard aerial survey, a single right whale was observed at the surface 17 nmi east of the northern tip of Talbot Island, Florida. While circling over the whale to obtain photographs for individual identification, observers noticed a red coloration visible in the water around the whale that looked like blood. The water around the whale's belly, side, and flukes was clearly red, but the color was dispersing quickly due to the thrashing behavior of the whale. After 3 min and 37 s of observation, a calf appeared to the side of the adult. The calf had no visible cyamid coverage on the head, body, or flukes. The flukes appeared to be slightly limp and curled under at both tips. The mother lifted the calf to the surface on her back. As the mother rose to the surface, the calf was draped limply over her body. The calf rolled off the mother's back into the water and began to swim next to the mother. The event described here is the first known observation of behaviors that have been interpreted as a birth of a right whale calf.
Trites, A.W.* and D.G. Calkins. 2008. Diets of mature male and female Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) differ and cannot be used as proxies for each other. Aquatic Mammals 34(1):25-34.
*Marine Mammal Research Unit, Fisheries Centre, Room 247, AERL, 2204 Main Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4; email: a.trites at fisheries.ubc.ca

Disturbance of otariid breeding sites (rookeries) to determine diet from fecal remains (scats) could be eliminated if the diets of males using adjoining bachelor haulouts could be used as a proxy for diets of breeding females. We collected scats from sexually mature Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) at one male resting site (haulout) and three female dominated breeding sites (rookeries) at Forrester Island, southeast Alaska (June and July, 1994 to 1999) to test whether the diets of bachelor bulls differed from that of breeding females. Female diets were fairly evenly distributed between gadids, salmon, and small oily fishes (forage fish) and contained lesser amounts of rockfish, flatfish, cephalopods, and other fishes. The female diet did not differ significantly between the three rookeries, but it did differ significantly from that of males. Males consumed significantly fewer salmon and more pollock, flatfish, and rockfish compared to females. The males also consumed larger pollock compared to females. These dietary differences may reflect a sex-specific difference in foraging areas or differences in hunting abilities related to the disparity in physical sizes of males and females. The similarity of the female diets between rookeries suggests that female diets can be determined from samples collected at a single site within a rookery complex. Unfortunately, summer diets of breeding females cannot be ascertained from hard parts contained in the scats of mature male Steller sea lions.
LaCommare, K.S.*, C. Self-Sullivan, and S. Brault. 2008. Distribution and habitat use of Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus) in the Drowned Cayes area of Belize, Central America Aquatic Mammals 34(1):35-43.
*University of Massachusetts, Boston, Department of Biology, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125, USA: email: kslacommare1 at hotmail.com
Belize, Central America, has long been recognized as a stronghold for Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus) in the Caribbean (O'Shea & Salisbury, 1991). The Drowned Cayes area, in particular, has been noted as an important habitat (Bengston & Magor, 1979; O'Shea & Salisbury, 1991; Auil, 1998, 2004; Morales-Vela et al., 2000). It is critical to evaluate habitat use and the relative importance of different habitat types within these cayes because this area is increasingly impacted by human activities (Auil, 1998). The two research objectives for this paper are (1) to document manatee distribution within the Drowned Cayes, Swallow Caye, and Gallows Reef, and (2) to examine habitat use patterns in order to identify habitat characteristics influencing the probability of sighting a manatee. Binary logistic regression was used to examine whether the probability of sighting a manatee varied in relation to several habitat variables. The probability of sighting a manatee across all points was 0.31 per scan (n = 795). Habitat category, seagrass category, and habitat category interaction with resting hole were the most important variables explaining the probability of sighting a manatee. The Drowned Cayes area clearly constitutes a manatee habitat area. Seagrass flats and cove habitats with resting holes were especially important habitat characteristics.
Goodwin, L. 2008. Diurnal and tidal variations in habitat use of the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in southwest Britain. Aquatic Mammals 34(1):44-53.
*Department of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circhus, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 8AA, UK; email: lissa.goodwin at plymouth.ac.uk
With the United Kingdom required to designate Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) under Natura 2000 by 2012, it is important to understand site-specific activity and habitat use in order to identify potential sites. Shore-based observations of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) were carried out from two sites in North Devon, UK. Morte Point was surveyed during August and September 2001 and Lee Bay was observed during August and September 2002. Focal group follows were conducted to monitor porpoise behaviour and movement over tidal and diurnal cycles. At Morte Point, porpoises were found to aggregate in an area of high tidal flow, where prey items are likely to be abundant. While no differences were observed in occurrence during diurnal and tidal cycles, group size and distance from shore were found to be statistically significant with time of day at Morte Point. Porpoises were observed feeding here 59.9% of the time, with 78.0% of feeding taking place in multi-species associations and larger group sizes being observed at this site. At Lee Bay, porpoises were found to utilise an area of high heterogeneity, where rocky out-crops divide an otherwise sandy bay. In contrast to Morte Point, porpoises were observed feeding at Lee Bay 27.6% of the time, spending 34.7% of the time engaged in travelling in smaller groups. Despite these differences, behaviour and group size between the two sites were not found to be significantly different. At Lee Bay, tidal variation was observed in behaviour, group size, and distance from shore. It is thought that Morte Point represents an important feeding area, while Lee Bay provides a corridor between more productive feeding sites. This study highlights the site-specific nature of diurnal and tidal trends as differences in habitat use were observed for two sites geographically close together.
Mazzoil, M.S.*, S.D. McCulloch, M.J. Youngbluth, D.S. Kilpatrick, E.M. Murdoch, B. Mase-Guthrie, D.K. Odell, and G.D. Bossart. 2008. Radio-tracking and survivorship of two rehabilitated bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida. Aquatic Mammals 34(1):54-64.
*Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University – Marine Mammal Research and Conservation, 5600 U.S. 1 North, Ft. Pierce, FL 34946, USA; email: Mmazzoil at hboi.fau.edu
Despite an increase in the number of stranded dolphins rehabilitated and returned to the wild, the survivorship of these cetaceans is poorly documented. Since rehabilitation and release programs remain limited in scope, the release of dolphins from different age and sex cohorts provides information that is pertinent to protocols for future release candidates. Novel opportunities to track the survivorship of two rehabilitated bottlenose dolphins with radio transmitters occurred in 2001 and 2003 in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), Florida. Both dolphins were male and had been identified prior to rehabilitation during a photo-identification monitoring program. Dolphin C6 stranded with multiple life-threatening shark wounds in 2000, at age 24, and was released after a successful 6-mo period of rehabilitation. This dolphin re-established an existing male pair-bond with dolphin C7, traveled 67 km from the release site, and survived 100 d before he died from asphyxiation by an exotic fish that lodged in his pharynx. Carter, a calf orphaned in 2003 at 1 y of age, was released following a 3-mo period of care that provided adequate nutrition and weight gain needed for survival in the wild. This young dolphin remained within a 10-km radius of the release site, failed to form a stable relationship with other dolphins, and appeared to have survived only 7 d when radio transmissions from an acoustic tag ceased. These two cases represent the radio-tracking studies of the oldest and youngest known bottlenose dolphins rehabilitated and released in the IRL.
Watson, A.*, R.J. Bahr, and T. Matheson. 2008. Metacarpo-phalangeal anomalies in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Aquatic Mammals 34(1):65-70(6).
*Department of Physiologcal Sciences, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA; email: awatson at okstate.edu
Radiographs of 99 intact flippers from 60 sub-adult to adult bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), all stranded on the Texas coast from 1990 to 1995, were examined to determine location and nature of lesions in the metacarpal and phalangeal bones. Eleven flippers from seven mature dolphins (2.35 to 2.45 m TL) had radiographically obvious lesions: three dolphins had conjoined metacarpal III - first phalanx, which appeared as a bilateral congenital developmental anomaly with incomplete separation and defective formation of the metacarpo-phalangeal joint; two dolphins had degenerative joint disease of the metacarpal III - first phalangeal joint; and two dolphins had metacarpal II - first phalanx lesions. The acquired lesions showed similarities to those seen in domestic mammals. The distinct affinity of both developmental and degenerative lesions for the metacarpal III - first phalanx in these dolphins is noteworthy.
Weir, C.R.* 2008. Overt responses of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), and Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) to seismic exploration off Angola. Aquatic Mammals 34(1):71-83(13).
*Ketos Ecology, 4 Compton Road, West Charleton, Kindsbridge, Devon TQ7 2BP, UK; email: Caroline.weir at ketosecology.co.uk
A total of 2,769 h of marine mammal observation was conducted from a seismic survey vessel off Angola between August 2004 and May 2005. A dual-source airgun array firing a total volume of either 5,085 in3 (Survey 1) or 3,147 in3 (Survey 2) in an alternate source activation sequence was active during 51% of the analysed effort. A total of 207 sightings of humpback whales (n = 66), sperm whales (n = 124), and Atlantic spotted dolphins (n = 17) was recorded. The encounter rate (sightings/h) of humpback and sperm whales did not differ significantly according to airgun operational status. The mean distance to humpback and sperm whale sightings was greater during full-array operations than during guns off, but this difference was not significant. Atlantic spotted dolphin encounters occurred at a significantly greater distance from the airgun array (p < 0.001) during full-array operations than during guns off. Positive-approach behaviour by Atlantic spotted dolphins (n = 9) occurred only during guns-off periods. There was no evidence for prolonged or large-scale displacement of each species from the region during the 10-mo survey duration. Sperm whale sightings showed a significant increase (p < 0.001) during the survey, while Atlantic spotted dolphin encounters occurred at similar rates. A decreased occurrence of humpback whale sightings (p < 0.001) corresponded with established seasonal migration out of the survey area. Contrary to expectation based on perceived sensitivity, Atlantic spotted dolphins exhibited the most marked overt response to airgun sound of the three cetacean species examined.
Steiner, A.* and M. Bossley. 2008. Some reproductive parameters of an estuarine population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus). Aquatic Mammals 34(1):84-92(9).
*Universite de Neuchatel, Faculte des Sciences, rue Emile-Argand 11, 2007 Neuchatel, Switzerland; email; aude.steiner at unine.ch
The Port River estuary (Adelaide, South Australia) supports a population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) despite its heavily modified habitat. This paper reports the calving season, birth rate, calf mortality, and inter-birth interval of the resident population, all factors important in the conservation of this population. Between 1989 and 2005, 1,176 boat surveys were undertaken, covering all seasons for each year. All dolphins encountered were photographed, and their location, number, age category, and behaviour were recorded. Dolphin identity was determined a posteriori using photo-identification. Results indicated a calving season from December to March, which coincided with the maximum surface water temperature of the estuary. Inter-birth intervals were consistent with the literature—3.8 y when the previous calf was weaned and 1.7 y when the previous calf died—with the exception of one special case. Forty-five calves were born to resident females between 1989 and 2005, and the average crude birth rate was 0.064, which is similar to that found for other bottlenose dolphin populations. First-year calf mortality (30%) and mortality rate for calves prior to weaning (46%) were higher than mortality rates described for other locations. Minimal predation is thought to occur in the estuary, and there was no evidence of poor condition in the mothers, suggesting that the high mortality rates were caused by direct impacts on calves such as entanglements, boat strikes, deliberate attacks, or exposure to toxic pollution.
Vecchione, A.*, M.M. Peden-Adams, T.A. Romano, and P.A. Fair. 2008. Recent cytokine findings and implications toward health assessment of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Aquatic Mammals 34(1):93-101.
*Department of Bioscience, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, B15 2TT, UK; email: anna_vecchione at hotmail.com
Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are top-level marine predators and represent a sentinel species for ocean health. The study of cytokines and immunocellular function are important components for assessing the overall health status of wild dolphins. Recent studies have generated an increased number of identified cytokine molecules in T. truncatus, which will help in furthering health assessment in this species as they can be used in vitro to determine how pollutants or environmental stressors can influence plasma cytokine expression profiles, cell proliferation, and cytokine gene expression in tissues. Additionally, identification of T. truncatus immune modulators is important as the use of nonspecies-specific cytokines in some assays could lead to ambiguous results. Herein, the authors review some of the recent findings regarding T. truncatus cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1, IL-2, IL-4, IL-8, interferon gamma (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), and indicate the possible use of Granulocyte Macrophage Colony Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF) for in vitro qualitative and quantitative production of macrophage granulocyte lineages in bottlenose dolphins. Finally, the authors underline the importance of cytokine biological activity to obtain an accurate evaluation of the bottlenose dolphin immuno-physiological status in relation to environmental contamination.
Young, J.K.* and L.R. Gerber. 2008. The influence of social composition on reproductive behavior of territorial male California sea lions. Aquatic Mammals 34(1):102-108. 
*School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-4501 USA; email: jyoung at wcs.org
The behavior of territorial males in a polygynous mating species may be influenced by a variety of factors related to site-specific conditions. In this paper, the behavioral dynamics of territorial male California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) are characterized throughout the breeding season and across rookery sites at Los Islotes Island in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Observations focused on three spatially distinct rookeries at Los Islotes that varied in the number and density of territorial males, the number of females, and the number of subadult males. Rates of male and female aggression were similar among sites and across the season. However, differences in female/territory defense and self-maintenance behaviors were exhibited by territorial males among sites and throughout the breeding season. Multiple regression analysis revealed a relationship between self-maintenance behavior and the number of females and males present. The time territorial males spent moving and in territorial maintenance was associated with the density of females within a territory. Males also exhibited higher levels of movement when more males were present. Finally, male California sea lions showed lower movement rates but higher amounts of time spent in territorial defense as the breeding season progressed. By comparing behaviors of territorial male California sea lions under different social compositions, this study illustrates the costs, benefits, and mechanisms of male territoriality.
Sousa-Lima, R.S.*, A.P. Paglia, and G.A.B. da Fonseca. 2008. Gender, age, and identity in the isolation calls of Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus). Aquatic Mammals 34(1):109-122.
*Bioacoustics Research Program, Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850; email: rs132 at cornell.edu
Empirical evidence of individual vocal recognition has been reported for the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis) and the West Indian manatee (T. manatus). Underwater vocalizations of 15 Antillean manatees (T. m. manatus) were recorded to verify if this subspecies also conveys individual information through their calls. The isolation calls selected for analysis were digitized to measure eight different variables. Individual vocal patterns were analyzed within two age classes (calves and others) and between sexes. Discriminant function analysis for each age class grouped vocalizations by individual, based on variables related to the fundamental frequency and call duration. Female calls were longer in duration and presented a higher fundamental frequency but lower peak frequency values than males. Calves had significantly higher values for all eight acoustic variables measured with respect to frequency and time. Higher values for all frequency parameters in calf calls and the inverse relationship between total body length and peak frequency suggests that younger, smaller animals emit higher frequency sounds. Furthermore, higher values obtained for the fundamental frequency range of calves and the inverse relationship of this variable with total body length suggest that the fundamental frequency becomes more defined as the animal ages. Vocal learning and genetic inheritance are discussed based on the analyses of vocal patterns among related individuals. In addition to facilitating individual recognition as a possible factor in Antillean manatee social interactions, vocal identity provides a potential means of estimating the size and structure of sirenian populations.
Vergara, V.* and L.G. Barrett-Lennard. 2008. Vocal development in a beluga calf (Delphinapterus leucas). Aquatic Mammals 34(1):123-143.
*Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, #6270 University Boulevard, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z4: email: vergara at zoology.ubc.ca 
Acoustic communication is central to the socioecology of cetaceans. Knowledge of the ontogeny of their extensive repertoires is scant, and even less is known about the role of learning in vocal development. To examine these issues, the development of calls of one male beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) calf was systematically studied at the Vancouver Aquarium throughout his first year of life and opportunistically through his second and third years. He vocalized within the first hour after birth, producing exclusively low energy, broadband pulse trains. Both the dominant frequency and the pulse repetition rate of the pulsed calls increased with age. He acquired rudimentary whistles at 2 wks of age. During the second month, whistle production increased substantially. Whistle dominant frequency tended to increase with age, and at least in his first year, whistles did not attain full stereotypy. The calf started using mixed call types consistently at 4 mo. While some sounds tended to be more variable at later ages, his mixed calls progressively lost variability and increasingly resembled his mother's most predominant stereotyped mixed call type. By 20 mo, this call type was fully stereotyped. Six months after he was exposed to his father's sounds, he incorporated one of his father's call types into his repertoire. These findings are discussed in light of current theories of sound production mechanisms in odontocetes, developmental stages of vocal acquisition, and vocal learning.
Broderick, A.C. *2008. Book review: Turtles of the World by Franck Bonin, Bernard Davaux, and Alain Dupré. Translated by Peter C.H. Pitchard. John Hopkins University Press. 2006. Aquatic Mammals 34(1):144-144.
*Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter, UK; no email address provided
Solntseva, G.N. *2008. Reply to J. G. M. Thewissen's Review of the Book Morphology of the Auditory and Vestibular Organs in Mammals, with Emphasis on Marine Species by Galina N. Solntseva. Pensoft Publishers and Brill Academic Publishers, Sofia, Leiden. 2007. Aquatic Mammals 34(1):145-146.
*Professor at the Laboratory for Bioacoustics, A.N. Severtsov, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences; email: g-solntseva at yandex.ru
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