[MARMAM] New publication: Prey-related asphyxiation in harbor porpoises and importance of American shad on adult female mortality

cindy Elliser cindy.elliser at pacmam.org
Thu Jul 2 12:23:02 PDT 2020


Dear colleagues, 

 

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce our new publication on
prey-related asphyxiation of harbor porpoises in the Oceans special issue,
Marine Mammals in a Changing World.

 

Reference: Elliser, C.R.; Calambokidis, J.; D'Alessandro, D.N.; Duffield,
D.A.; Huggins, J.L.; Rice, J.; Szczepaniak, I.; Webber, M. Prey-Related
Asphyxiation in Harbor Porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) along the U.S. West
Coast: Importance of American Shad (Alosa sapidissima) on Adult Female
Harbor Porpoise Mortality. Oceans 2020, 1, 94-113.
<https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans1030008>
https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans1030008

 

Abstract: Harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) diets are predominantly
comprised of small fish species (<30 cm) and squid. However, predation on
larger species (up to 63 cm) occurs, raising the question of increased risk
of asphyxiation associated with this behavior. Literature was reviewed and
stranding data from 1983 to 2020 from the U.S. West Coast (including
California, Oregon and Washington) were searched for cases of prey-related
asphyxiation of harbor porpoises and analyzed in relation to age, sex,
reproductive status and prey species. Twenty-nine cases were documented.
Twenty-seven cases involved large prey; non-native American shad caused the
asphyxiation in 87% of the cases where the prey species was identified. The
majority (92%) of harbor porpoises were females, and at least 83.3% were
pregnant or recently post-partum. Reproductively active females may be more
likely to attempt potentially risky behavior in order to compensate for
their increased energetic needs. Increasing numbers of non-native American
shad may pose a unique danger in this region for harbor porpoises not
adapted to deal with the challenges of that prey. This may be a cause for
concern, as there is likely an interaction between location, age and
reproductive status on the diet composition and foraging strategies of
harbor porpoises.

 

The article is open access and can be found at this link:
https://www.mdpi.com/2673-1924/1/3/8

 

Please feel free to email with any questions: cindy.elliser at pacmam.org
<mailto:cindy.elliser at pacmam.org> 

 

Thanks,

 

Cindy R. Elliser, PhD

Research Director

Pacific Mammal Research

www.pacmam.org <http://www.pacmam.org> 

360-202-2860

 

 

Cindy R. Elliser, PhD

Research Director

Pacific Mammal Research

www.pacmam.org <http://www.pacmam.org> 

360-202-2860

 

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