[MARMAM] New publication: Biomechanical properties of female dolphin reproductive tissue

Dara Orbach dnorbach at gmail.com
Thu Feb 7 18:54:43 PST 2019

Dear MARMAM community,

On behalf of my coauthors, I am pleased to announce the publication of our
new paper in *Acta Biomaterialia* on the the biomechanical properties of
female dolphin reproductive tissue.

Orbach, D. N., Rattan, S., Hogan, M., Crosby, A. J., & Brennan, P. L. R.
(2019). Biomechanical Properties of Female Dolphin Reproductive Tissue. *Acta
biomaterialia*.  86: 117-124. d

Abstract:  Whales, dolphins, and porpoises have unusual vaginal folds of
unknown function(s) that are hypothesized to play an important role in
sexual selection. The potential function of vaginal folds was assessed by
testing the mechanical properties of common bottlenose dolphin (*Tursiops
truncatus*) reproductive tract tissues in 6 different regions and across
age classes in post-mortem specimens. We assessed the regional (local) and
overall effective elastic modulus of tissues using indentation and tensile
tests, respectively. We explore the non-linear mechanical response of
biological tissues, which are not often quantified. Indentation tests
demonstrated that sexual maturity state, tissue region, force history, and
force magnitude values significantly affected the measured effective
elastic modulus. Tissue was stiffest in
the vaginal fold region and overall stiffer in sexually immature compared
to mature animals, likely reflecting biomechanical adaptations associated
with copulation and parturition. Tensile tests showed that only tissue
region significantly affected the effective modulus. Our data support the
hypothesis that vaginal folds function as mechanical barriers to the penis
and may provide females with mechanisms to reduce copulatory forces on
other reproductive tissue.

The article can be downloaded for free at the following link:

Dara Orbach, PhD

Department of Biological Sciences, Mount Holyoke College
Department of Biology, Dalhousie University
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