[MARMAM] New publication:"Postnatal development of franciscana’s (Pontoporia blainvillei) biosonar relevant structures with potential implications for function, life history, and bycatch"

Guilherme Frainer gui.frainer at gmail.com
Mon Apr 6 10:40:19 PDT 2015

My co-authors and I are pleased to share our new publication in Marine
Mammal Science:

"Postnatal development of franciscana’s (*Pontoporia blainvillei*) biosonar
relevant structures with potential implications for function, life history,
and bycatch"


Guilherme Frainer, Stefan Huggenberger and Ignacio B. Moreno


Franciscana dolphins (Pontoporia blainvillei) are the most endangered
species of the western South Atlantic Ocean. The major cause of their
vulnerability is incidental bycatch in fishery gill nets. Ontogenetic
changes of biosonar relevant structures in Pontoporia were analyzed in five
specimens (one female neonate, two male neonates and two male adults) using
digital imaging technology (MRI, CT) and macroscopic dissections to compare
structures involved in sound production and reception. These data were
compared to an ontogenetic series of 69 macerated skulls of Pontoporia in
order to elucidate the correlation between soft tissue structures and bones
of the epicranial complex and to describe the development-related changes
in the mandible. Postnatal developmental shape changes of the posterior
part of the right vestibular air sac followed bone formation and the melon
with its right branch elongated, paralleling the flatter facial depression
of adults. Minor postnatal developmental modifi- cations were verified in
the tympano-periotic complex but a shape change of the mandible was visible
by a ventral deviation of the posterior part of the mandible in adults.
These results reveal postnatal changes in allometry and shape of biosonar
relevant structures that may be one of the causes that increase bycatch of
neonate and young Pontoporia individuals. Key words: franciscana dolphin,
Pontoporia blainvillei, ontogeny, anatomic geometry, functional anatomy,
echolocation, conservation.

All the best,


*Guilherme Frainer*

Laboratório de Sistemática e Ecologia de Aves e Mamíferos Marinhos
Departamento de Zoologia - UFRGS
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