Volume 44 - Issue 3


AM 44.3 cover

Abstract: Domoic acid is an algal toxin that has caused neurologic disease and reproductive failure in California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). In affected sea lions, necrotic neurons have been observed in the olfactory bulb and pyriform lobe of the brain, indicating potential for disrupted olfactory capability in addition to other documented neurological effects. Sea lions use olfaction in social interactions, and deficits could lead to maladaptive interactions, including between mothers and pups. Here, to assess olfactory capability in wild California sea lions, we developed a behavioral assay for use in a clinical context. We tested 24 stranded sea lions with no apparent neurological symptoms and 22 sea lions with a clinical diagnosis of chronic domoic acid toxicosis, probing differential responses to a scented and unscented object. The neurologically healthy animals spent significantly more time with the scented object than with the unscented object, establishing this method as effective in demonstrating olfactory discrimination in California sea lions. The domoic acid toxicosis group showed a nonsignificant reduction in response to the scented stimulus. However, variability in responses suggests that olfactory sensitivity is impaired in at least some sea lions with domoic acid toxicosis.
Key Words: strandings, domoic acid, hippocampal atrophy, olfaction, naso-nasal contact, olfactory bulb, California sea lions, Zalophus californianus
Document: Article
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.231
Page Numbers: 231-238

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Document: Short Note
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.239
Page Numbers: 239-243

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Document: Short Note
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.244
Page Numbers: 244-249

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Abstract: The current study investigated the social affiliations of 21 captive beluga whales housed in two large social groups at a facility in North America. The results revealed that adult male belugas were found in the proximity of other adult males seven times more often than they were found in the proximity of females. By contrast, adult female belugas were almost always found alone. These findings suggest that the male-male associations stem from internally motivated social preferences rather than from ecological constraints or migratory tendencies.
Key Words: beluga, Delphinapterus leucas, sex segregation, social affiliation
Document: Article
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.250
Page Numbers: 250-255

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Abstract: The primary objective of this study was to conduct an initial analysis of the proteome of exhaled breath condensate or blow in aquarium-based bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and, secondarily, to determine the commonality of proteins identified in blow with those in plasma of the same animals as recently documented. Exhaled breath condensate was collected from four young (2 to 6 y old), male dolphins using a 50-mL Falcon tube held above the blowhole for ten sequential exhalations; total volume ranged from 60 to 122 μL. Subsequent to analysis of total protein, 20 μg of protein from each dolphin was separated by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Of the four samples, three produced sufficient resolution of 15 bands that were excised from respective gels and subject to liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrom¬etry (LC-MS/MS) and used for protein identification. Mass spectra data were used to search the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database restricted to all mammalian proteins. Based on proteins having ≥ 2 peptides and present in at least two of the three dolphins, a total of 220 blow proteins were identified. While a majority (38 to 51%) of proteins could not be categorized, gene ontology indicated protein binding (26%), cytoplasm constituents (16%), and immune response (16%) dominated the molecular function, cellular component location, and biological process domains, respectively. From noncontemporaneous samples, NCBI Accession numbers of 220 blow proteins described herein and 196 plasma proteins previously identified by LC-MS/MS in the same dolphins were matched. Results indicated a commonality of 21 proteins (5%), with ten (48%) related to the immune system (e.g., complement- and immunoglobulin-related pro-teins) and the remainder to other various biological systems. Although preliminary, the novelty of these results provides additional support that exhaled breath condensate can be a relevant, less invasive alternative to blood collection to assess or monitor physiological health and pathological states. More specifically, the commonality of several immune-related proteins between the circulatory and respiratory systems provides a foundation for future investigations to determine the potential of these blow proteins as biomarkers that may be diagnostic or prognostic of respiratory health in bottlenose dolphins and, perhaps, other cetaceans.
Key Words: blow, proteomics, exhaled breath condensate, cetacean, bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus
Document: Article
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.256
Page Numbers: 256-266

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Abstract: This article summarizes our observations from land and vessels of transient (Bigg’s) ecotype killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the Kuril Islands during the period 2002 to 2015. We also conducted a review of published information on the occurrence of these killer whales in the Kuril Islands. During 12 years of vessel observations, no cases of killer whales hunting marine mammals were observed. During land-based observations, Bigg’s killer whales were observed from land near two Kuril Islands: Brat Chirpoev Island and Dolgaya Rock. In total, eight instances of Bigg’s killer whale attacks on pinnipeds were observed: seven were directed toward Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) and one toward northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus). The behavior of killer whales during hunting corresponded to published descriptions of the tactics used by killer whales in other regions. According to the photo-identification analysis in July 2009 and July 2011, the same group of four Bigg’s killer whales was observed near Brat Chirpoev Island. These individuals were not found in any of the published catalogues of killer whales inhabiting the North Pacific. According to both the information collected by us and that in published literature, the predominant ecotype of killer whales summering in the Kuril Islands is the fish-eating (resident) ecotype.
Key Words: killer whale, Orcinus orca, Steller sea lion, Eumetopias jubatus, northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus, ecotype, foraging specialization, photo-identification, Kuril Islands
Document: Article
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.267
Page Numbers: 267-278

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Document: Short Note
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.279
Page Numbers: 279-284

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Document: Short Note
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.285
Page Numbers: 285-292

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Document: Short Note
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.293
Page Numbers: 293-298

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Abstract: Pinniped strandings can be used as a proxy to evaluate the impacts of anthropogenic activities on the local marine environment. Stranding data from Oregon and Washington from 1991 to 2016 were used to examine regional and temporal patterns in strandings and human interaction cases across age and sex for six species. Over the study period, 14,729 pinnipeds were reported stranded along the coast in the Pacific Northwest, 11% of which were documented as human interaction cases. Total strandings and the number of reported human interaction cases increased over time for most species. The composition of age and sex classes varied for each species, as did the proportion of strandings identified as human interaction cases. Gunshot wounds and fisheries entanglements were concentrated in clusters along the coast and together constituted the majority of human interaction cases. Stranding and human interaction case hotspots were different across species and varied seasonally, likely due to the distribution of pinnipeds and human activities along the coast. Despite the challenges and uncertainties inherent in using stranding data as an indicator of pinniped health and anthropogenic impacts, modeling spatio-temporal patterns is useful for stranding response practitioners and natural resource managers when evaluating the scope and magnitude of threats to pinniped populations.
Key Words: stranding, anthropogenic impacts, pinnipeds, human interactions, spatio-temporal analysis, Pacific Northwest
Document: Article
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.299
Page Numbers: 299-318

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Document: Short Note
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.319
Page Numbers: 319-327

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Document: Short Note
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.328
Page Numbers: 328-333

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Document: Letter to the Editor
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.334
Page Numbers: 334-336

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Document: Book Review
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.337
Page Numbers: 337-338

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Document: Erratum
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.339
Page Number: 339

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Document: Erratum
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.44.3.2018.340
Page Numbers: 340-341

Free Vol. 44, Iss. 3 Erratum-vonBrendaBeckmann


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