[MARMAM] Abstracts - Aquatic Mammals 34(2); 2008

Dagmar Fertl dagmar_fertl at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 28 12:28:53 PDT 2008

Dear Marmam and ECS-mailbase subscribers,
Apologies to those of you who will get duplicate emails due to cross-posting. The following are abstracts from the most recent issue of Aquatic Mammals, the scientific peer-reviewed journal of the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM).  Abstracts are presented as a courtesy to the EAAM and the journal editors – Drs. Jeanette Thomas (managing editor; aquaticmammals at gmail.com) and Kathleen Dudzinski (co-editor; kdudzinski at dolphincommunicationproject.org). The journal publishes papers dealing with all aspects of the care, conservation, medicine and science of aquatic mammals. The journal receives support of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums and the International Marine Animal Trainers' Association (IMATA). For more information on the journal, please go to: http://www.aquaticmammalsjournal.org/. Contact information is provided for the corresponding author for each article. Please do not contact the listserve editors or me for pdfs or copies of the articles.
This issue introduces a new feature to the journal:  “Historical Perspective” and will allow readers a chance to revisit some of the history of marine mammal science and scientists who make the field possible. Each contribution will include a brief biography of the author and an introduction to the topic on which he or she has written. The topic typically is one that was a focus or mainstay of the author’s career in the science or management of marine mammals. These features might include mild commentaries as well as personal stories, funny essays, advice to young scientists, or shared journeys with colleagues. The written essays for this section will also have archived video interviews available for a nominal fee. The video-documented interviews will be compiled onto DVD with additional images, video, and other archival material from each author. DVDs will be announced on the Aquatic Mammals website when available. Short trailers will be viewable on the website. These nominal fees will support the production of the DVDs as well as a fund to support graduate assistantships for the journal.  Videos will be available beginning in Autumn 2008.
Thank you for your continued interest in the journal and these postings. 
With regards,
Dagmar Fertl
Ziphius EcoServices

Hasselmeier, I.*, S. Fonfara, J. Driver, and U. Siebert. 2008. Differential hematology profiles of free-ranging, rehabilitated, and captive harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) of the German North Sea. Aquatic Mammals 34(2):149-156.
*Research and Technology Center Westcoast of the University of Kiel, Werfstr. 6, 25761 Büsum, Germany; email: ih at ftz-west.uni-kiel.de

The hematology profile is an established tool to monitor health status and to help detect emerging diseases in animals. Knowledge of normal ranges is required, however, to evaluate blood results (e.g., WBC, neutrophils, eosinophils, monocytes, hemoglobin). Differential hematology profiles of three harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) groups (free-ranging animals, rehabilitated pups, and captive seals at the Seal Center Friedrichskoog), collected between 1997 and 2004, were compared. The three different groups are representative of the population of harbor seals in the German North Sea. Results indicated that these groups differed significantly from one another in their hematology profiles, thus data were re-examined with respect to hematology profile variation according to location (i.e., wild, rehabilitated, captive), age (i.e., pups, yearlings, adults), and season (i.e., spring, summer, autumn). This represents the first time that a large number of hematology profile results (n = 793) were collected from three groups of a single population, resulting in the establishment of baseline values (5 and 95 percentiles, median). This study is an important contribution to the understanding and assessment of the health status of harbor seals.
Sarran, D.*, D.J. Greig, C.A. Rios, T.S. Zabka, and F.M.D. Gulland. 2008. Evaluation of aqueous humor as a surrogate for serum biochemistry in California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). Aquatic Mammals 34(2):157-165.
*The Marine Mammal Center, 1065 Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito, CA 94965, USA; email: gullandf at tmmc.org

The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of post mortem aqueous humor analysis in estimating serum chemistry in California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). Serum and aqueous humor from the left eye were collected from 35 sea lions that were euthanized due to poor prognosis. Each animal was examined post mortem, and each head was preserved at ambient temperature. Aqueous humor was collected from the right eye either 24 or 48 h after death. All samples were analyzed with an automated chemistry analyzer by bichromatic photometry and potentiometry. Blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, sodium, chloride, and magnesium showed significant positive linear relationships between serum and aqueous humor values both at the time of death and 24 h later. For aqueous humor sampled after 48 h, the relationships were only significant for blood urea nitrogen and creatinine. For the remaining chemistry parameters, the relationship between levels of those from serum and in aqueous humor were not significant. Serum and aqueous humor collected from 15 animals diagnosed with renal failure were evaluated for antibodies to Leptospira using the microscopic agglutination test. All tested sera were positive for L. interrogans serovar pomona, with titers greater than 1:25,600. Of titers tested in the aqueous humor, 56% were positive, having values of 1:200 to 1:12,800. These results indicate that an accurate estimate of serum blood urea nitrogen and creatinine can be made from the analysis of aqueous humor at necropsy of California sea lions within 48 h of death, facilitating the diagnosis of renal failure in beached carcasses (one of the most common causes of death in wild sea lions).
Bossart, G.D.*, T.A. Romano, M.M. Peden-Adams, C.D. Rice, P.A. Fair, J.D. Goldstein, D. Kilpatrick, K. Cammen, and J.S. Reif. 2008. Hematological, biochemical, and immunological findings in Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) with orogenital papillomas. Aquatic Mammals 34(2):166-177.
*Center for Coastal Research, Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Program, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University, 5600 U.S. 1 North, Ft. Pierce, FL 34946, USA; email: gbossart at hboi.fau.edu

The first cases of orogenital sessile papillomas associated with a novel gammaherpesvirus and papillomavirus were recently reported in free-ranging Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). The tumors appear to be sexually transmitted and are now occurring in epidemic proportions in some coastal areas. This study describes the hematological, biochemical, and immunological findings in free-ranging bottlenose dolphins with orogenital papillomas from the coastal waters of South Carolina and Florida. Blood samples were obtained from 22 dolphins with papillomas and 86 healthy dolphins. Few statistically significant differences were found for hematological and serum chemistry variables. Serum iron was significantly lower and serum bicarbonate significantly higher in dolphins with orogenital papillomas compared with healthy dolphins. However, dolphins with tumors had multiple abnormalities in serum proteins and immunologic parameters. Serum protein electrophoresis results demonstrated significantly elevated levels of total globulin, total alpha globulin, and alpha-2 globulin in dolphins with orogenital papillomas. Gamma globulins were also elevated in dolphins with orogenital papillomas although not significantly. Innate immunity was up-regulated in dolphins with tumors. Granulocytic and monocytic phagocytosis and superoxide respiratory bursts were significantly higher in dolphins with orogenital tumors compared with healthy dolphins. Adaptive immunity appeared to be relatively intact with an up-regulated humoral immune response; statistically significant increases were found in B-lymphocyte proliferation and antibody titers to the common marine microorganisms Escherichia coli, Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, Mycobacterium marinum, Vibrio cholerae, V. carchariae, V. vulnificus, and V. parahemolyticus. The only adaptive immune system variable significantly lower in dolphins with tumors was the percentage of lymphocytes expressing MHC class II molecules, suggesting possible impaired or down-regulated expression as has been noted in humans with viral infections. The clinically relevant results indicate that dolphins with orogenital papillomas demonstrate hypoferremia, hyperglobulinemia, and hyperalphaglobulinemia likely associated with an acute-phase inflammatory response and up-regulated innate and humoral immunity, all possible responses to the tumors and/or the viruses associated with the tumors. Also, dolphins with orogenital papillomas may have enhanced innate and humoral adaptive immunity because of increased exposure to other directly transmitted pathogens.
Beekman, G.K.* 2008. Type III hiatal hernia in a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina concolor). Aquatic Mammals 34(2):178-181.
*Marine Rehabilitation Center, University of New England, Biddeford, ME 04005, USA; email: gbeekman at maine.rr.com (current address: Coastal Cats Feline Health Care, 470 U.S. Route One, York, ME 03909, USA)

A 1-y-old male harbor seal (Phoca vitulina concolor), identified by a flipper tag as an animal previously rehabilitated, was found stranded and was euthanized. Postmortem examination revealed a type III hiatal hernia, with the lower esophageal sphincter and approximately 80% of the stomach within the hernia sac. The stomach had an organoaxial volvulus. No ingesta were found in the animal's digestive tract, and the hernia likely contributed to this animal's stranding. During the animal's previous stay in a rehabilitation facility, it had undergone inhalation anesthesia, including intermittent positive pressure ventilation. This appears to be the first description of hiatal hernia in a phocid seal.
Gulland, F.M.D.*, F.B. Nutter, K. Dixon, J. Calambokidis, G. Schorr, J. Barlow, T. Rowles, S. Wilkin, T. Spradlin, L. Gage, J. Mulsow, C. Reichmuth, M. Moore, J. Smith, P. Folkens, S.F. Hanser, S. Jang, and C.S. Baker. 2008. Health assessment, antibiotic treatment, and behavioral responses to herding efforts of a cow-calf pair of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Sacramento River Delta, California. Aquatic Mammals 34(2):182-192.
*The Marine Mammal Center, 1065 Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito, CA 94965, USA; email: gullandf at tmmc.org

A mother and female calf humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) pair were observed at an atypical location, 72 nmi inland in the Port of Sacramento, California, on 16 May 2007. Sequencing of mtDNA from a skin biopsy showed the cow to be an E1 haplotype, which is common in the California feeding population. Both animals had lacerations, suggesting sharp trauma from a boat strike. Photographs taken over 11 d showed generalized deterioration of skin condition and necrotic wound edges. Behavioral responses were recorded during attempts to move the animals downriver to the Pacific Ocean. The attempts included playback of alarm tones, humpback and killer whale sounds, banging hollow steel pipes ("Oikami pipes"), spraying water from fire hoses on the water surface, and utilizing tug and power boat engine noise and movement. None of these deterrents resulted in significant, consistent downstream movement by the whales. Antibiotic therapy (ceftiofur) was administered by a dart, representing the first reported antibiotic treatment of free-ranging live whales. After 11 d, the animals swam downstream from fresh water at Rio Vista to brackish water, and their skin condition noticeably improved 24 h later. The animals followed the deep-water channel through the Sacramento Delta and San Francisco Bay, reaching the ocean at least 20 d after first entering the Sacramento River.
Visser, I.N.*, M.P. Drennan, R.W. White, S.F. MacLean, L.C. Lagerstrom, and J.M. Francis. 2008. Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) observed predating Adélie (Pygoscelis adeliae) and chinstrap penguins (P. antarctica), Antarctic Peninsula. Aquatic Mammals 34(2):193-199.
*P.O. Box 402043, Tutukaka, 0153 New Zealand; email: ingrid at orca.org.nz

Fur seals of various species are known to feed on penguins. This has been ascertained primarily from scat analyses and occasionally from behavioural observations. In February 2007, five cases of Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) predating on Adélie (Pygoscelis adeliae) and Chinstrap penguins (P. antarctica) were observed. These observations might indicate an increase in fur seal predation on seasonally abundant penguins or simply might reflect a biased sample of a few individuals who specialize in this type of foraging.
Stockin, K.A.*, G.J. Pierce, V. Bindell, N. Wiseman, and M.B. Orams. 2008. Factors affecting the occurrence and demographics of common dolphins (Delphinus sp.) in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. Aquatic Mammals 34(2):200-211.
*Coastal-Marine Research Group, Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University, Private Ba 102 904, North Shore MSC, New Zealand; email: K.A.Stockin at massey.ac.nz

The common dolphin (Delphinus sp.) is the most frequently observed cetacean species in the Hauraki Gulf, a large shallow body of water on the northeastern coastline of North Island, New Zealand. Herein, we present the first data relating to the occurrence and distribution of common dolphins in this region and assess the possible effects of abiotic parameters on the demographics of this population. The presence of associated marine species is quantified, and differences in the occurrence and demographics of single and multi-species groups are examined. Sightings data were collected between February 2002 and January 2005 during boat-based surveys. We recorded 719 independent encounters with common dolphins, involving 1 to > 300 animals. Dolphin presence was significantly affected by month, latitude and depth. Group size varied significantly by month, season, depth, sea surface temperature (SST) and latitude, and was highly skewed towards smaller groups made up of < 50 animals. Larger aggregations were most frequent during the austral winter when nutrient upwelling typically leads to increased prey availability within the region. Over 70% of groups encountered contained immature animals and 25% of groups included neonates. Calves were observed throughout the year but were most prevalent in the austral summer months of December and January. Month, season, depth, and SST significantly affected group composition. Common dolphins were observed in association with four cetacean and eight avian species, most frequently with the Australasian gannet (Morus serrator) and the Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera brydei). The distribution of dolphin-only groups differed significantly from that of dolphin-whale groups, with mono-specific groups found on average in waters that were 3.6 m shallower and 3.1°C warmer. The year-round occurrence and social organisation of common dolphins in Hauraki Gulf waters suggest this region is important both as a calving and nursery ground.
Hasselberg, B.A.*, and J.A. Thomas. 2008. Using an infrared temperature sensor to study microhabitat selection in captive California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). Aquatic Mammals 34(2):212-228. 
*Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University-Quad Cities, 3561 60th Street, Moline, IL 61265, USA; email: bhasselb at uiuc.edu and jeanettethomaswiu at gmail.com
We used the Professional Equipment T7350 Series Infrared Thermometer to measure the temperature of haulout areas and pool water available to three adult California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) at the Peoria Zoo. The handheld, battery-operated sensor was pointed at a surface, a red laser light indicated the location of the reading, and the temperature was read on the digital display. To test its reliability over distance, repeated measurements were taken on each sea lion held at station by a trainer in an indoor enclosure at 1 and 3 m away. 
Ambient air temperature and the temperature of eight haulout areas, as well as the water temperature in the three pools, were taken at 15-min intervals during zoo operating hours each week over a 10-mo period; weather conditions ranged from cold winter (−2.8° C [27.0° F]) to hot summer (37.8° C [100.0° F]) days. At the same intervals, each of the sea lion's skin temperatures (at the dorsal torso, fore-flipper, and hind-flipper) were measured and their location in the exhibit was noted. In addition, each sea lion's behavior was scored into one of eight classes when the measurements were taken. 
The sensor could not measure the body temperature of a submerged sea lion, only the water temperature. However, the infrared thermometer accurately measured the sea lion's skin temperature while on land, exposed skin when the animal was partially submerged, and the temperature of the substrate. Since the unit is inexpensive, non-invasive, portable, and takes readings at a reasonable distance, the infrared temperature sensor is a useful tool to help zookeepers monitor the temperatures of the microhabitats of the captive animals. In addition, the sensor could have applications for studies of thermoregulation or health in captive and wild pinnipeds. Some topics for further research are identified, which would help clarify the overall usefulness of this infrared sensor.

Historical Perspectives 
Scheffer, V.B. 2008. Reflections on the human condition. Aquatic Mammals 34(2):231-254.

Book Reviews
Osinga, N. and P. ‘t Hart. 2008. Book Review: Whales, Dolphins and Seals: A Field Guide to the Marine Mammals of the World. Hadoram Shirihai (Author) and Brett Jarrett (Illustrator). A&C Black Publishers Ltd., London. 2006. Aquatic Mammals 34(2):255-256.  *Contact info: Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre, Hoofdstraat 94a, 9968 AG Pieterburen, The Netherlands; email: no address provided
Simmonds, M. 2008. Book Review: In Defense of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier. Thomas I. White. Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. 2007. Aquatic Mammals 34(2):257-258.    *Contact info: International Director of Science, The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), Brookfield House, 38 St. Paul Street, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 1LJ, UK; email: mark.simmonds at wdcs.org
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