[MARMAM] New publication: Guiana Dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) as Marine Ecosystem Sentinels

Jailson Fulgencio de Moura jailsonfm at gmail.com
Thu Nov 14 09:17:53 PST 2013

Dear Colleagues,

We'd like to draw your attention to our paper "Guiana dolphins (*Sotalia
guianensis*) as marine ecosystem sentinels: ecotoxicology and emerging
diseases” which was recently published in “Reviews of Environmental
Contamination and Toxicology <http://www.springer.com/series/398>
*(Springer)*”. The
 is below and the article can be found
and downloaded at:


Moura J.M., Hauser-Davis R.A., Lemos L., Emin-Lima R., Siciliano S.
(2014)Guiana dolphins (*Sotalia
guianensis*)as marine ecosystem sentinels: ecotoxicology and emerging
diseases <http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-01619-1_1>.
D.M. Whitacre (ed.) Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology,
228, 1-29.

*DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-01619-1_1*



Guiana dolphins (*Sotalia guianensis*) are small cetaceans that inhabit
coastal regions down to a 50 m depth. As a coastally distributed species,
they are exposed to a variety of human-induced risks that include passive
fishing nets, persistent environmental pollution, and emerging diseases. As
a top predator *S. guianensis* occupies an important ecological niche in
marine ecosystems. However, this niche also exposes this dolphin to
extensive biomagnification of marine contaminants that may accumulate and
be stored throughout their life of about 30 years. In this paper, we have
compiled available data on the Guiana dolphin as regards its exposure to
chemical pollutants, pathogenic microbes, infectious diseases, and injuries
caused by interactions with passive fishing gears. Our analysis of the data
shows that Guiana dolphins are particularly sensitive to environmental
changes. Although the major mortal threat to dolphins results from contact
with fishing, other human-related activities in coastal zones also pose
risks and need more attention. Such human-related risks include the
presence of persistent toxicants in the marine environment, such as PCBs
and PBDEs. Residues of these chemicals have been detected in Guiana
dolphin’s tissues at similar or higher levels that exist in cetaceans from
other known polluted areas. Another risk encountered by this species is the
nonlethal injuries caused by fishing gear. Several incidents of this sort
have occurred along the Brazilian coast with this species. When injuries
are produced by interaction with fishing gear, the dorsal fin is the part
of the dolphin anatomy that is more affected, commonly causing severe
laceration or even total loss. The Guiana dolphins also face risks from
infectious diseases. The major ones thus far identified include giardiasis,
lobomycosis, toxoplasmosis, skin and skeletal lesions. Many bacterial
pathogens from the family Aeromonadaceae and Vibrionaceae have been
isolated from Guiana dolphins. Several helminth species have also been
observed to affect *S. guianensis* . These results suggest a vulnerability
of this species to environmental disturbances. Moreover, there is some
evidence that the effects of some infectious diseases may be enhanced from
stress caused by habitat impairment. For example, certain diseases and
pathogenic organisms in *S. guianensis* may be associated with the high
levels of endocrine-disruptor contaminants (e.g., PCBs; DDTs; PBDEs) that
have been detected in marine waters. Although the data available on *S.
guianensis* is growing, most of the work has been focused on a small
portion of the species total area of distribution. Most studies, to date,
have been carried out in the Southern region of the distribution, and in
northeastern Brazil. Few studies have been conducted in the northern region
of the South America or in Central America. Therefore, future studies
should be conducted that address the heterogeneity of this species total
distribution. The biology and ecology of the Guiana dolphin renders this
species potentially useful as a sentinel species for detecting
environmental changes, such as chemical and biological pollution. Research
about this dolphin is encouraged as a way to assess what coastal
environmental changes have occurred and to continue evaluating the health
status of this vulnerable species in a changing environment.

Requests for reprints can be sent to: jailsonfm at gmail.com

All the best,


* Dr. Jailson F. Moura*

*Biologist, Doctor of Public Health and Environment (ENSP/Fiocruz) *
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