[MARMAM] New Paper: Incidence of poxvirus lesions in dolphins from Australia - links to floods

Christine Fury cfury10 at gmail.com
Thu Jan 26 19:25:21 PST 2012

Dear List members,

We are pleased to announce the publication of our paper.

Fury, C.A., and Reif, J.S. 2012. Incidence of poxvirus-like lesions 
in two estuarine dolphin populations in Australia: Links to flood 
events. Science of The Total Environment 416: 536-540. 

Abstract: We report on the incidence of poxvirus-like lesions 
assessed by photographic identification in two estuarine populations 
of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in Australia over a 3-year 
period. Poxvirus infections of odontocetes are characterized by 
pinhole or ring-like skin lesions that appear as solitary or 
coalesced circular gray blemishes. Environmental and physiological 
stressors are believed to contribute to their manifestation (Van 
Bressem et al., 2009). A total of 187 boat-based surveys were 
completed from October 2003 to September 2006 in the Clarence River 
(CR) and Richmond River (RR) estuaries, with 720 dolphins sighted. 
Forty-six individuals, including calves, were identified in the CR 
and 23 in the RR. We investigated the temporal relationship between 
four flood events that occurred in the region during the study period 
and the occurrence of poxvirus-like skin lesions. Dolphin 
poxvirus-like lesions were not observed in these populations prior to 
2004. Following flood events in 2004, 2005 and 2006, a total of 10 
new cases were observed, 6 in the CR and 4 in the RR. Our data 
suggest that the occurrence of dolphin poxvirus-like lesions may be 
an indicator for climatic events such as flooding. Long-term 
follow-up of these estuarine populations is required to further 
clarify the factors leading to 'outbreaks' of poxvirus infections.

The paper can be downloaded from the journal website:

You can also send me an email for a copy of the pdf.

Christine Fury

Christine Fury PhD
Marine Ecologist
PO Box 390 Kingston, Hobart, TASMANIA 7050
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