[MARMAM] New publication: Baleen whale cortisol levels reveal a physiological response to 20th century whaling

Crain, Dani Dani_Crain at baylor.edu
Fri Nov 2 17:10:22 PDT 2018

We are pleased to announce our most recent publication in Nature Communications entitled "Baleen whale cortisol levels reveal a physiological response to 20th century whaling", a copy of the paper can be found here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07044-w.pdf

Authors: SJ Trumble, SA Norman, DD Crain, F Mansouri, ZC Winfield, R Sabin, C Potter, CM Gabriele, S Usenko

Abstract: One of the most important challenges researchers and managers confront in conservation ecology is predicting a population’s response to sub-lethal stressors. Such predictions have been particularly elusive when assessing responses of large marine mammals to past anthropogenic pressures. Recently developed techniques involving baleen whale earplugs combine age estimates with cortisol measurements to assess spatial and temporal stress/stressor relationships. Here we show a relationship between baseline-corrected cortisol levels and corresponding whaling counts of fin, humpback, and blue whales in the Northern Hemisphere spanning the 20th century. We also model the impact of alternative demographic and environmental factors and determine that increased anomalies of sea surface temperature over a 46-year mean (1970–2016) were positively associated with cortisol levels. While industrial whaling can deplete populations by direct harvest, our data underscore a widespread stress response in baleen whales that is peripheral to whaling activities or associated with other anthropogenic change.

Corresponding authors: Dr. Stephen Trumble: stephen_trumble at baylor.edu and Dr. Sascha Usenko: sascha_usenko at baylor.edu

Thank you for your time,

Dani Crain

Danielle Crain

Present Your PhD (PyPhD) Co-founder and Presenter | Est. 2017
Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Graduate Student Speaker Series Co-Organizer | Est. 2017
Baylor University, LEAP | Doctoral Candidate, 2019
Duke University | MEM, 2012
UC Santa Cruz | B.Sc, 2009
E-mail: dani_crain at baylor.edu
Laboratory of Ecological &
Adaptational Physiology

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