[MARMAM] New paper on gas bubbles amount and composition in stranded marine mammals

Yara Bernaldo de Quirós Miranda yarabdq at gmail.com
Fri Jun 8 08:11:20 PDT 2012

Dear Colleagues

We are pleased to announce the recent publication of the following paper:
“Decompression versus decomposition: distribution, quantity and gas
composition of bubbles in stranded marine mammals”, by Yara Bernaldo de
Quirós, Óscar González-Díaz, Manuel Arbelo, Eva Sierra, Simona Sacchini,
Antonio Fernández, published in Frontiers in Aquatic Physiology.

The article is open access, and available from:



Gas embolic lesions linked to military sonar have been described in
stranded cetaceans including beaked whales. These descriptions suggest that
gas bubbles in marine mammal tissues may be more common than previously
thought. In this study we have analyzed gas amount (by gas score) and gas
composition within different decomposition codes using a standardized
methodology. This broad study has allowed us to explore species-specific
variability in bubble prevalence, amount, distribution, and composition, as
well as masking of bubble content by putrefaction gases. Bubbles detected
within the cardiovascular system and other tissues related to both pre- and
port-mortem processes are a common finding on necropsy of stranded
cetaceans. To minimize masking by putrefaction gases, necropsy, and gas
sampling must be performed as soon as possible. Before 24 h post mortem is
recommended but preferably within 12 h post mortem. At necropsy, amount of
bubbles (gas score) in decomposition code 2 in stranded cetaceans was found
to be more important than merely presence vs. absence of bubbles from a
pathological point of view. Deep divers presented higher abundance of gas
bubbles, mainly composed of 70% nitrogen and 30% CO2, suggesting a higher
predisposition of these species to suffer from decompression-related gas


Prof. Antonio Fernández

PhD Yara Bernaldo de Quirós
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