[MARMAM] New publication: Whisker growth dynamics of pinnipeds
emchuron at ucsc.edu
Tue Aug 2 12:08:24 PDT 2016
We are pleased to announce the publication of the following article:
McHuron, EA, Walcott, SM, Zeligs, J, Skrovan, S, Costa, DP, Reichmuth, C.
2016. Whisker growth dynamics of two North Pacific pinnipeds: implications
for determining foraging ecology from stable isotope analysis. Marine
Ecology Progress Series 554: 213-224.
*Abstract: *Stable isotope analysis (SIA) of whiskers is increasingly used
to investigate the foraging ecology of pinnipeds. An understanding of
whisker growth dynamics is lacking for most species yet is necessary for
study design and interpretation of isotope data. Here we present
measurements of whisker growth obtained using photogrammetry in 5
California sea lions *Zalophus californianus* and 2 spotted seals *Phoca
largha*. Data were collected from captive individuals for at least 1 yr,
resulting in serial measurements of 321 sea lion and 153 spotted seal
whiskers. The sea lion whiskers exhibited linear growth, with growth rates
that ranged from <0.01 to 0.18 mm d-1. In contrast, spotted seal whiskers
exhibited asymptotic growth characterized by rapid initial growth of up to
1.40 mm d-1; whiskers reached 75 and 95% of their asymptotic length after
an average of 48 and 105 d, respectively. Over half of the spotted seal
whiskers were lost annually during a period that coincided with the annual
pelage molt, whereas the maximum estimated lifespan of sea lion whiskers
was 10+ yr. Our data indicate that sea lion whisker growth rates can be
used to reliably determine time periods of tissue deposition and link
isotope values with ecological events over multiple years. In contrast,
spotted seal whiskers archive dietary information over a period of months,
and interpretation of isotope values is complicated by growth and shedding
patterns of whiskers, and physiological changes associated with the annual
Please contact me if you do not have access to this article and would like
a pdf (emchuron at ucsc.edu)
Elizabeth McHuron, Ph.D.
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Center for Ocean Health, Long Marine Lab
100 Shaffer Rd.
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
emchuron at ucsc.edu
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