[MARMAM] New publication on sperm whales mass stranding

Sandro Mazzariol sandro.mazzariol at unipd.it
Fri Aug 3 12:19:22 PDT 2018

Dear Collegues

my co-author and I are happy to announce a new publication reporting
investigations on a sperm whales' mass stranding occurred in Italy in 2014.

In that event, a pod of 7 specimens stranded alive along the Italian
coast of the Central Adriatic Sea: 3 individuals died on the beach after
a few hours due to internal damages induced by prolonged recumbency; the
remaining 4 whales were refloated after great efforts. All the dead
animals were genetically related females; one was pregnant. All the
animals were infected by dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) and the pregnant
whale was also affected by a severe nephropathy due to a large kidney
stone. Other analyses ruled out other possible relevant factors related
to weather conditions or human activities. The results of
multidisciplinary post-mortem analyses revealed that the 7 sperm whales
entered the Adriatic Sea encountering adverse weather conditions and
then kept heading northward following the pregnant but sick leader of
the pod, thereby reaching the stranding site. DMV infection most likely
played a crucial role in impairing the health condition and orientation
abilities of the whales. They did not steer back towards deeper waters,
but eventually stranded along the Central Adriatic Sea coastline, a real
trap for sperm whales.

The full paper could be downloaded at:

*Citation:* Mazzariol S, Centelleghe C, Cozzi B, Povinelli M, Marcer F,
Ferri N, Di Francesco G, Badagliacca P, Profeta F, Olivieri V, Guccione
S, Cocumelli C,Terracciano G, Troiano P, Beverelli M, Garibaldi F,
Podestà M, Marsili L, Fossi MC, Mattiucci S, Cipriani P, De Nurra D,
Zaccaroni A, Rubini S, Berto D, deQuiros YB, Fernandez A, Morell M,
Giorda F, Pautasso A, Modesto P, Casalone C, Di Guardo G.
Multidisciplinary studies on a sick-leader syndrome-associated
massstranding of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) along the
Adriatic coast of Italy. Sci Rep. 2018 Aug 1;8(1):11577.

All the best


Dr. Sandro Mazzariol, DVM, PhD
Dipartimento di Biomedicina Comparata e Alimentazione (BCA)
Università degli Studi di Padova
Cetaceans strandings Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Viale dell'Università 16
35020 - Legnaro (PD)

tel.: +39 049 827 2963
fax:  +39 049 827 2973
skype: smazzariol

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