[MARMAM] New Publication: Whisker growth in Arctic and tropical seals

Elizabeth McHuron emchuron at ucsc.edu
Fri Jan 24 14:46:15 PST 2020

Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our recent
note "Contrasting whisker growth dynamics within the phocid lineage" in
Marine Ecology Progress Series. The abstract is pasted below and a link to
the full article online can be found here
https://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v634/p231-236/ .

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you would like a pdf and do not have
access online. emchuron at ucsc.edu or emchuron at uw.edu

Kind regards,

Liz McHuron

The use of biochemical analyses of whiskers to address ecological and
physiological questions requires an understanding of whisker growth
dynamics. To expand comparative data for phocid seals, we report fine-scale
growth patterns, retention times, and temporal patterns of whisker loss for
3 captive seals using direct and photogrammetric methods. The ringed seal *Pusa
hispida*, bearded seal *Erignathus barbatus*, and Hawaiian monk seal
schauinslandi* all showed rapid regrowth following whisker loss, with
maximum growth rates of 0.15 to 0.20 cm d-1. After this initial growth
period, tissue deposition rates contrasted between the smallest species—the
ringed seal—and the other 2 species. Ringed seal whiskers exhibited an
asymptotic growth pattern typical of other phocids, whereas growth of
bearded and monk seal whiskers continued at a slow, linear rate until
shedding. The ringed seal had a seasonal pattern of whisker loss that
coincided with the timing of the annual pelage molt, whereas there was no
temporal pattern of whisker loss for the other 2 species. The rapid-to-slow
growth of bearded and monk seal whiskers is unique within the phocid
lineage, along with the presence of smooth rather than undulated whiskers
in these species. In light of phylogenetic differences in growth and
shedding patterns, extrapolation of whisker growth to related species
requires careful consideration.

Elizabeth McHuron, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
University of Washington JISAO
115 McAllister Way
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
emchuron at uw.edu <emchuron at ucsc.edu>
emchuron at ucsc.edu
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