[MARMAM] New pubblication: Sex steroid hormones and behavior reveal seasonal reproduction in a resident fin whale population

erica carone erica83.cami at gmail.com
Thu Oct 31 15:21:35 PDT 2019

Dear MARMAM readers,

My colleagues and I would like to share our new publication:

Sex steroid hormones and behavior reveal seasonal reproduction in a
resident fin whale population

Carone E., Pardo M.A., Atkinson S., Mashburn K., Pérez-Puig H.,
Enríquez-Paredes L., Gendron D. *Conservation Physiology*, Volume 7, Issue
1, 2019


Fin whales in the Gulf of California constitute a resident population
genetically isolated from the rest of the North Pacific Ocean. Its small
population size and the scarce information available about its dynamics in
a semi-enclosed sea underline the importance of conducting studies about
its reproduction. Given the monsoonal regime that dominates the
oceanographic habitat of this region, we hypothesized seasonality in the
population’s reproductive activity. To test this, we validated and assayed
testosterone and progesterone from blubber biopsies of free-ranging
individuals. Lactating females exhibited low progesterone concentrations,
whereas a group of females of unknown reproductive stage, but with
extremely high progesterone concentrations, showed strong evidence of
separation and were considered to be likely ovulating or pregnant. A
seasonal model of testosterone concentrations showed a high peak during the
late summer. This trend was supported by the first documentation of
courtship events and by the recording of a female with high progesterone
concentration during summer and re-sighted with a calf 1 year later.
Therefore, the breeding in this resident population would be seasonal, as
it is in migratory baleen whales, but occurring during the summer/autumn,
which is the least productive season in the Gulf of California. Our study
represents an important input to assist in future management policies of
this protected population.



Erica Carone

PhD student in Marine Science

Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas (CICIMAR-IPN)

Laboratorio de Ecología de Cetáceos

La Paz, Baja California Sur, México.

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