[MARMAM] Decompression sickness in a marine vertebrate, the turtle

Andreas afahlman at whoi.edu
Fri Jun 2 22:32:08 PDT 2017


Dear colleagues,

We would like to announce our new paper on defining risk variables for decompression sickness/Gas emboli in a marine vertebrate, the loggerhead turtle. While this work is about the turtle, it has wide applicability and may be of interest to those interested in these problems in marine mammals.
For those interested, the title and abstract are cited below:

Scientific Reports: doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-02819-5

TITLE:
Defining risk variables causing gas embolism in loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) caught in trawls and gillnets

AUTHORS:
A. Fahlman, J-L. Crespo, B. Sterba-Boatwright, B.A. Stacy, D. Garcia-Parraga

ABSTRACT
Incidental capture, or ‘bycatch’ in fishing gear is a major global threat to sea turtle populations. A recent study showed that underwater entrapment in fishing gear followed by rapid decompression may cause gas bubble formation within the blood stream (embolism) and tissues leading to organ injury, impairment, and even mortality in some bycaught individuals. We analyzed data from 128 capture events using logistic and ordinal regression to examine risk factors associated with gas embolism in sea turtles captured in trawls and gillnets. Likelihood of fatal decompression increases with increasing depth of gear deployment. A direct relationship was found between depth, risk and severity of embolism, which has not been previously demonstrated in any breath-hold diving species. For the trawl fishery in this study, an average trawl depth of 65 m was estimated to result in 50% mortality in by-caught turtles throughout the year. This finding is critical for a more accurate estimation of sea turtle mortality rates resulting from different fisheries and for devising efforts to avoid or minimize the harmful effects of capture.

KEYWORDS:

	• Animal physiology
	• Conservation biology
	• Embolism

PDF available at:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-02819-5 <https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-02819-5>

or upon request to:
afahlman at whoi.edu <mailto:afahlman at whoi.edu>
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