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Sample records for killer whale populations

  1. Genetic differentiation among North Atlantic killer whale populations.

    PubMed

    Foote, Andrew D; Vilstrup, Julia T; De Stephanis, Renaud; Verborgh, Philippe; Abel Nielsen, Sandra C; Deaville, Robert; Kleivane, Lars; Martín, Vidal; Miller, Patrick J O; Oien, Nils; Pérez-Gil, Monica; Rasmussen, Morten; Reid, Robert J; Robertson, Kelly M; Rogan, Emer; Similä, Tiu; Tejedor, Maria L; Vester, Heike; Víkingsson, Gísli A; Willerslev, Eske; Gilbert, M Thomas P; Piertney, Stuart B

    2011-02-01

    Population genetic structure of North Atlantic killer whale samples was resolved from differences in allele frequencies of 17 microsatellite loci, mtDNA control region haplotype frequencies and for a subset of samples, using complete mitogenome sequences. Three significantly differentiated populations were identified. Differentiation based on microsatellite allele frequencies was greater between the two allopatric populations than between the two pairs of partially sympatric populations. Spatial clustering of individuals within each of these populations overlaps with the distribution of particular prey resources: herring, mackerel and tuna, which each population has been seen predating. Phylogenetic analyses using complete mitogenomes suggested two populations could have resulted from single founding events and subsequent matrilineal expansion. The third population, which was sampled at lower latitudes and lower density, consisted of maternal lineages from three highly divergent clades. Pairwise population differentiation was greater for estimates based on mtDNA control region haplotype frequencies than for estimates based on microsatellite allele frequencies, and there were no mitogenome haplotypes shared among populations. This suggests low or no female migration and that gene flow was primarily male mediated when populations spatially and temporally overlap. These results demonstrate that genetic differentiation can arise through resource specialization in the absence of physical barriers to gene flow. PMID:21241391

  2. Killer whales and whaling: the scavenging hypothesis

    PubMed Central

    Whitehead, Hal; Reeves, Randall

    2005-01-01

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) frequently scavenged from the carcasses produced by whalers. This practice became especially prominent with large-scale mechanical whaling in the twentieth century, which provided temporally and spatially clustered floating carcasses associated with loud acoustic signals. The carcasses were often of species of large whale preferred by killer whales but that normally sink beyond their diving range. In the middle years of the twentieth century floating whaled carcasses were much more abundant than those resulting from natural mortality of whales, and we propose that scavenging killer whales multiplied through diet shifts and reproduction. During the 1970s the numbers of available carcasses fell dramatically with the cessation of most whaling (in contrast to a reasonably stable abundance of living whales), and the scavenging killer whales needed an alternative source of nutrition. Diet shifts may have triggered declines in other prey species, potentially affecting ecosystems, as well as increasing direct predation on living whales. PMID:17148221

  3. Nuclear and mitochondrial patterns of population structure in North Pacific false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens).

    PubMed

    Martien, Karen K; Chivers, Susan J; Baird, Robin W; Archer, Frederick I; Gorgone, Antoinette M; Hancock-Hanser, Brittany L; Mattila, David; McSweeney, Daniel J; Oleson, Erin M; Palmer, Carol; Pease, Victoria L; Robertson, Kelly M; Schorr, Gregory S; Schultz, Mark B; Webster, Daniel L; Taylor, Barbara L

    2014-01-01

    False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) are large delphinids typically found in deep water far offshore. However, in the Hawaiian Archipelago, there are 2 resident island-associated populations of false killer whales, one in the waters around the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) and one in the waters around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI). We use mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences and genotypes from 16 nuclear DNA (nucDNA) microsatellite loci from 206 individuals to examine levels of differentiation among the 2 island-associated populations and offshore animals from the central and eastern North Pacific. Both mtDNA and nucDNA exhibit highly significant differentiation between populations, confirming limited gene flow in both sexes. The mtDNA haplotypes exhibit a strong pattern of phylogeographic concordance, with island-associated populations sharing 3 closely related haplotypes not found elsewhere in the Pacific. However, nucDNA data suggest that NWHI animals are at least as differentiated from MHI animals as they are from offshore animals. The patterns of differentiation revealed by the 2 marker types suggest that the island-associated false killer whale populations likely share a common colonization history, but have limited contemporary gene flow. PMID:24831238

  4. Call types of Bigg's killer whales (Orcinus orca) in western Alaska: Using vocal dialects to assess population structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharpe, Deborah Lynn

    Apex predators are important indicators of ecosystem health, but little is known about the population structure of Bigg's killer whales ( Orcinus orca; i.e. 'transient' ecotype) in western Alaska. Currently, all Bigg's killer whales in western Alaska are ascribed to a single broad stock for management under the US Marine Mammal Protection Act. However, recent nuclear microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA analyses indicate that this stock is likely comprised of genetically distinct sub-populations. In accordance with what is known about killer whale vocal dialects in other locations, I sought to evaluate Bigg's killer whale population structure by examining the spatial distribution of group-specific call types in western Alaska. Digital audio recordings were collected from 33 encounters with Bigg's killer whales throughout the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands in the summers of 2001-2007 and 2009-2010. Recorded calls were perceptually classified into discrete types and then quantitatively described using 12 structural and time-frequency measures. Resulting call categories were objectively validated using a random forest approach. A total of 36 call types and subtypes were identified across the entire study area, and regional patterns of call type usage revealed three distinct dialects, each of which corresponding to proposed genetic delineations. I suggest that at least three acoustically and genetically distinct subpopulations are present in western Alaska, and put forth an initial catalog for this area describing the regional vocal repertoires of Bigg's killer whale call types.

  5. Evolution of population structure in a highly social top predator, the killer whale.

    PubMed

    Hoelzel, A Rus; Hey, Jody; Dahlheim, Marilyn E; Nicholson, Colin; Burkanov, Vladimir; Black, Nancy

    2007-06-01

    Intraspecific resource partitioning and social affiliations both have the potential to structure populations, though it is rarely possible to directly assess the impact of these mechanisms on genetic diversity and population divergence. Here, we address this for killer whales (Orcinus orca), which specialize on prey species and hunting strategy and have long-term social affiliations involving both males and females. We used genetic markers to assess the structure and demographic history of regional populations and test the hypothesis that known foraging specializations and matrifocal sociality contributed significantly to the evolution of population structure. We find genetic structure in sympatry between populations of foraging specialists (ecotypes) and evidence for isolation by distance within an ecotype. Fitting of an isolation with migration model suggested ongoing, low-level migration between regional populations (within and between ecotypes) and small effective sizes for extant local populations. The founding of local populations by matrifocal social groups was indicated by the pattern of fixed mtDNA haplotypes in regional populations. Simulations indicate that this occurred within the last 20,000 years (after the last glacial maximum). Our data indicate a key role for social and foraging behavior in the evolution of genetic structure among conspecific populations of the killer whale. PMID:17400573

  6. Population genomics of the killer whale indicates ecotype evolution in sympatry involving both selection and drift.

    PubMed

    Moura, Andre E; Kenny, John G; Chaudhuri, Roy; Hughes, Margaret A; J Welch, Andreanna; Reisinger, Ryan R; de Bruyn, P J Nico; Dahlheim, Marilyn E; Hall, Neil; Hoelzel, A Rus

    2014-11-01

    The evolution of diversity in the marine ecosystem is poorly understood, given the relatively high potential for connectivity, especially for highly mobile species such as whales and dolphins. The killer whale (Orcinus orca) has a worldwide distribution, and individual social groups travel over a wide geographic range. Even so, regional populations have been shown to be genetically differentiated, including among different foraging specialists (ecotypes) in sympatry. Given the strong matrifocal social structure of this species together with strong resource specializations, understanding the process of differentiation will require an understanding of the relative importance of both genetic drift and local adaptation. Here we provide a high-resolution analysis based on nuclear single-nucleotide polymorphic markers and inference about differentiation at both neutral loci and those potentially under selection. We find that all population comparisons, within or among foraging ecotypes, show significant differentiation, including populations in parapatry and sympatry. Loci putatively under selection show a different pattern of structure compared to neutral loci and are associated with gene ontology terms reflecting physiologically relevant functions (e.g. related to digestion). The pattern of differentiation for one ecotype in the North Pacific suggests local adaptation and shows some fixed differences among sympatric ecotypes. We suggest that differential habitat use and resource specializations have promoted sufficient isolation to allow differential evolution at neutral and functional loci, but that the process is recent and dependent on both selection and drift. PMID:25244680

  7. Population genomics of the killer whale indicates ecotype evolution in sympatry involving both selection and drift

    PubMed Central

    Moura, Andre E; Kenny, John G; Chaudhuri, Roy; Hughes, Margaret A; J Welch, Andreanna; Reisinger, Ryan R; de Bruyn, P J Nico; Dahlheim, Marilyn E; Hall, Neil; Hoelzel, A Rus

    2014-01-01

    The evolution of diversity in the marine ecosystem is poorly understood, given the relatively high potential for connectivity, especially for highly mobile species such as whales and dolphins. The killer whale (Orcinus orca) has a worldwide distribution, and individual social groups travel over a wide geographic range. Even so, regional populations have been shown to be genetically differentiated, including among different foraging specialists (ecotypes) in sympatry. Given the strong matrifocal social structure of this species together with strong resource specializations, understanding the process of differentiation will require an understanding of the relative importance of both genetic drift and local adaptation. Here we provide a high-resolution analysis based on nuclear single-nucleotide polymorphic markers and inference about differentiation at both neutral loci and those potentially under selection. We find that all population comparisons, within or among foraging ecotypes, show significant differentiation, including populations in parapatry and sympatry. Loci putatively under selection show a different pattern of structure compared to neutral loci and are associated with gene ontology terms reflecting physiologically relevant functions (e.g. related to digestion). The pattern of differentiation for one ecotype in the North Pacific suggests local adaptation and shows some fixed differences among sympatric ecotypes. We suggest that differential habitat use and resource specializations have promoted sufficient isolation to allow differential evolution at neutral and functional loci, but that the process is recent and dependent on both selection and drift. PMID:25244680

  8. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) produce ultrasonic whistles.

    PubMed

    Samarra, Filipa I P; Deecke, Volker B; Vinding, Katja; Rasmussen, Marianne H; Swift, René J; Miller, Patrick J O

    2010-11-01

    This study reports that killer whales, the largest dolphin, produce whistles with the highest fundamental frequencies ever reported in a delphinid. Using wide-band acoustic sampling from both animal-attached (Dtag) and remotely deployed hydrophone arrays, ultrasonic whistles were detected in three Northeast Atlantic populations but not in two Northeast Pacific populations. These results are inconsistent with analyses suggesting a correlation of maximum frequency of whistles with body size in delphinids, indicate substantial intraspecific variation in whistle production in killer whales, and highlight the importance of appropriate acoustic sampling techniques when conducting comparative analyses of sound repertoires. PMID:21110527

  9. Inferred Paternity and Male Reproductive Success in a Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Population.

    PubMed

    Ford, Michael J; Hanson, M Bradley; Hempelmann, Jennifer A; Ayres, Katherine L; Emmons, Candice K; Schorr, Gregory S; Baird, Robin W; Balcomb, Kenneth C; Wasser, Samuel K; Parsons, Kim M; Balcomb-Bartok, Kelly

    2011-01-01

    We used data from 78 individuals at 26 microsatellite loci to infer parental and sibling relationships within a community of fish-eating ("resident") eastern North Pacific killer whales (Orcinus orca). Paternity analysis involving 15 mother/calf pairs and 8 potential fathers and whole-pedigree analysis of the entire sample produced consistent results. The variance in male reproductive success was greater than expected by chance and similar to that of other aquatic mammals. Although the number of confirmed paternities was small, reproductive success appeared to increase with male age and size. We found no evidence that males from outside this small population sired any of the sampled individuals. In contrast to previous results in a different population, many offspring were the result of matings within the same "pod" (long-term social group). Despite this pattern of breeding within social groups, we found no evidence of offspring produced by matings between close relatives, and the average internal relatedness of individuals was significantly less than expected if mating were random. The population's estimated effective size was <30 or about 1/3 of the current census size. Patterns of allele frequency variation were consistent with a population bottleneck. PMID:21757487

  10. Keiko, Killer Whale. [Lesson Plan].

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Discovery Communications, Inc., Bethesda, MD.

    This lesson plan presents activities designed to help students understand that Keiko, the killer whale, lived for a long time in an aquarium and had to be taught to live independently; and that computer users can get updates on how Keiko is doing. The main activity of the lesson involves middle school students working in small groups to produce a…

  11. Estimation of a Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Population's Diet Using Sequencing Analysis of DNA from Feces.

    PubMed

    Ford, Michael J; Hempelmann, Jennifer; Hanson, M Bradley; Ayres, Katherine L; Baird, Robin W; Emmons, Candice K; Lundin, Jessica I; Schorr, Gregory S; Wasser, Samuel K; Park, Linda K

    2016-01-01

    Estimating diet composition is important for understanding interactions between predators and prey and thus illuminating ecosystem function. The diet of many species, however, is difficult to observe directly. Genetic analysis of fecal material collected in the field is therefore a useful tool for gaining insight into wild animal diets. In this study, we used high-throughput DNA sequencing to quantitatively estimate the diet composition of an endangered population of wild killer whales (Orcinus orca) in their summer range in the Salish Sea. We combined 175 fecal samples collected between May and September from five years between 2006 and 2011 into 13 sample groups. Two known DNA composition control groups were also created. Each group was sequenced at a ~330bp segment of the 16s gene in the mitochondrial genome using an Illumina MiSeq sequencing system. After several quality controls steps, 4,987,107 individual sequences were aligned to a custom sequence database containing 19 potential fish prey species and the most likely species of each fecal-derived sequence was determined. Based on these alignments, salmonids made up >98.6% of the total sequences and thus of the inferred diet. Of the six salmonid species, Chinook salmon made up 79.5% of the sequences, followed by coho salmon (15%). Over all years, a clear pattern emerged with Chinook salmon dominating the estimated diet early in the summer, and coho salmon contributing an average of >40% of the diet in late summer. Sockeye salmon appeared to be occasionally important, at >18% in some sample groups. Non-salmonids were rarely observed. Our results are consistent with earlier results based on surface prey remains, and confirm the importance of Chinook salmon in this population's summer diet. PMID:26735849

  12. Distinguishing the Impacts of Inadequate Prey and Vessel Traffic on an Endangered Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Population

    PubMed Central

    Ayres, Katherine L.; Booth, Rebecca K.; Hempelmann, Jennifer A.; Koski, Kari L.; Emmons, Candice K.; Baird, Robin W.; Balcomb-Bartok, Kelley; Hanson, M. Bradley; Ford, Michael J.; Wasser, Samuel K.

    2012-01-01

    Managing endangered species often involves evaluating the relative impacts of multiple anthropogenic and ecological pressures. This challenge is particularly formidable for cetaceans, which spend the majority of their time underwater. Noninvasive physiological approaches can be especially informative in this regard. We used a combination of fecal thyroid (T3) and glucocorticoid (GC) hormone measures to assess two threats influencing the endangered southern resident killer whales (SRKW; Orcinus orca) that frequent the inland waters of British Columbia, Canada and Washington, U.S.A. Glucocorticoids increase in response to nutritional and psychological stress, whereas thyroid hormone declines in response to nutritional stress but is unaffected by psychological stress. The inadequate prey hypothesis argues that the killer whales have become prey limited due to reductions of their dominant prey, Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). The vessel impact hypothesis argues that high numbers of vessels in close proximity to the whales cause disturbance via psychological stress and/or impaired foraging ability. The GC and T3 measures supported the inadequate prey hypothesis. In particular, GC concentrations were negatively correlated with short-term changes in prey availability. Whereas, T3 concentrations varied by date and year in a manner that corresponded with more long-term prey availability. Physiological correlations with prey overshadowed any impacts of vessels since GCs were lowest during the peak in vessel abundance, which also coincided with the peak in salmon availability. Our results suggest that identification and recovery of strategic salmon populations in the SRKW diet are important to effectively promote SRKW recovery. PMID:22701560

  13. Distinguishing the impacts of inadequate prey and vessel traffic on an endangered killer whale (Orcinus orca) population.

    PubMed

    Ayres, Katherine L; Booth, Rebecca K; Hempelmann, Jennifer A; Koski, Kari L; Emmons, Candice K; Baird, Robin W; Balcomb-Bartok, Kelley; Hanson, M Bradley; Ford, Michael J; Wasser, Samuel K

    2012-01-01

    Managing endangered species often involves evaluating the relative impacts of multiple anthropogenic and ecological pressures. This challenge is particularly formidable for cetaceans, which spend the majority of their time underwater. Noninvasive physiological approaches can be especially informative in this regard. We used a combination of fecal thyroid (T3) and glucocorticoid (GC) hormone measures to assess two threats influencing the endangered southern resident killer whales (SRKW; Orcinus orca) that frequent the inland waters of British Columbia, Canada and Washington, U.S.A. Glucocorticoids increase in response to nutritional and psychological stress, whereas thyroid hormone declines in response to nutritional stress but is unaffected by psychological stress. The inadequate prey hypothesis argues that the killer whales have become prey limited due to reductions of their dominant prey, Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). The vessel impact hypothesis argues that high numbers of vessels in close proximity to the whales cause disturbance via psychological stress and/or impaired foraging ability. The GC and T3 measures supported the inadequate prey hypothesis. In particular, GC concentrations were negatively correlated with short-term changes in prey availability. Whereas, T3 concentrations varied by date and year in a manner that corresponded with more long-term prey availability. Physiological correlations with prey overshadowed any impacts of vessels since GCs were lowest during the peak in vessel abundance, which also coincided with the peak in salmon availability. Our results suggest that identification and recovery of strategic salmon populations in the SRKW diet are important to effectively promote SRKW recovery. PMID:22701560

  14. Killer whale ecotypes: is there a global model?

    PubMed

    de Bruyn, P J N; Tosh, Cheryl A; Terauds, Aleks

    2013-02-01

    Killer whales, Orcinus orca, are top predators occupying key ecological roles in a variety of ecosystems and are one of the most widely distributed mammals on the planet. In consequence, there has been significant interest in understanding their basic biology and ecology. Long-term studies of Northern Hemisphere killer whales, particularly in the eastern North Pacific (ENP), have identified three ecologically distinct communities or ecotypes in that region. The success of these prominent ENP studies has led to similar efforts at clarifying the role of killer whale ecology in other regions, including Antarctica. In the Southern Hemisphere, killer whales present a range of behavioural, social and morphological characteristics to biologists, who often interpret this as evidence to categorize individuals or groups, and draw general ecological conclusions about these super-predators. Morphologically distinct forms (Type A, B, C, and D) occur in the Southern Ocean and studies of these different forms are often presented in conjunction with evidence for specialised ecology and behaviours. Here we review current knowledge of killer whale ecology and ecotyping globally and present a synthesis of existing knowledge. In particular, we highlight the complexity of killer whale ecology in the Southern Hemisphere and examine this in the context of comparatively well-studied Northern Hemisphere populations. We suggest that assigning erroneous or prefatory ecotypic status in the Southern Hemisphere could be detrimental to subsequent killer whale studies, because unsubstantiated characteristics may be assumed as a result of such classification. On this basis, we also recommend that ecotypic status classification for Southern Ocean killer whale morphotypes be reserved until more evidence-based ecological and taxonomic data are obtained. PMID:22882545

  15. Social cohesion among kin, gene flow without dispersal and the evolution of population genetic structure in the killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Pilot, M; Dahlheim, M E; Hoelzel, A R

    2010-01-01

    In social species, breeding system and gregarious behavior are key factors influencing the evolution of large-scale population genetic structure. The killer whale is a highly social apex predator showing genetic differentiation in sympatry between populations of foraging specialists (ecotypes), and low levels of genetic diversity overall. Our comparative assessments of kinship, parentage and dispersal reveal high levels of kinship within local populations and ongoing male-mediated gene flow among them, including among ecotypes that are maximally divergent within the mtDNA phylogeny. Dispersal from natal populations was rare, implying that gene flow occurs without dispersal, as a result of reproduction during temporary interactions. Discordance between nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenies was consistent with earlier studies suggesting a stochastic basis for the magnitude of mtDNA differentiation between matrilines. Taken together our results show how the killer whale breeding system, coupled with social, dispersal and foraging behaviour, contributes to the evolution of population genetic structure. PMID:19912451

  16. Killer whale nuclear genome and mtDNA reveal widespread population bottleneck during the last glacial maximum.

    PubMed

    Moura, Andre E; Janse van Rensburg, Charlene; Pilot, Malgorzata; Tehrani, Arman; Best, Peter B; Thornton, Meredith; Plön, Stephanie; de Bruyn, P J Nico; Worley, Kim C; Gibbs, Richard A; Dahlheim, Marilyn E; Hoelzel, Alan Rus

    2014-05-01

    Ecosystem function and resilience is determined by the interactions and independent contributions of individual species. Apex predators play a disproportionately determinant role through their influence and dependence on the dynamics of prey species. Their demographic fluctuations are thus likely to reflect changes in their respective ecological communities and habitat. Here, we investigate the historical population dynamics of the killer whale based on draft nuclear genome data for the Northern Hemisphere and mtDNA data worldwide. We infer a relatively stable population size throughout most of the Pleistocene, followed by an order of magnitude decline and bottleneck during the Weichselian glacial period. Global mtDNA data indicate that while most populations declined, at least one population retained diversity in a stable, productive ecosystem off southern Africa. We conclude that environmental changes during the last glacial period promoted the decline of a top ocean predator, that these events contributed to the pattern of diversity among extant populations, and that the relatively high diversity of a population currently in productive, stable habitat off South Africa suggests a role for ocean productivity in the widespread decline. PMID:24497033

  17. Killer Whale Nuclear Genome and mtDNA Reveal Widespread Population Bottleneck during the Last Glacial Maximum

    PubMed Central

    Moura, Andre E.; Janse van Rensburg, Charlene; Pilot, Malgorzata; Tehrani, Arman; Best, Peter B.; Thornton, Meredith; Plön, Stephanie; de Bruyn, P.J. Nico; Worley, Kim C.; Gibbs, Richard A.; Dahlheim, Marilyn E.; Hoelzel, Alan Rus

    2014-01-01

    Ecosystem function and resilience is determined by the interactions and independent contributions of individual species. Apex predators play a disproportionately determinant role through their influence and dependence on the dynamics of prey species. Their demographic fluctuations are thus likely to reflect changes in their respective ecological communities and habitat. Here, we investigate the historical population dynamics of the killer whale based on draft nuclear genome data for the Northern Hemisphere and mtDNA data worldwide. We infer a relatively stable population size throughout most of the Pleistocene, followed by an order of magnitude decline and bottleneck during the Weichselian glacial period. Global mtDNA data indicate that while most populations declined, at least one population retained diversity in a stable, productive ecosystem off southern Africa. We conclude that environmental changes during the last glacial period promoted the decline of a top ocean predator, that these events contributed to the pattern of diversity among extant populations, and that the relatively high diversity of a population currently in productive, stable habitat off South Africa suggests a role for ocean productivity in the widespread decline. PMID:24497033

  18. Adaptive prolonged postreproductive life span in killer whales.

    PubMed

    Foster, Emma A; Franks, Daniel W; Mazzi, Sonia; Darden, Safi K; Balcomb, Ken C; Ford, John K B; Croft, Darren P

    2012-09-14

    Prolonged life after reproduction is difficult to explain evolutionarily unless it arises as a physiological side effect of increased longevity or it benefits related individuals (i.e., increases inclusive fitness). There is little evidence that postreproductive life spans are adaptive in nonhuman animals. By using multigenerational records for two killer whale (Orcinus orca) populations in which females can live for decades after their final parturition, we show that postreproductive mothers increase the survival of offspring, particularly their older male offspring. This finding may explain why female killer whales have evolved the longest postreproductive life span of all nonhuman animals. PMID:22984064

  19. Sounds produced by Norwegian killer whales, Orcinus orca, during capture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Parijs, Sofie M.; Leyssen, Teo; Similä, Tiu

    2004-07-01

    To date very little is still known about the acoustic behavior of Norwegian killer whales, in particular that of individual whales. In this study a unique opportunity was presented to document the sounds produced by five captured killer whales in the Vestfjord area, northern Norway. Individuals produced 14 discrete and 7 compound calls. Two call types were used both by individuals 16178 and 23365 suggesting that they may belong to the same pod. Comparisons with calls documented in Strager (1993) showed that none of the call types used by the captured individuals were present. The lack of these calls in the available literature suggests that call variability within individuals is likely to be large. This short note adds to our knowledge of the vocal repertoire of this population and demonstrates the need for further studies to provide behavioural context to these sounds.

  20. Phylogenomics of the killer whale indicates ecotype divergence in sympatry.

    PubMed

    Moura, A E; Kenny, J G; Chaudhuri, R R; Hughes, M A; Reisinger, R R; de Bruyn, P J N; Dahlheim, M E; Hall, N; Hoelzel, A R

    2015-01-01

    For many highly mobile species, the marine environment presents few obvious barriers to gene flow. Even so, there is considerable diversity within and among species, referred to by some as the 'marine speciation paradox'. The recent and diverse radiation of delphinid cetaceans (dolphins) represents a good example of this. Delphinids are capable of extensive dispersion and yet many show fine-scale genetic differentiation among populations. Proposed mechanisms include the division and isolation of populations based on habitat dependence and resource specializations, and habitat release or changing dispersal corridors during glacial cycles. Here we use a phylogenomic approach to investigate the origin of differentiated sympatric populations of killer whales (Orcinus orca). Killer whales show strong specialization on prey choice in populations of stable matrifocal social groups (ecotypes), associated with genetic and phenotypic differentiation. Our data suggest evolution in sympatry among populations of resource specialists. PMID:25052415

  1. Low-frequency signals produced by Northeast Atlantic killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Samarra, Filipa I P; Deecke, Volker B; Miller, Patrick J O

    2016-03-01

    Killer whale acoustic behavior has been extensively investigated; however, most studies have focused on pulsed calls and whistles. This study reports the production of low-frequency signals by killer whales at frequencies below 300 Hz. Recordings were made in Iceland and Norway when killer whales were observed feeding on herring and no other marine mammal species were nearby. Low-frequency sounds were identified in Iceland and ranged in duration between 0.14 and 2.77 s and in frequency between 50 and 270 Hz, well below the previously reported lower limit for killer whale tonal sounds of 500 Hz. Low-frequency sounds appeared to be produced close in time to tail slaps, which are indicative of feeding attempts, suggesting that these sounds may be related to a feeding context. However, their precise function is unknown, and they could be the by-product of a non-vocal behavior rather than a vocal signal deliberately produced by the whales. Although killer whales in Norway exhibit similar feeding behavior, this sound has not been detected in recordings from Norway to date. This study suggests that, like other delphinids, killer whales produce low-frequency sounds, but further studies will be required to understand whether similar sounds exist in other killer whale populations. PMID:27036251

  2. Is killer whale dialect evolution random?

    PubMed

    Filatova, Olga A; Burdin, Alexandr M; Hoyt, Erich

    2013-10-01

    The killer whale is among the few species in which cultural change accumulates over many generations, leading to cumulative cultural evolution. Killer whales have group-specific vocal repertoires which are thought to be learned rather than being genetically coded. It is supposed that divergence between vocal repertoires of sister groups increases gradually over time due to random learning mistakes and innovations. In this case, the similarity of calls across groups must be correlated with pod relatedness and, consequently, with each other. In this study we tested this prediction by comparing the patterns of call similarity between matrilines of resident killer whales from Eastern Kamchatka. We calculated the similarity of seven components from three call types across 14 matrilines. In contrast to the theoretical predictions, matrilines formed different clusters on the dendrograms made by different calls and even by different components of the same call. We suggest three possible explanations for this phenomenon. First, the lack of agreement between similarity patterns of different components may be the result of constraints in the call structure. Second, it is possible that call components change in time with different speed and/or in different directions. Third, horizontal cultural transmission of call features may occur between matrilines. PMID:23796775

  3. Geographic patterns of genetic differentiation among killer whales in the northern North Pacific.

    PubMed

    Parsons, Kim M; Durban, John W; Burdin, Alexander M; Burkanov, Vladimir N; Pitman, Robert L; Barlow, Jay; Barrett-Lennard, Lance G; LeDuc, Richard G; Robertson, Kelly M; Matkin, Craig O; Wade, Paul R

    2013-01-01

    The difficulties associated with detecting population boundaries have long constrained the conservation and management of highly mobile, wide-ranging marine species, such as killer whales (Orcinus orca). In this study, we use data from 26 nuclear microsatellite loci and mitochondrial DNA sequences (988bp) to test a priori hypotheses about population subdivisions generated from a decade of killer whale surveys across the northern North Pacific. A total of 462 remote skin biopsies were collected from wild killer whales primarily between 2001 and 2010 from the northern Gulf of Alaska to the Sea of Okhotsk, representing both the piscivorous "resident" and the mammal-eating "transient" (or Bigg's) killer whales. Divergence of the 2 ecotypes was supported by both mtDNA and microsatellites. Geographic patterns of genetic differentiation were supported by significant regions of genetic discontinuity, providing evidence of population structuring within both ecotypes and corroborating direct observations of restricted movements of individual whales. In the Aleutian Islands (Alaska), subpopulations, or groups with significantly different mtDNA and microsatellite allele frequencies, were largely delimited by major oceanographic boundaries for resident killer whales. Although Amchitka Pass represented a major subdivision for transient killer whales between the central and western Aleutian Islands, several smaller subpopulations were evident throughout the eastern Aleutians and Bering Sea. Support for seasonally sympatric transient subpopulations around Unimak Island suggests isolating mechanisms other than geographic distance within this highly mobile top predator. PMID:23846984

  4. Competing Conservation Objectives for Predators and Prey: Estimating Killer Whale Prey Requirements for Chinook Salmon

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Rob; Krkošek, Martin; Ashe, Erin; Branch, Trevor A.; Clark, Steve; Hammond, Philip S.; Hoyt, Erich; Noren, Dawn P.; Rosen, David; Winship, Arliss

    2011-01-01

    Ecosystem-based management (EBM) of marine resources attempts to conserve interacting species. In contrast to single-species fisheries management, EBM aims to identify and resolve conflicting objectives for different species. Such a conflict may be emerging in the northeastern Pacific for southern resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) and their primary prey, Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Both species have at-risk conservation status and transboundary (Canada–US) ranges. We modeled individual killer whale prey requirements from feeding and growth records of captive killer whales and morphometric data from historic live-capture fishery and whaling records worldwide. The models, combined with caloric value of salmon, and demographic and diet data for wild killer whales, allow us to predict salmon quantities needed to maintain and recover this killer whale population, which numbered 87 individuals in 2009. Our analyses provide new information on cost of lactation and new parameter estimates for other killer whale populations globally. Prey requirements of southern resident killer whales are difficult to reconcile with fisheries and conservation objectives for Chinook salmon, because the number of fish required is large relative to annual returns and fishery catches. For instance, a U.S. recovery goal (2.3% annual population growth of killer whales over 28 years) implies a 75% increase in energetic requirements. Reducing salmon fisheries may serve as a temporary mitigation measure to allow time for management actions to improve salmon productivity to take effect. As ecosystem-based fishery management becomes more prevalent, trade-offs between conservation objectives for predators and prey will become increasingly necessary. Our approach offers scenarios to compare relative influence of various sources of uncertainty on the resulting consumption estimates to prioritise future research efforts, and a general approach for assessing the extent of conflict

  5. Competing conservation objectives for predators and prey: estimating killer whale prey requirements for Chinook salmon.

    PubMed

    Williams, Rob; Krkošek, Martin; Ashe, Erin; Branch, Trevor A; Clark, Steve; Hammond, Philip S; Hoyt, Erich; Noren, Dawn P; Rosen, David; Winship, Arliss

    2011-01-01

    Ecosystem-based management (EBM) of marine resources attempts to conserve interacting species. In contrast to single-species fisheries management, EBM aims to identify and resolve conflicting objectives for different species. Such a conflict may be emerging in the northeastern Pacific for southern resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) and their primary prey, Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Both species have at-risk conservation status and transboundary (Canada-US) ranges. We modeled individual killer whale prey requirements from feeding and growth records of captive killer whales and morphometric data from historic live-capture fishery and whaling records worldwide. The models, combined with caloric value of salmon, and demographic and diet data for wild killer whales, allow us to predict salmon quantities needed to maintain and recover this killer whale population, which numbered 87 individuals in 2009. Our analyses provide new information on cost of lactation and new parameter estimates for other killer whale populations globally. Prey requirements of southern resident killer whales are difficult to reconcile with fisheries and conservation objectives for Chinook salmon, because the number of fish required is large relative to annual returns and fishery catches. For instance, a U.S. recovery goal (2.3% annual population growth of killer whales over 28 years) implies a 75% increase in energetic requirements. Reducing salmon fisheries may serve as a temporary mitigation measure to allow time for management actions to improve salmon productivity to take effect. As ecosystem-based fishery management becomes more prevalent, trade-offs between conservation objectives for predators and prey will become increasingly necessary. Our approach offers scenarios to compare relative influence of various sources of uncertainty on the resulting consumption estimates to prioritise future research efforts, and a general approach for assessing the extent of conflict

  6. Comparisons of life-history parameters between free-ranging and captive killer whale (Orcinus orca) populations for application toward species management

    PubMed Central

    Robeck, Todd R.; Willis, Kevin; Scarpuzzi, Michael R.; O’Brien, Justine K.

    2015-01-01

    Data collected on life-history parameters of known-age animals from the northern (NR) and southern resident (SR) killer whales (Orcinus orca) of the eastern North Pacific were compared with life-history traits of killer whales located at SeaWorld (SEA) facilities. For captive-born SEA animals, mean age and body length at 1st estrus was 7.5 years and 483.7cm, respectively. Estimated mean age at 1st conception was different (P < 0.001) for the combined data from both northern and southern resident (NSR) free-ranging populations (12.1 years) compared to SEA (9.8 years), as was the estimated mean age at 1st observed calf (SEA: 11.1 years, NSR: 14.2 years, P < 0.001). Average calf survival rate to 2 years of age for SEA animals (0.966) was significantly greater (P = 0.04) than that for SR (0.799). Annual survival rate (ASR) for SEA increased over approximately 15-year increments with rates in the most recent period (2000–2015 ASR: 0.976) improved (P < 0.05) over the first 2 periods of captivity (1965–1985: 0.906; 1985–2000: 0.941). The SR (0.966) and NR ASR (0.977) were higher (P ≤ 0.05) than that of SEA until 2000, after which there were no inter-population differences. Based on ASR, median and average life expectancy were 28.8 and 41.6 years (SEA: 2000–2015), 20.1 and 29.0 years (SR), and 29.3 and 42.3 years (NR), respectively. The ASR for animals born at SEA (0.979) was higher (P = 0.02) than that of wild-caught SEA animals (0.944) with a median and average life expectancy of 33.1 and 47.7 years, respectively. These data present evidence for similar life-history parameters of free-ranging and captive killer whale populations and the reproductive potential and survivorship patterns established herein have application for use in future research concerning the overall health of both populations. PMID:26937049

  7. Killer whale call frequency is similar across the oceans, but varies across sympatric ecotypes.

    PubMed

    Filatova, Olga A; Miller, Patrick J O; Yurk, Harald; Samarra, Filipa I P; Hoyt, Erich; Ford, John K B; Matkin, Craig O; Barrett-Lennard, Lance G

    2015-07-01

    Killer whale populations may differ in genetics, morphology, ecology, and behavior. In the North Pacific, two sympatric populations ("resident" and "transient") specialize on different prey (fish and marine mammals) and retain reproductive isolation. In the eastern North Atlantic, whales from the same populations have been observed feeding on both fish and marine mammals. Fish-eating North Pacific "residents" are more genetically related to eastern North Atlantic killer whales than to sympatric mammal-eating "transients." In this paper, a comparison of frequency variables in killer whale calls recorded from four North Pacific resident, two North Pacific transient, and two eastern North Atlantic populations is reported to assess which factors drive the large-scale changes in call structure. Both low-frequency and high-frequency components of North Pacific transient killer whale calls have significantly lower frequencies than those of the North Pacific resident and North Atlantic populations. The difference in frequencies could be related to ecological specialization or to the phylogenetic history of these populations. North Pacific transient killer whales may have genetically inherited predisposition toward lower frequencies that may shape their learned repertoires. PMID:26233024

  8. Food Web Bioaccumulation Model for Resident Killer Whales from the Northeastern Pacific Ocean as a Tool for the Derivation of PBDE-Sediment Quality Guidelines.

    PubMed

    Alava, Juan José; Ross, Peter S; Gobas, Frank A P C

    2016-01-01

    Resident killer whale populations in the NE Pacific Ocean are at risk due to the accumulation of pollutants, including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). To assess the impact of PBDEs in water and sediments in killer whale critical habitat, we developed a food web bioaccumulation model. The model was designed to estimate PBDE concentrations in killer whales based on PBDE concentrations in sediments and the water column throughout a lifetime of exposure. Calculated and observed PBDE concentrations exceeded the only toxicity reference value available for PBDEs in marine mammals (1500 μg/kg lipid) in southern resident killer whales but not in northern resident killer whales. Temporal trends (1993-2006) for PBDEs observed in southern resident killer whales showed a doubling time of ≈5 years. If current sediment quality guidelines available in Canada for polychlorinated biphenyls are applied to PBDEs, it can be expected that PBDE concentrations in killer whales will exceed available toxicity reference values by a large margin. Model calculations suggest that a PBDE concentration in sediments of approximately 1.0 μg/kg dw produces PBDE concentrations in resident killer whales that are below the current toxicity reference value for 95 % of the population, with this value serving as a precautionary benchmark for a management-based approach to reducing PBDE health risks to killer whales. The food web bioaccumulation model may be a useful risk management tool in support of regulatory protection for killer whales. PMID:26289814

  9. Linking killer whale survival and prey abundance: food limitation in the oceans' apex predator?

    PubMed

    Ford, John K B; Ellis, Graeme M; Olesiuk, Peter F; Balcomb, Kenneth C

    2010-02-23

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are large predators that occupy the top trophic position in the world's oceans and as such may have important roles in marine ecosystem dynamics. Although the possible top-down effects of killer whale predation on populations of their prey have received much recent attention, little is known of how the abundance of these predators may be limited by bottom-up processes. Here we show, using 25 years of demographic data from two populations of fish-eating killer whales in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, that population trends are driven largely by changes in survival, and that survival rates are strongly correlated with the availability of their principal prey species, Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Our results suggest that, although these killer whales may consume a variety of fish species, they are highly specialized and dependent on this single salmonid species to an extent that it is a limiting factor in their population dynamics. Other ecologically specialized killer whale populations may be similarly constrained to a narrow range of prey species by culturally inherited foraging strategies, and thus are limited in their ability to adapt rapidly to changing prey availability. PMID:19755531

  10. Positive selection on the killer whale mitogenome.

    PubMed

    Foote, Andrew D; Morin, Phillip A; Durban, John W; Pitman, Robert L; Wade, Paul; Willerslev, Eske; Gilbert, M Thomas P; da Fonseca, Rute R

    2011-02-23

    Mitochondria produce up to 95 per cent of the eukaryotic cell's energy. The coding genes of the mitochondrial DNA may therefore evolve under selection owing to metabolic requirements. The killer whale, Orcinus orca, is polymorphic, has a global distribution and occupies a range of ecological niches. It is therefore a suitable organism for testing this hypothesis. We compared a global dataset of the complete mitochondrial genomes of 139 individuals for amino acid changes that were associated with radical physico-chemical property changes and were influenced by positive selection. Two such selected non-synonymous amino acid changes were found; one in each of two ecotypes that inhabit the Antarctic pack ice. Both substitutions were associated with changes in local polarity, increased steric constraints and α-helical tendencies that could influence overall metabolic performance, suggesting a functional change. PMID:20810427

  11. Life history evolution: what does a menopausal killer whale do?

    PubMed

    Whitehead, Hal

    2015-03-16

    Menopause evolved in humans and whales, presumably because older females can help their kin. But how do they help? New research shows that post-menopausal female killer whales lead foraging groups. This leadership is most significant when food is scarce. PMID:25784039

  12. Vulnerability of a killer whale social network to disease outbreaks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guimarães, Paulo R., Jr.; de Menezes, Márcio Argollo; Baird, Robin W.; Lusseau, David; Guimarães, Paulo; Dos Reis, Sérgio F.

    2007-10-01

    Emerging infectious diseases are among the main threats to conservation of biological diversity. A crucial task facing epidemiologists is to predict the vulnerability of populations of endangered animals to disease outbreaks. In this context, the network structure of social interactions within animal populations may affect disease spreading. However, endangered animal populations are often small and to investigate the dynamics of small networks is a difficult task. Using network theory, we show that the social structure of an endangered population of mammal-eating killer whales is vulnerable to disease outbreaks. This feature was found to be a consequence of the combined effects of the topology and strength of social links among individuals. Our results uncover a serious challenge for conservation of the species and its ecosystem. In addition, this study shows that the network approach can be useful to study dynamical processes in very small networks.

  13. Sperm whales and killer whales with the largest brains of all toothed whales show extreme differences in cerebellum.

    PubMed

    Ridgway, Sam H; Hanson, Alicia C

    2014-01-01

    Among cetaceans, killer whales and sperm whales have the widest distribution in the world's oceans. Both species use echolocation, are long-lived, and have the longest periods of gestation among whales. Sperm whales dive much deeper and much longer than killer whales. It has long been thought that sperm whales have the largest brains of all living things, but our brain mass evidence, from published sources and our own specimens, shows that big males of these two species share this distinction. Despite this, we also find that cerebellum size is very different between killer whales and sperm whales. The sperm whale cerebellum is only about 7% of the total brain mass, while the killer whale cerebellum is almost 14%. These results are significant because they contradict claims that the cerebellum scales proportionally with the rest of the brain in all mammals. They also correct the generalization that all cetaceans have enlarged cerebella. We suggest possible reasons for the existence of such a large cerebellar size difference between these two species. Cerebellar function is not fully understood, and comparing the abilities of animals with differently sized cerebella can help uncover functional roles of the cerebellum in humans and animals. Here we show that the large cerebellar difference likely relates to evolutionary history, diving, sensory capability, and ecology. PMID:24852603

  14. 50 CFR 229.37 - False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 11 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan... § 229.37 False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan. (a) Purpose and scope. The purpose of this section is to implement the False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan to reduce mortality and serious injury of...

  15. Changes in dive behavior during naval sonar exposure in killer whales, long-finned pilot whales, and sperm whales.

    PubMed

    Sivle, L D; Kvadsheim, P H; Fahlman, A; Lam, F P A; Tyack, P L; Miller, P J O

    2012-01-01

    Anthropogenic underwater sound in the environment might potentially affect the behavior of marine mammals enough to have an impact on their reproduction and survival. Diving behavior of four killer whales (Orcinus orca), seven long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas), and four sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) was studied during controlled exposures to naval sonar [low frequency active sonar (LFAS): 1-2 kHz and mid frequency active sonar (MFAS): 6-7 kHz] during three field seasons (2006-2009). Diving behavior was monitored before, during and after sonar exposure using an archival tag placed on the animal with suction cups. The tag recorded the animal's vertical movement, and additional data on horizontal movement and vocalizations were used to determine behavioral modes. Killer whales that were conducting deep dives at sonar onset changed abruptly to shallow diving (ShD) during LFAS, while killer whales conducting deep dives at the onset of MFAS did not alter dive mode. When in ShD mode at sonar onset, killer whales did not change their diving behavior. Pilot and sperm whales performed normal deep dives (NDD) during MFAS exposure. During LFAS exposures, long-finned pilot whales mostly performed fewer deep dives and some sperm whales performed shallower and shorter dives. Acoustic recording data presented previously indicates that deep diving (DD) is associated with feeding. Therefore, the observed changes in dive behavior of the three species could potentially reduce the foraging efficiency of the affected animals. PMID:23087648

  16. Ultrasonic whistles of killer whales (Orcinus orca) recorded in the North Pacific (L).

    PubMed

    Filatova, Olga A; Ford, John K B; Matkin, Craig O; Barrett-Lennard, Lance G; Burdin, Alexander M; Hoyt, Erich

    2012-12-01

    Ultrasonic whistles were previously found in North Atlantic killer whales and were suggested to occur in eastern North Pacific killer whales based on the data from autonomous recorders. In this study ultrasonic whistles were found in the recordings from two encounters with the eastern North Pacific offshore ecotype killer whales and one encounter with the western North Pacific killer whales of unknown ecotype. All ultrasonic whistles were highly stereotyped and all but two had downsweep contours. These results demonstrate that specific sound categories can be shared by killer whales from different ocean basins. PMID:23231094

  17. The Relationship between Vessel Traffic and Noise Levels Received by Killer Whales (Orcinus orca)

    PubMed Central

    Houghton, Juliana; Holt, Marla M.; Giles, Deborah A.; Hanson, M. Bradley; Emmons, Candice K.; Hogan, Jeffrey T.; Branch, Trevor A.; VanBlaricom, Glenn R.

    2015-01-01

    Whale watching has become increasingly popular as an ecotourism activity around the globe and is beneficial for environmental education and local economies. Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) comprise an endangered population that is frequently observed by a large whale watching fleet in the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia. One of the factors identified as a risk to recovery for the population is the effect of vessels and associated noise. An examination of the effects of vessels and associated noise on whale behavior utilized novel equipment to address limitations of previous studies. Digital acoustic recording tags (DTAGs) measured the noise levels the tagged whales received while laser positioning systems allowed collection of geo-referenced data for tagged whales and all vessels within 1000 m of the tagged whale. The objective of the current study was to compare vessel data and DTAG recordings to relate vessel traffic to the ambient noise received by tagged whales. Two analyses were conducted, one including all recording intervals, and one that excluded intervals when only the research vessel was present. For all data, significant predictors of noise levels were length (inverse relationship), number of propellers, and vessel speed, but only 15% of the variation in noise was explained by this model. When research-vessel-only intervals were excluded, vessel speed was the only significant predictor of noise levels, and explained 42% of the variation. Simple linear regressions (ignoring covariates) found that average vessel speed and number of propellers were the only significant correlates with noise levels. We conclude that vessel speed is the most important predictor of noise levels received by whales in this study. Thus, measures that reduce vessel speed in the vicinity of killer whales would reduce noise exposure in this population. PMID:26629916

  18. The relationship between vessel traffic and noise levels received by killer whales (Orcinus orca)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Houghton, Juliana; Holt, Marla M.; Giles, Deborah A.; Hanson, M. Bradley; Emmons, Candice K.; Hogan, Jeffrey T.; Branch, Trevor A.; Vanblaricom, Glenn R.

    2015-01-01

    Whale watching has become increasingly popular as an ecotourism activity around the globe and is beneficial for environmental education and local economies. Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) comprise an endangered population that is frequently observed by a large whale watching fleet in the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia. One of the factors identified as a risk to recovery for the population is the effect of vessels and associated noise. An examination of the effects of vessels and associated noise on whale behavior utilized novel equipment to address limitations of previous studies. Digital acoustic recording tags (DTAGs) measured the noise levels the tagged whales received while laser positioning systems allowed collection of geo-referenced data for tagged whales and all vessels within 1000 m of the tagged whale. The objective of the current study was to compare vessel data and DTAG recordings to relate vessel traffic to the ambient noise received by tagged whales. Two analyses were conducted, one including all recording intervals, and one that excluded intervals when only the research vessel was present. For all data, significant predictors of noise levels were length (inverse relationship), number of propellers, and vessel speed, but only 15% of the variation in noise was explained by this model. When research-vessel-only intervals were excluded, vessel speed was the only significant predictor of noise levels, and explained 42% of the variation. Simple linear regressions (ignoring covariates) found that average vessel speed and number of propellers were the only significant correlates with noise levels. We conclude that vessel speed is the most important predictor of noise levels received by whales in this study. Thus, measures that reduce vessel speed in the vicinity of killer whales would reduce noise exposure in this population.

  19. The Relationship between Vessel Traffic and Noise Levels Received by Killer Whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Houghton, Juliana; Holt, Marla M; Giles, Deborah A; Hanson, M Bradley; Emmons, Candice K; Hogan, Jeffrey T; Branch, Trevor A; VanBlaricom, Glenn R

    2015-01-01

    Whale watching has become increasingly popular as an ecotourism activity around the globe and is beneficial for environmental education and local economies. Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) comprise an endangered population that is frequently observed by a large whale watching fleet in the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia. One of the factors identified as a risk to recovery for the population is the effect of vessels and associated noise. An examination of the effects of vessels and associated noise on whale behavior utilized novel equipment to address limitations of previous studies. Digital acoustic recording tags (DTAGs) measured the noise levels the tagged whales received while laser positioning systems allowed collection of geo-referenced data for tagged whales and all vessels within 1000 m of the tagged whale. The objective of the current study was to compare vessel data and DTAG recordings to relate vessel traffic to the ambient noise received by tagged whales. Two analyses were conducted, one including all recording intervals, and one that excluded intervals when only the research vessel was present. For all data, significant predictors of noise levels were length (inverse relationship), number of propellers, and vessel speed, but only 15% of the variation in noise was explained by this model. When research-vessel-only intervals were excluded, vessel speed was the only significant predictor of noise levels, and explained 42% of the variation. Simple linear regressions (ignoring covariates) found that average vessel speed and number of propellers were the only significant correlates with noise levels. We conclude that vessel speed is the most important predictor of noise levels received by whales in this study. Thus, measures that reduce vessel speed in the vicinity of killer whales would reduce noise exposure in this population. PMID:26629916

  20. Use of chemical tracers in assessing the diet and foraging regions of eastern North Pacific killer whales.

    PubMed

    Krahn, Margaret M; Herman, David P; Matkin, Craig O; Durban, John W; Barrett-Lennard, Lance; Burrows, Douglas G; Dahlheim, Marilyn E; Black, Nancy; LeDuc, Richard G; Wade, Paul R

    2007-03-01

    Top predators in the marine environment integrate chemical signals acquired from their prey that reflect both the species consumed and the regions from which the prey were taken. These chemical tracers-stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen; persistent organic pollutant (POP) concentrations, patterns and ratios; and fatty acid profiles-were measured in blubber biopsy samples from North Pacific killer whales (Orcinus orca) (n=84) and were used to provide further insight into their diet, particularly for the offshore group, about which little dietary information is available. The offshore killer whales were shown to consume prey species that were distinctly different from those of sympatric resident and transient killer whales. In addition, it was confirmed that the offshores forage as far south as California. Thus, these results provide evidence that the offshores belong to a third killer whale ecotype. Resident killer whale populations showed a gradient in stable isotope profiles from west (central Aleutians) to east (Gulf of Alaska) that, in part, can be attributed to a shift from off-shelf to continental shelf-based prey. Finally, stable isotope ratio results, supported by field observations, showed that the diet in spring and summer of eastern Aleutian Island transient killer whales is apparently not composed exclusively of Steller sea lions. PMID:16934324

  1. West Nile virus infection in killer whale, Texas, USA, 2007.

    PubMed

    St Leger, Judy; Wu, Guang; Anderson, Mark; Dalton, Les; Nilson, Erika; Wang, David

    2011-08-01

    In 2007, nonsuppurative encephalitis was identified in a killer whale at a Texas, USA, marine park. Panviral DNA microarray of brain tissue suggested West Nile virus (WNV); WNV was confirmed by reverse transcription PCR and sequencing. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated WNV antigen within neurons. WNV should be considered in cases of encephalitis in cetaceans. PMID:21801643

  2. Whistle sequences in wild killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Riesch, Rüdiger; Ford, John K B; Thomsen, Frank

    2008-09-01

    Combining different stereotyped vocal signals into specific sequences increases the range of information that can be transferred between individuals. The temporal emission pattern and the behavioral context of vocal sequences have been described in detail for a variety of birds and mammals. Yet, in cetaceans, the study of vocal sequences is just in its infancy. Here, we provide a detailed analysis of sequences of stereotyped whistles in killer whales off Vancouver Island, British Columbia. A total of 1140 whistle transitions in 192 whistle sequences recorded from resident killer whales were analyzed using common spectrographic analysis techniques. In addition to the stereotyped whistles described by Riesch et al., [(2006). "Stability and group specificity of stereotyped whistles in resident killer whales, Orcinus orca, off British Columbia," Anim. Behav. 71, 79-91.] We found a new and rare stereotyped whistle (W7) as well as two whistle elements, which are closely linked to whistle sequences: (1) stammers and (2) bridge elements. Furthermore, the frequency of occurrence of 12 different stereotyped whistle types within the sequences was not randomly distributed and the transition patterns between whistles were also nonrandom. Finally, whistle sequences were closely tied to close-range behavioral interactions (in particular among males). Hence, we conclude that whistle sequences in wild killer whales are complex signal series and propose that they are most likely emitted by single individuals. PMID:19045672

  3. Vocalisations of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in the Bremer Canyon, Western Australia.

    PubMed

    Wellard, Rebecca; Erbe, Christine; Fouda, Leila; Blewitt, Michelle

    2015-01-01

    To date, there has been no dedicated study in Australian waters on the acoustics of killer whales. Hence no information has been published on the sounds produced by killer whales from this region. Here we present the first acoustical analysis of recordings collected off the Western Australian coast. Underwater sounds produced by Australian killer whales were recorded during the months of February and March 2014 and 2015 in the Bremer Canyon in Western Australia. Vocalisations recorded included echolocation clicks, burst-pulse sounds and whistles. A total of 28 hours and 29 minutes were recorded and analysed, with 2376 killer whale calls (whistles and burst-pulse sounds) detected. Recordings of poor quality or signal-to-noise ratio were excluded from analysis, resulting in 142 whistles and burst-pulse vocalisations suitable for analysis and categorisation. These were grouped based on their spectrographic features into nine Bremer Canyon (BC) "call types". The frequency of the fundamental contours of all call types ranged from 600 Hz to 29 kHz. Calls ranged from 0.05 to 11.3 seconds in duration. Biosonar clicks were also recorded, but not studied further. Surface behaviours noted during acoustic recordings were categorised as either travelling or social behaviour. A detailed description of the acoustic characteristics is necessary for species acoustic identification and for the development of passive acoustic tools for population monitoring, including assessments of population status, habitat usage, migration patterns, behaviour and acoustic ecology. This study provides the first quantitative assessment and report on the acoustic features of killer whales vocalisations in Australian waters, and presents an opportunity to further investigate this little-known population. PMID:26352429

  4. Vocalisations of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in the Bremer Canyon, Western Australia

    PubMed Central

    Wellard, Rebecca; Erbe, Christine; Fouda, Leila; Blewitt, Michelle

    2015-01-01

    To date, there has been no dedicated study in Australian waters on the acoustics of killer whales. Hence no information has been published on the sounds produced by killer whales from this region. Here we present the first acoustical analysis of recordings collected off the Western Australian coast. Underwater sounds produced by Australian killer whales were recorded during the months of February and March 2014 and 2015 in the Bremer Canyon in Western Australia. Vocalisations recorded included echolocation clicks, burst-pulse sounds and whistles. A total of 28 hours and 29 minutes were recorded and analysed, with 2376 killer whale calls (whistles and burst-pulse sounds) detected. Recordings of poor quality or signal-to-noise ratio were excluded from analysis, resulting in 142 whistles and burst-pulse vocalisations suitable for analysis and categorisation. These were grouped based on their spectrographic features into nine Bremer Canyon (BC) “call types”. The frequency of the fundamental contours of all call types ranged from 600 Hz to 29 kHz. Calls ranged from 0.05 to 11.3 seconds in duration. Biosonar clicks were also recorded, but not studied further. Surface behaviours noted during acoustic recordings were categorised as either travelling or social behaviour. A detailed description of the acoustic characteristics is necessary for species acoustic identification and for the development of passive acoustic tools for population monitoring, including assessments of population status, habitat usage, migration patterns, behaviour and acoustic ecology. This study provides the first quantitative assessment and report on the acoustic features of killer whales vocalisations in Australian waters, and presents an opportunity to further investigate this little-known population. PMID:26352429

  5. Longitudinal evaluation of leukocyte transcripts in killer whales (Orcinus Orca)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sitt, Tatjana; Bowen, Lizabeth; Lee, Chia-Shan; Blanchard, Myra; McBain, James; Dold, Christopher; Stott, Jeffrey L.

    2016-01-01

    Early identification of illness and/or presence of environmental and/or social stressors in free-ranging and domestic cetaceans is a priority for marine mammal health care professionals. Incorporation of leukocyte gene transcript analysis into the diagnostic tool kit has the potential to augment classical diagnostics based upon ease of sample storage and shipment, inducible nature and well-defined roles of transcription and associated downstream actions. Development of biomarkers that could serve to identify “insults” and potentially differentiate disease etiology would be of great diagnostic value. To this end, a modest number of peripheral blood leukocyte gene transcripts were selected for application to a domestic killer whale population with a focus on broad representation of inducible immunologically relevant genes. Normalized leukocyte transcript values, longitudinally acquired from 232 blood samples derived from 26 clinically healthy whales, were not visibly influenced temporally nor by sex or the specific Park in which they resided. Stability in leukocyte transcript number during periods of health enhances their potential use in diagnostics through identification of outliers. Transcript levels of two cytokine genes, IL-4 and IL-17, were highly variable within the group as compared to the other transcripts. IL-4 transcripts were typically absent. Analysis of transcript levels on the other genes of interest, on an individual animal basis, identified more outliers than were visible when analyzed in the context of the entire population. The majority of outliers (9 samples) were low, though elevated transcripts were identified for IL-17 from 2 animals and one each for Cox-2 and IL-10. The low number of outliers was not unexpected as sample selection was intentionally directed towards animals that were clinically healthy at the time of collection. Outliers may reflect animals experiencing subclinical disease that is transient and self-limiting. The

  6. Longitudinal evaluation of leukocyte transcripts in killer whales (Orcinus Orca).

    PubMed

    Sitt, Tatjana; Bowen, Lizabeth; Lee, Chia-Shan; Blanchard, Myra T; McBain, James; Dold, Christopher; Stott, Jeffrey L

    2016-07-01

    Early identification of illness and/or presence of environmental and/or social stressors in free-ranging and domestic cetaceans is a priority for marine mammal health care professionals. Incorporation of leukocyte gene transcript analysis into the diagnostic tool kit has the potential to augment classical diagnostics based upon ease of sample storage and shipment, inducible nature and well-defined roles of transcription and associated downstream actions. Development of biomarkers that could serve to identify "insults" and potentially differentiate disease etiology would be of great diagnostic value. To this end, a modest number of peripheral blood leukocyte gene transcripts were selected for application to a domestic killer whale population with a focus on broad representation of inducible immunologically relevant genes. Normalized leukocyte transcript values, longitudinally acquired from 232 blood samples derived from 26 clinically healthy whales, were not visibly influenced temporally nor by sex or the specific Park in which they resided. Stability in leukocyte transcript number during periods of health enhances their potential use in diagnostics through identification of outliers. Transcript levels of two cytokine genes, IL-4 and IL-17, were highly variable within the group as compared to the other transcripts. IL-4 transcripts were typically absent. Analysis of transcript levels on the other genes of interest, on an individual animal basis, identified more outliers than were visible when analyzed in the context of the entire population. The majority of outliers (9 samples) were low, though elevated transcripts were identified for IL-17 from 2 animals and one each for Cox-2 and IL-10. The low number of outliers was not unexpected as sample selection was intentionally directed towards animals that were clinically healthy at the time of collection. Outliers may reflect animals experiencing subclinical disease that is transient and self-limiting. The immunologic

  7. Pilot Whales Attracted to Killer Whale Sounds: Acoustically-Mediated Interspecific Interactions in Cetaceans

    PubMed Central

    Curé, Charlotte; Antunes, Ricardo; Samarra, Filipa; Alves, Ana Catarina; Visser, Fleur; Kvadsheim, Petter H.; Miller, Patrick J. O.

    2012-01-01

    In cetaceans’ communities, interactions between individuals of different species are often observed in the wild. Yet, due to methodological and technical challenges very little is known about the mediation of these interactions and their effect on cetaceans’ behavior. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are a highly vocal species and can be both food competitors and potential predators of many other cetaceans. Thus, the interception of their vocalizations by unintended cetacean receivers may be particularly important in mediating interspecific interactions. To address this hypothesis, we conducted playbacks of killer whale vocalizations recorded during herring-feeding activity to free-ranging long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas). Using a multi-sensor tag, we were able to track the whales and to monitor changes of their movements and social behavior in response to the playbacks. We demonstrated that the playback of killer whale sounds to pilot whales induced a clear increase in group size and a strong attraction of the animals towards the sound source. These findings provide the first experimental evidence that the interception of heterospecific vocalizations can mediate interactions between different cetacean species in previously unrecognized ways. PMID:23300613

  8. Pilot whales attracted to killer whale sounds: acoustically-mediated interspecific interactions in cetaceans.

    PubMed

    Curé, Charlotte; Antunes, Ricardo; Samarra, Filipa; Alves, Ana Catarina; Visser, Fleur; Kvadsheim, Petter H; Miller, Patrick J O

    2012-01-01

    In cetaceans' communities, interactions between individuals of different species are often observed in the wild. Yet, due to methodological and technical challenges very little is known about the mediation of these interactions and their effect on cetaceans' behavior. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are a highly vocal species and can be both food competitors and potential predators of many other cetaceans. Thus, the interception of their vocalizations by unintended cetacean receivers may be particularly important in mediating interspecific interactions. To address this hypothesis, we conducted playbacks of killer whale vocalizations recorded during herring-feeding activity to free-ranging long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas). Using a multi-sensor tag, we were able to track the whales and to monitor changes of their movements and social behavior in response to the playbacks. We demonstrated that the playback of killer whale sounds to pilot whales induced a clear increase in group size and a strong attraction of the animals towards the sound source. These findings provide the first experimental evidence that the interception of heterospecific vocalizations can mediate interactions between different cetacean species in previously unrecognized ways. PMID:23300613

  9. Severity of killer whale behavioral responses to ship noise: a dose-response study.

    PubMed

    Williams, Rob; Erbe, Christine; Ashe, Erin; Beerman, Amber; Smith, Jodi

    2014-02-15

    Critical habitats of at-risk populations of northeast Pacific "resident" killer whales can be heavily trafficked by large ships, with transits occurring on average once every hour in busy shipping lanes. We modeled behavioral responses of killer whales to ship transits during 35 "natural experiments" as a dose-response function of estimated received noise levels in both broadband and audiogram-weighted terms. Interpreting effects is contingent on a subjective and seemingly arbitrary decision about severity threshold indicating a response. Subtle responses were observed around broadband received levels of 130 dB re 1 μPa (rms); more severe responses are hypothesized to occur at received levels beyond 150 dB re 1 μPa, where our study lacked data. Avoidance responses are expected to carry minor energetic costs in terms of increased energy expenditure, but future research must assess the potential for reduced prey acquisition, and potential population consequences, under these noise levels. PMID:24373666

  10. Variation in call pitch among killer whale ecotypes.

    PubMed

    Foote, Andrew D; Nystuen, Jeffrey A

    2008-03-01

    Vocal structure can vary between populations due to variation in ecology-dependent selection pressures, such as masking by background noise and the presence of eavesdroppers. Signalers can overcome these obstacles to effective communication by avoiding frequencies that overlap with background noise or the audible range of eavesdroppers. In the Northeastern Pacific three "ecotypes" of killer whale coexist in sympatry, but differ from one another in their diet and habitat use. The minimum frequency (F(min)) and the frequency containing the peak energy between 0 and 10 kHz (F(peak)) of a random sample of calls produced by a population of each ecotype was measured. The offshore ecotype produced calls with a significantly higher F(min) than the other ecotypes, which could be a strategy to avoid masking by low frequency chronic bandlimited wind noise found in the offshore environment. The resident ecotype produced calls with a significantly higher F(min) and F(peak) than the transient ecotype. This could be to reduce detection by their salmonid prey, which has a narrow band, low frequency auditory range. PMID:18345862

  11. Offshore killer whale tracking using multiple hydrophone arrays.

    PubMed

    Gassmann, Martin; Henderson, E Elizabeth; Wiggins, Sean M; Roch, Marie A; Hildebrand, John A

    2013-11-01

    To study delphinid near surface movements and behavior, two L-shaped hydrophone arrays and one vertical hydrophone line array were deployed at shallow depths (<125 m) from the floating instrument platform R/P FLIP, moored northwest of San Clemente Island in the Southern California Bight. A three-dimensional propagation-model based passive acoustic tracking method was developed and used to track a group of five offshore killer whales (Orcinus orca) using their emitted clicks. In addition, killer whale pulsed calls and high-frequency modulated (HFM) signals were localized using other standard techniques. Based on these tracks sound source levels for the killer whales were estimated. The peak to peak source levels for echolocation clicks vary between 170-205 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 m, for HFM calls between 185-193 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 m, and for pulsed calls between 146-158 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 m. PMID:24180762

  12. Experimental evidence for action imitation in killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Abramson, José Z; Hernández-Lloreda, Victoria; Call, Josep; Colmenares, Fernando

    2013-01-01

    Comparative experimental studies of imitative learning have focused mainly on primates and birds. However, cetaceans are promising candidates to display imitative learning as they have evolved in socioecological settings that have selected for large brains, complex sociality, and coordinated predatory tactics. Here we tested imitative learning in killer whales, Orcinus orca. We used a 'do-as-other-does' paradigm in which 3 subjects witnessed a conspecific demonstrator's performance that included 15 familiar and 4 novel behaviours. The three subjects (1) learned the copy command signal 'Do that' very quickly, that is, 20 trials on average; (2) copied 100 % of the demonstrator's familiar and novel actions; (3) achieved full matches in the first attempt for 8-13 familiar behaviours (out of 15) and for the 2 novel behaviours (out of 2) in one subject; and (4) took no longer than 8 trials to accurately copy any familiar behaviour, and no longer than 16 trials to copy any novel behaviour. This study provides experimental evidence for body imitation, including production imitation, in killer whales that is comparable to that observed in dolphins tested under similar conditions. These findings suggest that imitative learning may underpin some of the group-specific traditions reported in killer whales in the field. PMID:22875725

  13. Divergence of a stereotyped call in northern resident killer whales.

    PubMed

    Grebner, Dawn M; Parks, Susan E; Bradley, David L; Miksis-Olds, Jennifer L; Capone, Dean E; Ford, John K B

    2011-02-01

    Northern resident killer whale pods (Orcinus orca) have distinctive stereotyped pulsed call repertoires that can be used to distinguish groups acoustically. Repertoires are generally stable, with the same call types comprising the repertoire of a given pod over a period of years to decades. Previous studies have shown that some discrete pulsed calls can be subdivided into variants or subtypes. This study suggests that new stereotyped calls may result from the gradual modification of existing call types through subtypes. Vocalizations of individuals and small groups of killer whales were collected using a bottom-mounted hydrophone array in Johnstone Strait, British Columbia in 2006 and 2007. Discriminant analysis of slope variations of a predominant call type, N4, revealed the presence of four distinct call subtypes. Similar to previous studies, there was a divergence of the N4 call between members of different matrilines of the same pod. However, this study reveals that individual killer whales produced multiple subtypes of the N4 call, indicating that divergence in the N4 call is not the result of individual differences, but rather may indicate the gradual evolution of a new stereotyped call. PMID:21361462

  14. Echolocation signals of foraging killer whales (Orcinus orca)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Au, Whitlow W. L.; Ford, John K. B.; Allman, Kelly A.

    2002-05-01

    Fish eating resident killer whales that frequent the coastal waters of Vancouver Island, Canada have a strong preference for chinook salmon. The whales in Johnston Strait often forage along the steep cliffs that extend into the water, echolocating their prey. Echolocation signals were measured with a four hydrophone symmetrical star array and the signals were simultaneous digitized at a sample rate of 500 kHz using a lunch-box PC. A portable VCR recorded the images from an underwater camera located close to the array center. Only signals emanated from close to the beam axis (1185 total) were chosen for a detailed analysis. Killer whales project very broad band echolocation signals (Q 1.3 to 1.5) that tend to have a bimodal frequency structure. Ninety seven percent of the signals had center frequencies between 45 and 80 kHz with a band-width between 35 and 50 kHz. The peak-to-peak source level of the echolocation signal decreased as a function of the one way transmission loss to the array. Source levels varied between 200 and 225 dB re 1 μPa. Using a model of target strength for chinook salmons, the echo levels from the echolocation signals are estimated for different ranges between whale and salmon.

  15. Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Deaths in Prince William Sound, Alaska, 1985-1990.

    PubMed

    Fraker, Mark A

    2013-01-01

    During 1985-1990, two groups of killer whales in Prince William Sound, Alaska, experienced unusually high rates of mortality, while seven others did not. Those affected were AB pod, part of the southern Alaska population of resident (fish-eating) killer whales, and the AT1 transient (marine mammal-eating) group, a very small, reproductively isolated population that last reproduced in 1984. In 1985-1986, several AB pod members were shot by fishermen defending their catch from depredation, which explains some of the deaths. Understanding the other deaths is complicated by the Exxon Valdez oil spill (March 1989) and uncertainties about the causes and times of the deaths. For AB pod, possible factors involved in the post-spill mortalities are delayed effects of bullet wounds, continued shooting, oil exposure, and consequences of being orphaned. For the AT1 group, possible factors are oil exposure, small population size, old age, and high-contaminant burdens. An analysis of possible effects of inhalation of volatile organic compounds, contact with the oil slick, and ingestion of oil with water or prey did not reveal route(s) of exposure that could explain the mortalities. The cause(s) of the killer whale deaths recorded following the oil spill remain uncertain. PMID:23335844

  16. Cross-cultural and cross-ecotype production of a killer whale `excitement' call suggests universality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rehn, Nicola; Filatova, Olga A.; Durban, John W.; Foote, Andrew D.

    2011-01-01

    Facial and vocal expressions of emotion have been found in a number of social mammal species and are thought to have evolved to aid social communication. There has been much debate about whether such signals are culturally inherited or are truly biologically innate. Evidence for the innateness of such signals can come from cross-cultural studies. Previous studies have identified a vocalisation (the V4 or `excitement' call) associated with high arousal behaviours in a population of killer whales in British Columbia, Canada. In this study, we compared recordings from three different socially and reproductively isolated ecotypes of killer whales, including five vocal clans of one ecotype, each clan having discrete culturally transmitted vocal traditions. The V4 call was found in recordings of each ecotype and each vocal clan. Nine independent observers reproduced our classification of the V4 call from each population with high inter-observer agreement. Our results suggest the V4 call may be universal in Pacific killer whale populations and that transmission of this call is independent of cultural tradition or ecotype. We argue that such universality is more consistent with an innate vocalisation than one acquired through social learning and may be linked to its apparent function of motivational expression.

  17. Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Deaths in Prince William Sound, Alaska, 1985–1990

    PubMed Central

    Fraker, Mark A.

    2013-01-01

    During 1985–1990, two groups of killer whales in Prince William Sound, Alaska, experienced unusually high rates of mortality, while seven others did not. Those affected were AB pod, part of the southern Alaska population of resident (fish-eating) killer whales, and the AT1 transient (marine mammal–eating) group, a very small, reproductively isolated population that last reproduced in 1984. In 1985–1986, several AB pod members were shot by fishermen defending their catch from depredation, which explains some of the deaths. Understanding the other deaths is complicated by the Exxon Valdez oil spill (March 1989) and uncertainties about the causes and times of the deaths. For AB pod, possible factors involved in the post-spill mortalities are delayed effects of bullet wounds, continued shooting, oil exposure, and consequences of being orphaned. For the AT1 group, possible factors are oil exposure, small population size, old age, and high-contaminant burdens. An analysis of possible effects of inhalation of volatile organic compounds, contact with the oil slick, and ingestion of oil with water or prey did not reveal route(s) of exposure that could explain the mortalities. The cause(s) of the killer whale deaths recorded following the oil spill remain uncertain. PMID:23335844

  18. High-frequency modulated signals of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the North Pacific.

    PubMed

    Simonis, Anne E; Baumann-Pickering, Simone; Oleson, Erin; Melcón, Mariana L; Gassmann, Martin; Wiggins, Sean M; Hildebrand, John A

    2012-04-01

    Killer whales in the North Pacific, similar to Atlantic populations, produce high-frequency modulated signals, based on acoustic recordings from ship-based hydrophone arrays and autonomous recorders at multiple locations. The median peak frequency of these signals ranged from 19.6-36.1 kHz and median duration ranged from 50-163 ms. Source levels were 185-193 dB peak-to-peak re: 1 μPa at 1 m. These uniform, repetitive, down-swept signals are similar to bat echolocation signals and possibly could have echolocation functionality. A large geographic range of occurrence suggests that different killer whale ecotypes may utilize these signals. PMID:22502484

  19. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) face protracted health risks associated with lifetime exposure to PCBs.

    PubMed

    Hickie, Brendan E; Ross, Peter S; Macdonald, Robie W; Ford, John K B

    2007-09-15

    Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations declined rapidly in environmental compartments and most biota following implementation of regulations in the 1970s. However, the metabolic recalcitrance of PCBs may delay responses to such declines in large, long-lived species, such as the endangered and highly PCB-contaminated resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) of the Northeastern Pacific Ocean. To investigate the influence of life history on PCB-related health risks, we developed models to estimate PCB concentrations in killer whales during the period from 1930 forward to 2030, both within a lifetime (approximately 50 years) and across generations, and then evaluated these in the context of health effects thresholds established for marine mammals. Modeled PCB concentrations in killer whales responded slowly to changes in loadings to the environment as evidenced by slower accumulation and lower magnitude increases in PCB concentrations relative to prey, and a delayed decline that was particularly evident in adult males. Since PCBs attained peak levels well above the effects threshold (17 mg/kg lipid) in approximately 1969, estimated concentrations in both the northern and the more contaminated southern resident populations have declined gradually. Projections suggest that the northern resident population could largely fall below the threshold concentration by 2030 while the endangered southern residents may not do so until at least 2063. Long-lived aquatic mammals are therefore not protected from PCBs by current dietary residue guidelines. PMID:17948816

  20. 50 CFR 226.206 - Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Critical habitat for the Southern Resident... CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.206 Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca). Critical habitat is designated for the Southern Resident killer whale as described in this section. The...

  1. 50 CFR 226.206 - Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 7 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Critical habitat for the Southern Resident... CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.206 Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca). Critical habitat is designated for the Southern Resident killer whale as described in this section. The...

  2. 50 CFR 226.206 - Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Critical habitat for the Southern... DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.206 Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca). Critical habitat is designated for the Southern Resident killer whale as described in this section....

  3. 50 CFR 226.206 - Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Critical habitat for the Southern... DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.206 Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca). Critical habitat is designated for the Southern Resident killer whale as described in this section....

  4. Speaking up: Killer whales (Orcinus orca) increase their call amplitude in response to vessel noise.

    PubMed

    Holt, Marla M; Noren, Dawn P; Veirs, Val; Emmons, Candice K; Veirs, Scott

    2009-01-01

    This study investigated the effects of anthropogenic sound exposure on the vocal behavior of free-ranging killer whales. Endangered Southern Resident killer whales inhabit areas including the urban coastal waters of Puget Sound near Seattle, WA, where anthropogenic sounds are ubiquitous, particularly those from motorized vessels. A calibrated recording system was used to measure killer whale call source levels and background noise levels (1-40 kHz). Results show that whales increased their call amplitude by 1 dB for every 1 dB increase in background noise levels. Furthermore, nearby vessel counts were positively correlated with these observed background noise levels. PMID:19173379

  5. Disseminated mycosis in a killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Abdo, Walied; Kawachi, Takeshi; Sakai, Hiroki; Fukushi, Hideto; Kano, Rui; Shibahara, Tomoyuki; Shirouzu, Hiroshi; Kakizoe, Yuko; Tuji, Hajime; Yanai, Tokuma

    2012-01-01

    Hematological findings in a female killer whale (Orcinus orca) undergoing rehabilitation after sudden severe anorexia revealed continuing increases in serum lactate dehydrogenase and aspartate aminotransferase activities as well as fibrinogen concentration. Serologic evidence of herpesvirus infection and skin vesicles were detected 2 weeks into the treatment regimen of antibiotics and corticosteroids. The whale showed signs of improvement after treatment with anti-herpesvirus drugs, but sudden severe anorexia reappeared, along with marked elevation of fibrinogen concentration that continued until the death. Postmortem examination revealed multiple light tan foci of necrosis in the skeletal and cardiac muscles, and lung consolidation. Microscopic findings indicated disseminated fungal granulomas in the skeletal and cardiac muscles, as well as myocarditis, mycotic embolic thromboarteritis of cardiac blood vessels, and bronchopneumonia with numerous typical Aspergillus-like fungi. Mucor-like structures in granulomas in the heart and skeletal muscle and Aspergillus-like fungi in the lungs were identified using periodic acid-Schiff, Gomori methenamine silver stain, and immunohistochemistry. The present case involves dual infection with Mucor and Aspergillus species in a killer whale with concurrent herpesvirus. PMID:22362957

  6. An agent-based model of dialect evolution in killer whales.

    PubMed

    Filatova, Olga A; Miller, Patrick J O

    2015-05-21

    The killer whale is one of the few animal species with vocal dialects that arise from socially learned group-specific call repertoires. We describe a new agent-based model of killer whale populations and test a set of vocal-learning rules to assess which mechanisms may lead to the formation of dialect groupings observed in the wild. We tested a null model with genetic transmission and no learning, and ten models with learning rules that differ by template source (mother or matriline), variation type (random errors or innovations) and type of call change (no divergence from kin vs. divergence from kin). The null model without vocal learning did not produce the pattern of group-specific call repertoires we observe in nature. Learning from either mother alone or the entire matriline with calls changing by random errors produced a graded distribution of the call phenotype, without the discrete call types observed in nature. Introducing occasional innovation or random error proportional to matriline variance yielded more or less discrete and stable call types. A tendency to diverge from the calls of related matrilines provided fast divergence of loose call clusters. A pattern resembling the dialect diversity observed in the wild arose only when rules were applied in combinations and similar outputs could arise from different learning rules and their combinations. Our results emphasize the lack of information on quantitative features of wild killer whale dialects and reveal a set of testable questions that can draw insights into the cultural evolution of killer whale dialects. PMID:25817037

  7. 75 FR 17377 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Initiation of 5-Year Review for Southern Resident Killer Whales

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-04-06

    ... Southern Resident killer whale distinct population segment (DPS) currently listed as endangered (70 FR... in November 2006 (71 FR 69054) and includes 2,560 square miles (6,630 sq km) of marine habitat in... final Recovery Plan was released in January 2008 (73 FR 4176), and contains detailed information...

  8. A false killer whale adjusts its hearing when it echolocates.

    PubMed

    Nachtigall, Paul E; Supin, Alexander Y

    2008-06-01

    The use of auditory evoked potential (AEP) measurements has added considerably to knowledge of the hearing mechanisms of marine mammals. We have recently measured the hearing of a stranded infant Risso's dolphin, the audiograms of white-beaked dolphins temporarily caught and released, and the hearing of anaesthetized polar bears. Most small toothed whales echolocate and hear very high frequency sounds underwater. While much has previously been learned about the echolocation performance and characteristics of the outgoing signals of echolocating dolphins and small whales, the hearing processes occurring while these animals actively echolocate have not previously been examined. Working with a well-trained echolocating false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) wearing latex surface suction cup electrodes, we have measured echolocation hearing AEPs in response to outgoing echolocation clicks, returning echoes, and comparable simulated whale clicks and echoes in a variety of situations. We have found that: (1) the whale may hear her loud outgoing clicks and much quieter returning echoes at comparable levels, (2) the whale has protective mechanisms that dampen the intensity of her outgoing signals - she hears her outgoing signals at a level about 40 dB lower than similar signals presented directly in front of her, (3) when echo return levels are lowered either by making the targets smaller or by placing the targets farther away - without changing the levels of her outgoing signals - the hearing of these echoes remains at almost the same level, (4) if targets are made much smaller and harder to echolocate, the animal will modify what she hears of her outgoing signal - as if to heighten overall hearing sensitivity to keep the echo level hearable, (5) the animal has an active 'automatic gain control' mechanism in her hearing based on both forward masking that balances outgoing pulse intensity and time between pulse and echo, and active hearing control. Overall, hearing

  9. Differences in acoustic features of vocalizations produced by killer whales cross-socialized with bottlenose dolphins.

    PubMed

    Musser, Whitney B; Bowles, Ann E; Grebner, Dawn M; Crance, Jessica L

    2014-10-01

    Limited previous evidence suggests that killer whales (Orcinus orca) are capable of vocal production learning. However, vocal contextual learning has not been studied, nor the factors promoting learning. Vocalizations were collected from three killer whales with a history of exposure to bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and compared with data from seven killer whales held with conspecifics and nine bottlenose dolphins. The three whales' repertoires were distinguishable by a higher proportion of click trains and whistles. Time-domain features of click trains were intermediate between those of whales held with conspecifics and dolphins. These differences provided evidence for contextual learning. One killer whale spontaneously learned to produce artificial chirps taught to dolphins; acoustic features fell within the range of inter-individual differences among the dolphins. This whale also produced whistles similar to a stereotyped whistle produced by one dolphin. Thus, results provide further support for vocal production learning and show that killer whales are capable of contextual learning. That killer whales produce similar repertoires when associated with another species suggests substantial vocal plasticity and motivation for vocal conformity with social associates. PMID:25324098

  10. Operational Performance Analysis of Passive Acoustic Monitoring for Killer Whales

    SciTech Connect

    Matzner, Shari; Fu, Tao; Ren, Huiying; Deng, Zhiqun; Sun, Yannan; Carlson, Thomas J.

    2011-09-30

    For the planned tidal turbine site in Puget Sound, WA, the main concern is to protect Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) due to their Endangered Species Act status. A passive acoustic monitoring system is proposed because the whales emit vocalizations that can be detected by a passive system. The algorithm for detection is implemented in two stages. The first stage is an energy detector designed to detect candidate signals. The second stage is a spectral classifier that is designed to reduce false alarms. The evaluation presented here of the detection algorithm incorporates behavioral models of the species of interest, environmental models of noise levels and potential false alarm sources to provide a realistic characterization of expected operational performance.

  11. PCB-associated changes in mRNA expression in killer whales (Orcinus orca) from the NE Pacific Ocean.

    PubMed

    Buckman, Andrea H; Veldhoen, Nik; Ellis, Graeme; Ford, John K B; Helbing, Caren C; Ross, Peter S

    2011-12-01

    Killer whales in the NE Pacific Ocean are among the world's most PCB-contaminated marine mammals, raising concerns about implications for their health. Sixteen health-related killer whale mRNA transcripts were analyzed in blubber biopsies collected from 35 free-ranging killer whales in British Columbia using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. We observed PCB-related increases in the expression of five gene targets, including the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR; r(2) = 0.83; p < 0.001), thyroid hormone α receptor (TRα; r(2) = 0.64; p < 0.001), estrogen α receptor (ERα; r(2) = 0.70; p < 0.001), interleukin 10 (IL-10; r(2) = 0.74 and 0.68, males and females, respectively; p < 0.001), and metallothionein 1 (MT1; r(2) = 0.58; p < 0.001). Best-fit models indicated that population (dietary preference), age, and sex were not confounding factors, except for IL-10, where males differed from females. While the population-level consequences are unclear, the PCB-associated alterations in mRNA abundance of such pivotal end points provide compelling evidence of adverse physiological effects of persistent environmental contaminants in these endangered killer whales. PMID:21985468

  12. Stable isotopes of captive cetaceans (killer whales and bottlenose dolphins).

    PubMed

    Caut, Stéphane; Laran, Sophie; Garcia-Hartmann, Emmanuel; Das, Krishna

    2011-02-15

    There is currently a great deal of interest in using stable isotope methods to investigate diet, trophic level and migration in wild cetaceans. In order to correctly interpret the results stemming from these methods, it is crucial to understand how diet isotopic values are reflected in consumer tissues. In this study, we investigated patterns of isotopic discrimination between diet and blood constituents of two species of cetaceans (killer whale, Orcinus orca, and bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus) fed controlled diets over 308 and 312 days, respectively. Diet discrimination factors (Δ; mean ± s.d.) for plasma were estimated to Δ(13)C=2.3±0.6‰ and Δ(15)N=1.8±0.3‰, respectively, for both species and to Δ(13)C=2.7±0.3‰ and Δ(15)N=0.5±0.1‰ for red blood cells. Delipidation did not have a significant effect on carbon and nitrogen isotopic values of blood constituents, confirming that cetacean blood does not serve as a reservoir of lipids. In contrast, carbon isotopic values were higher in delipidated samples of blubber, liver and muscle from killer whales. The potential for conflict between fisheries and cetaceans has heightened the need for trophic information about these taxa. These results provide the first published stable isotope incorporation data for cetaceans, which are essential if conclusions are to be drawn on issues concerning trophic structures, carbon sources and diet reconstruction. PMID:21270301

  13. Killer whales and marine mammal trends in the North Pacific - A re-examination of evidence for sequential megafauna collapse and the prey-switching hypothesis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wade, P.R.; Burkanov, V.N.; Dahlheim, M.E.; Friday, N.A.; Fritz, L.W.; Loughlin, T.R.; Mizroch, S.A.; Muto, M.M.; Rice, D.W.; Barrett-Lennard, L. G.; Black, N.A.; Burdin, A.M.; Calambokidis, J.; Cerchio, S.; Ford, J.K.B.; Jacobsen, J.K.; Matkin, C.O.; Matkin, D.R.; Mehta, A.V.; Small, R.J.; Straley, J.M.; McCluskey, S.M.; VanBlaricom, G.R.; Clapham, P.J.

    2007-01-01

    Springer et al. (2003) contend that sequential declines occurred in North Pacific populations of harbor and fur seals, Steller sea lions, and sea otters. They hypothesize that these were due to increased predation by killer whales, when industrial whaling's removal of large whales as a supposed primary food source precipitated a prey switch. Using a regional approach, we reexamined whale catch data, killer whale predation observations, and the current biomass and trends of potential prey, and found little support for the prey-switching hypothesis. Large whale biomass in the Bering Sea did not decline as much as suggested by Springer et al., and much of the reduction occurred 50-100 yr ago, well before the declines of pinnipeds and sea otters began; thus, the need to switch prey starting in the 1970s is doubtful. With the sole exception that the sea otter decline followed the decline of pinnipeds, the reported declines were not in fact sequential. Given this, it is unlikely that a sequential megafaunal collapse from whales to sea otters occurred. The spatial and temporal patterns of pinniped and sea otter population trends are more complex than Springer et al. suggest, and are often inconsistent with their hypothesis. Populations remained stable or increased in many areas, despite extensive historical whaling and high killer whale abundance. Furthermore, observed killer whale predation has largely involved pinnipeds and small cetaceans; there is little evidence that large whales were ever a major prey item in high latitudes. Small cetaceans (ignored by Springer et al.) were likely abundant throughout the period. Overall, we suggest that the Springer et al. hypothesis represents a misleading and simplistic view of events and trophic relationships within this complex marine ecosystem. ?? 2007 by the Society for Marine Mammalogy.

  14. Effects of age, sex and reproductive status on persistent organic pollutant concentrations in "Southern Resident" killer whales.

    PubMed

    Krahn, Margaret M; Hanson, M Bradley; Schorr, Gregory S; Emmons, Candice K; Burrows, Douglas G; Bolton, Jennie L; Baird, Robin W; Ylitalo, Gina M

    2009-10-01

    "Southern Resident" killer whales (Orcinus orca) that comprise three fish-eating "pods" (J, K and L) were listed as "endangered" in the US and Canada following a 20% population decline between 1996 and 2001. Blubber biopsy samples from Southern Resident juveniles had statistically higher concentrations of certain persistent organic pollutants than were found for adults. Most Southern Resident killer whales, including the four juveniles, exceeded the health-effects threshold for total PCBs in marine mammal blubber. Maternal transfer of contaminants to the juveniles during rapid development of their biological systems may put these young whales at greater risk than adults for adverse health effects (e.g., immune and endocrine system dysfunction). Pollutant ratios and field observations established that two of the pods (K- and L-pod) travel to California to forage. Nitrogen stable isotope values, supported by field observations, indicated possible changes in the diet of L-pod over the last decade. PMID:19541329

  15. Target Strength of Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca): Measurement and Modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Xu, Jinshan; Deng, Zhiqun; Carlson, Thomas J.; Moore, Brian

    2012-04-04

    A major criterion for tidal power licensing in Washington’s Puget Sound is the management of the risk of injury to killer whales due to collision with moving turbine blades. An active monitoring system is being proposed for killer whale detection, tracking, and alerting that links to and triggers temporary turbine shutdown when there is risk of collision. Target strength (TS) modeling of the killer whale is critical to the design and application of any active monitoring system. A 1996 study performed a high-resolution measurement of acoustic reflectivity as a function of frequency of a female bottlenose dolphin (2.2 m length) at broadside aspect and TS as a function of incident angle at 67 kHz frequency. Assuming that killer whales share similar morphology structure with the bottlenose dolphin, we extrapolated the TS of an adult killer whale 7.5 m in length at 67 kHz frequency with -8 dB at broadside aspect and -28 dB at tail side. The backscattering data from three Southern Resident killer whales were analyzed to obtain the TS measurement. These data were collected at Lime Kiln State Park using a split-beam system deployed from a boat. The TS of the killer whale at higher frequency (200 kHz) was estimated based on a three-layer model for plane wave reflection from the lung of the whale. The TS data of killer whales were in good agreement with our model. In this paper, we also discuss and explain possible causes for measurement estimation error.

  16. The world's smallest whale population?

    PubMed

    Wade, Paul R; Kennedy, Amy; LeDuc, Rick; Barlow, Jay; Carretta, Jim; Shelden, Kim; Perryman, Wayne; Pitman, Robert; Robertson, Kelly; Rone, Brenda; Salinas, Juan Carlos; Zerbini, Alexandre; Brownell, Robert L; Clapham, Phillip J

    2011-02-23

    The North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica) was heavily exploited by both nineteenth century whaling and recent (1960s) illegal Soviet catches. Today, the species remains extremely rare especially in the eastern North Pacific. Here, we use photographic and genotype data to calculate the first mark-recapture estimates of abundance for right whales in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. The estimates were very similar: photographic = 31 (95% CL 23-54), genotyping = 28 (95% CL 24-42). We also estimated the population contains eight females (95% CL 7-18) and 20 males (95% CL 17-37). Although these estimates may relate to a Bering Sea subpopulation, other data suggest that the total eastern North Pacific population is unlikely to be much larger. Its precarious status today-the world's smallest whale population for which an abundance estimate exists-is a direct consequence of uncontrolled and illegal whaling, and highlights the past failure of international management to prevent such abuses. PMID:20591853

  17. The world's smallest whale population?

    PubMed Central

    Wade, Paul R.; Kennedy, Amy; LeDuc, Rick; Barlow, Jay; Carretta, Jim; Shelden, Kim; Perryman, Wayne; Pitman, Robert; Robertson, Kelly; Rone, Brenda; Salinas, Juan Carlos; Zerbini, Alexandre; Brownell, Robert L.; Clapham, Phillip J.

    2011-01-01

    The North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica) was heavily exploited by both nineteenth century whaling and recent (1960s) illegal Soviet catches. Today, the species remains extremely rare especially in the eastern North Pacific. Here, we use photographic and genotype data to calculate the first mark–recapture estimates of abundance for right whales in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. The estimates were very similar: photographic = 31 (95% CL 23–54), genotyping = 28 (95% CL 24–42). We also estimated the population contains eight females (95% CL 7–18) and 20 males (95% CL 17–37). Although these estimates may relate to a Bering Sea subpopulation, other data suggest that the total eastern North Pacific population is unlikely to be much larger. Its precarious status today—the world's smallest whale population for which an abundance estimate exists—is a direct consequence of uncontrolled and illegal whaling, and highlights the past failure of international management to prevent such abuses. PMID:20591853

  18. On the communicative significance of whistles in wild killer whales (Orcinus orca)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomsen, Frank; Franck, Dierk; Ford, John

    2002-08-01

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) use pulsed calls and whistles in underwater communication. Unlike pulsed calls, whistles have received little study and thus their function is poorly known. In this study, whistle activities of groups of individually known killer whales were compared quantitatively across behavioural categories. Acoustic recordings and simultaneous behavioural observations were made of northern resident killer whales off Vancouver Island in 1996 and 1997. Whistles were produced at greater rates than discrete calls during close-range behavioural activities than during long-range activities. They were the predominant sound-type recorded during socializing. The number of whistles per animal per minute was significantly higher during close-range behavioural activities than during long-range activities. Evidently, whistles play an important role in the close-range acoustic communication in northern resident killer whales.

  19. Habitat-based PCB environmental quality criteria for the protection of endangered killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Alava, Juan José; Ross, Peter S; Lachmuth, Cara; Ford, John K B; Hickie, Brendan E; Gobas, Frank A P C

    2012-11-20

    The development of an area-based polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) food-web bioaccumulation model enabled a critical evaluation of the efficacy of sediment quality criteria and prey tissue residue guidelines in protecting fish-eating resident killer whales of British Columbia and adjacent waters. Model-predicted and observed PCB concentrations in resident killer whales and Chinook salmon were in good agreement, supporting the model's application for risk assessment and criteria development. Model application shows that PCB concentrations in the sediments from the resident killer whale's Critical Habitats and entire foraging range leads to PCB concentrations in most killer whales that exceed PCB toxicity threshold concentrations reported for marine mammals. Results further indicate that current PCB sediment quality and prey tissue residue criteria for fish-eating wildlife are not protective of killer whales and are not appropriate for assessing risks of PCB-contaminated sediments to high trophic level biota. We present a novel methodology for deriving sediment quality criteria and tissue residue guidelines that protect biota of high trophic levels under various PCB management scenarios. PCB concentrations in sediments and in prey that are deemed protective of resident killer whale health are much lower than current criteria values, underscoring the extreme vulnerability of high trophic level marine mammals to persistent and bioaccumulative contaminants. PMID:23098163

  20. Complete mitochondrial genome phylogeographic analysis of killer whales (Orcinus orca) indicates multiple species.

    PubMed

    Morin, Phillip A; Archer, Frederick I; Foote, Andrew D; Vilstrup, Julia; Allen, Eric E; Wade, Paul; Durban, John; Parsons, Kim; Pitman, Robert; Li, Lewyn; Bouffard, Pascal; Abel Nielsen, Sandra C; Rasmussen, Morten; Willerslev, Eske; Gilbert, M Thomas P; Harkins, Timothy

    2010-07-01

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) currently comprise a single, cosmopolitan species with a diverse diet. However, studies over the last 30 yr have revealed populations of sympatric "ecotypes" with discrete prey preferences, morphology, and behaviors. Although these ecotypes avoid social interactions and are not known to interbreed, genetic studies to date have found extremely low levels of diversity in the mitochondrial control region, and few clear phylogeographic patterns worldwide. This low level of diversity is likely due to low mitochondrial mutation rates that are common to cetaceans. Using killer whales as a case study, we have developed a method to readily sequence, assemble, and analyze complete mitochondrial genomes from large numbers of samples to more accurately assess phylogeography and estimate divergence times. This represents an important tool for wildlife management, not only for killer whales but for many marine taxa. We used high-throughput sequencing to survey whole mitochondrial genome variation of 139 samples from the North Pacific, North Atlantic, and southern oceans. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that each of the known ecotypes represents a strongly supported clade with divergence times ranging from approximately 150,000 to 700,000 yr ago. We recommend that three named ecotypes be elevated to full species, and that the remaining types be recognized as subspecies pending additional data. Establishing appropriate taxonomic designations will greatly aid in understanding the ecological impacts and conservation needs of these important marine predators. We predict that phylogeographic mitogenomics will become an important tool for improved statistical phylogeography and more precise estimates of divergence times. PMID:20413674

  1. Killer whale (Orcinus orca) whistles from the western South Atlantic Ocean include high frequency signals.

    PubMed

    Andriolo, Artur; Reis, Sarah S; Amorim, Thiago O S; Sucunza, Federico; de Castro, Franciele R; Maia, Ygor Geyer; Zerbini, Alexandre N; Bortolotto, Guilherme A; Dalla Rosa, Luciano

    2015-09-01

    Acoustic parameters of killer whale (Orcinus orca) whistles were described for the western South Atlantic Ocean and highlight the occurrence of high frequency whistles. Killer whale signals were recorded on December of 2012, when a pod of four individuals was observed harassing a group of sperm whales. The high frequency whistles were highly stereotyped and were modulated mostly at ultrasonic frequencies. Compared to other contour types, the high frequency whistles are characterized by higher bandwidths, shorter durations, fewer harmonics, and higher sweep rates. The results add to the knowledge of vocal behavior of this species. PMID:26428807

  2. Responses of male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) to killer whale sounds: implications for anti-predator strategies

    PubMed Central

    Curé, Charlotte; Antunes, Ricardo; Alves, Ana Catarina; Visser, Fleur; Kvadsheim, Petter H.; Miller, Patrick J. O.

    2013-01-01

    Interactions between individuals of different cetacean species are often observed in the wild. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) can be potential predators of many other cetaceans, and the interception of their vocalizations by unintended cetacean receivers may trigger anti-predator behavior that could mediate predator-prey interactions. We explored the anti-predator behaviour of five typically-solitary male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the Norwegian Sea by playing sounds of mammal-feeding killer whales and monitoring behavioural responses using multi-sensor tags. Our results suggest that, rather than taking advantage of their large aerobic capacities to dive away from the perceived predator, sperm whales responded to killer whale playbacks by interrupting their foraging or resting dives and returning to the surface, changing their vocal production, and initiating a surprising degree of social behaviour in these mostly solitary animals. Thus, the interception of predator vocalizations by male sperm whales disrupted functional behaviours and mediated previously unrecognized anti-predator responses. PMID:23545484

  3. Responses of male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) to killer whale sounds: implications for anti-predator strategies.

    PubMed

    Curé, Charlotte; Antunes, Ricardo; Alves, Ana Catarina; Visser, Fleur; Kvadsheim, Petter H; Miller, Patrick J O

    2013-01-01

    Interactions between individuals of different cetacean species are often observed in the wild. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) can be potential predators of many other cetaceans, and the interception of their vocalizations by unintended cetacean receivers may trigger anti-predator behavior that could mediate predator-prey interactions. We explored the anti-predator behaviour of five typically-solitary male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the Norwegian Sea by playing sounds of mammal-feeding killer whales and monitoring behavioural responses using multi-sensor tags. Our results suggest that, rather than taking advantage of their large aerobic capacities to dive away from the perceived predator, sperm whales responded to killer whale playbacks by interrupting their foraging or resting dives and returning to the surface, changing their vocal production, and initiating a surprising degree of social behaviour in these mostly solitary animals. Thus, the interception of predator vocalizations by male sperm whales disrupted functional behaviours and mediated previously unrecognized anti-predator responses. PMID:23545484

  4. Molecular characterization of a novel gammaretrovirus in killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Lamere, Sarah A; St Leger, Judy A; Schrenzel, Mark D; Anthony, Simon J; Rideout, Bruce A; Salomon, Daniel R

    2009-12-01

    There are currently no published data documenting the presence of retroviruses in cetaceans, though the occurrences of cancers and immunodeficiency states suggest the potential. We examined tissues from adult killer whales and detected a novel gammaretrovirus by degenerate PCR. Reverse transcription-PCR also demonstrated tissue and serum expression of retroviral mRNA. The full-length sequence of the provirus was obtained by PCR, and a TaqMan-based copy number assay did not demonstrate evidence of productive infection. PCR on blood samples from 11 healthy captive killer whales and tissues from 3 free-ranging animals detected the proviral DNA in all tissues examined from all animals. A survey of multiple cetacean species by PCR for gag, pol, and env sequences showed homologs of this virus in the DNA of eight species of delphinids, pygmy and dwarf sperm whales, and harbor porpoises, but not in beluga or fin whales. Analysis of the bottlenose dolphin genome revealed two full-length proviral sequences with 97.4% and 96.9% nucleotide identity to the killer whale gammaretrovirus. The results of single-cell PCR on killer whale sperm and Southern blotting are also consistent with the conclusion that the provirus is endogenous. We suggest that this gammaretrovirus entered the delphinoid ancestor's genome before the divergence of modern dolphins or that an exogenous variant existed following divergence that was ultimately endogenized. However, the transcriptional activity demonstrated in tissues and the nearly intact viral genome suggest a more recent integration into the killer whale genome, favoring the latter hypothesis. The proposed name for this retrovirus is killer whale endogenous retrovirus. PMID:19812152

  5. Design and operation specifications of an active monitoring system for detecting southern resident killer whales

    SciTech Connect

    Deng, Zhiqun; Carlson, Thomas J.; Xu, Jinshan; Martinez, Jayson J.; Weiland, Mark A.; Mueller, Robert P.; Myers, Joshua R.; Jones, Mark E.

    2011-09-30

    Before final approval is given to the Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1 for deploying the first tidal power devices in the United States in an open water environment, a system to manage the potential risk of injury to killer whales due to collision with moving turbine blades must be demonstrated. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is tasked with establishing the performance requirements for, constructing, and testing a prototype marine animal alert system for triggering temporary turbine shutdown when there is risk of collision with a killer whale. To develop a system that relies on active sonar two critical areas must be investigated - the target strength of killer whales and the frequency content of commercially available active sonar units. PNNL studied three target strength models: a simple model, the Fourier matching model, and the Kirchoff-ray mode model. Using target strength measurements of bottlenose dolphins obtained by previous researchers and assuming killer whales share similar morphology and structure, PNNL extrapolated the target strength of an adult killer whale 7.5 m in length at a frequency of 67 kHz. To study the frequency content of a commercially available sonar unit, direct measurements of the signal transmitted by the sonar were obtained by using a hydrophone connected to a data acquisition system in both laboratory and field conditions. The measurements revealed that in addition to the primary frequency of 200 kHz, there is a secondary frequency component at 90 kHz, which is within the hearing range of killer whales. The amplitude of the 90-kHz frequency component is above the hearing threshold of killer whales but below the threshold for potential injuries.

  6. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in killer whales (Orcinus orca) from the Crozet Archipelago, southern Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Noël, Marie; Barrett-Lennard, Lance; Guinet, Christophe; Dangerfield, Neil; Ross, Peter S

    2009-10-01

    Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), and dibenzofurans (PCDFs), are ubiquitous environmental contaminants of which significant concentrations are reported in upper trophic level animals. In 1998, we collected blubber biopsy samples (n=11) from killer whales (Orcinus orca) inhabiting the coastal waters around Possession Island, Crozet Archipelago, southern Indian Ocean, for contaminant analyses. Despite inhabiting an isolated region far removed from industrial activities, these killer whales can presently be considered among the most PCB-contaminated cetaceans in the southern hemisphere, with concentrations ranging from 4.4 to 20.5mg/kg lipid weight (lw). PCDD levels ranged from below the detection limit (5 ng/kg) to 77.1 ng/kg lw and PCDF levels from below the detection limit (7 ng/kg) to 36.1 ng/kg lw. Over 70% of our study animals had PCB concentrations which exceeded a 1.3mg/kg PCB threshold established for endocrine disruption and immunotoxicity in free-ranging harbour seals, suggesting that organic contaminants cannot be ruled out as an additional threat to this declining population. PMID:19625078

  7. Killer Whale Depredation and Associated Costs to Alaskan Sablefish, Pacific Halibut and Greenland Turbot Longliners

    PubMed Central

    Peterson, Megan J.; Mueter, Franz; Criddle, Keith; Haynie, Alan C.

    2014-01-01

    Killer whale (Orcinus orca) depredation (whales stealing or damaging fish caught on fishing gear) adversely impacts demersal longline fisheries for sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria), Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) and Greenland turbot (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) in the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands and Western Gulf of Alaska. These interactions increase direct costs and opportunity costs associated with catching fish and reduce the profitability of longline fishing in western Alaska. This study synthesizes National Marine Fisheries Service observer data, National Marine Fisheries Service sablefish longline survey and fishermen-collected depredation data to: 1) estimate the frequency of killer whale depredation on longline fisheries in Alaska; 2) estimate depredation-related catch per unit effort reductions; and 3) assess direct costs and opportunity costs incurred by longliners in western Alaska as a result of killer whale interactions. The percentage of commercial fishery sets affected by killer whales was highest in the Bering Sea fisheries for: sablefish (21.4%), Greenland turbot (9.9%), and Pacific halibut (6.9%). Average catch per unit effort reductions on depredated sets ranged from 35.1–69.3% for the observed longline fleet in all three management areas from 1998–2012 (p<0.001). To compensate for depredation, fishermen set additional gear to catch the same amount of fish, and this increased fuel costs by an additional 82% per depredated set (average $433 additional fuel per depredated set). In a separate analysis with six longline vessels in 2011and 2012, killer whale depredation avoidance measures resulted in an average additional cost of $494 per depredated vessel-day for fuel and crew food. Opportunity costs of time lost by fishermen averaged $522 per additional vessel-day on the grounds. This assessment of killer whale depredation costs represents the most extensive economic evaluation of this issue in Alaska to date and will help longline

  8. Killer whale depredation and associated costs to Alaskan sablefish, Pacific halibut and Greenland turbot longliners.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Megan J; Mueter, Franz; Criddle, Keith; Haynie, Alan C

    2014-01-01

    Killer whale (Orcinus orca) depredation (whales stealing or damaging fish caught on fishing gear) adversely impacts demersal longline fisheries for sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria), Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) and Greenland turbot (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) in the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands and Western Gulf of Alaska. These interactions increase direct costs and opportunity costs associated with catching fish and reduce the profitability of longline fishing in western Alaska. This study synthesizes National Marine Fisheries Service observer data, National Marine Fisheries Service sablefish longline survey and fishermen-collected depredation data to: 1) estimate the frequency of killer whale depredation on longline fisheries in Alaska; 2) estimate depredation-related catch per unit effort reductions; and 3) assess direct costs and opportunity costs incurred by longliners in western Alaska as a result of killer whale interactions. The percentage of commercial fishery sets affected by killer whales was highest in the Bering Sea fisheries for: sablefish (21.4%), Greenland turbot (9.9%), and Pacific halibut (6.9%). Average catch per unit effort reductions on depredated sets ranged from 35.1-69.3% for the observed longline fleet in all three management areas from 1998-2012 (p<0.001). To compensate for depredation, fishermen set additional gear to catch the same amount of fish, and this increased fuel costs by an additional 82% per depredated set (average $433 additional fuel per depredated set). In a separate analysis with six longline vessels in 2011 and 2012, killer whale depredation avoidance measures resulted in an average additional cost of $494 per depredated vessel-day for fuel and crew food. Opportunity costs of time lost by fishermen averaged $522 per additional vessel-day on the grounds. This assessment of killer whale depredation costs represents the most extensive economic evaluation of this issue in Alaska to date and will help longline

  9. Environmental isolates of fungi from aquarium pools housing killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Kohata, Erina; Kano, Rui; Akune, Yuichiro; Ohno, Yoshito; Soichi, Makoto; Yanai, Tokuma; Hasegawa, Atsuhiko; Kamata, Hiroshi

    2013-12-01

    Systemic mycoses in killer whales (Orcinus orca) are rare diseases, but have been reported. Two killer whales died by fungal infections at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium in Japan. In this study, the fungal flora of the pool environment at the aquarium was characterized. Alternaria spp., Aspergillus spp. (A. fumigatus, A. niger, A. versicolor), Fusarium spp. and Penicillium spp. were isolated from the air and the pool surroundings. The other isolates were identified as fungal species non-pathogenic for mammals. However, the species of fungi isolated from the environmental samples in this study were not the same as those isolated from the cases of disease in killer whales previously reported. PMID:24045935

  10. Salmonella Newport omphaloarteritis in a stranded killer whale (Orcinus orca) neonate.

    PubMed

    Colegrove, Kathleen M; St Leger, Judy A; Raverty, Stephen; Jang, Spencer; Berman-Kowalewski, Michelle; Gaydos, Joseph K

    2010-10-01

    Salmonella enterica serovar Newport (Salmonella Newport) was isolated from multiple tissues in a neonate killer whale (Orcinus orca) that stranded dead in 2005 along the central coast of California, USA. Necrotizing omphaloarteritis and omphalophlebitis was observed on histologic examination suggesting umbilical infection was the route of entry. Genetic analysis of skin samples indicated that the neonate had an offshore haplotype. Salmonellosis has rarely been identified in free-ranging marine mammals and the significance of Salmonella Newport infection to the health of free-ranging killer whales is currently unknown. PMID:20966284

  11. Genome-culture coevolution promotes rapid divergence of killer whale ecotypes

    PubMed Central

    Foote, Andrew D.; Vijay, Nagarjun; Ávila-Arcos, María C.; Baird, Robin W.; Durban, John W.; Fumagalli, Matteo; Gibbs, Richard A.; Hanson, M. Bradley; Korneliussen, Thorfinn S.; Martin, Michael D.; Robertson, Kelly M.; Sousa, Vitor C.; Vieira, Filipe G.; Vinař, Tomáš; Wade, Paul; Worley, Kim C.; Excoffier, Laurent; Morin, Phillip A.; Gilbert, M. Thomas P.; Wolf, Jochen B.W.

    2016-01-01

    Analysing population genomic data from killer whale ecotypes, which we estimate have globally radiated within less than 250,000 years, we show that genetic structuring including the segregation of potentially functional alleles is associated with socially inherited ecological niche. Reconstruction of ancestral demographic history revealed bottlenecks during founder events, likely promoting ecological divergence and genetic drift resulting in a wide range of genome-wide differentiation between pairs of allopatric and sympatric ecotypes. Functional enrichment analyses provided evidence for regional genomic divergence associated with habitat, dietary preferences and post-zygotic reproductive isolation. Our findings are consistent with expansion of small founder groups into novel niches by an initial plastic behavioural response, perpetuated by social learning imposing an altered natural selection regime. The study constitutes an important step towards an understanding of the complex interaction between demographic history, culture, ecological adaptation and evolution at the genomic level. PMID:27243207

  12. Genome-culture coevolution promotes rapid divergence of killer whale ecotypes.

    PubMed

    Foote, Andrew D; Vijay, Nagarjun; Ávila-Arcos, María C; Baird, Robin W; Durban, John W; Fumagalli, Matteo; Gibbs, Richard A; Hanson, M Bradley; Korneliussen, Thorfinn S; Martin, Michael D; Robertson, Kelly M; Sousa, Vitor C; Vieira, Filipe G; Vinař, Tomáš; Wade, Paul; Worley, Kim C; Excoffier, Laurent; Morin, Phillip A; Gilbert, M Thomas P; Wolf, Jochen B W

    2016-01-01

    Analysing population genomic data from killer whale ecotypes, which we estimate have globally radiated within less than 250,000 years, we show that genetic structuring including the segregation of potentially functional alleles is associated with socially inherited ecological niche. Reconstruction of ancestral demographic history revealed bottlenecks during founder events, likely promoting ecological divergence and genetic drift resulting in a wide range of genome-wide differentiation between pairs of allopatric and sympatric ecotypes. Functional enrichment analyses provided evidence for regional genomic divergence associated with habitat, dietary preferences and post-zygotic reproductive isolation. Our findings are consistent with expansion of small founder groups into novel niches by an initial plastic behavioural response, perpetuated by social learning imposing an altered natural selection regime. The study constitutes an important step towards an understanding of the complex interaction between demographic history, culture, ecological adaptation and evolution at the genomic level. PMID:27243207

  13. Accounting for subgroup structure in line-transect abundance estimates of false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) in Hawaiian waters.

    PubMed

    Bradford, Amanda L; Forney, Karin A; Oleson, Erin M; Barlow, Jay

    2014-01-01

    For biological populations that form aggregations (or clusters) of individuals, cluster size is an important parameter in line-transect abundance estimation and should be accurately measured. Cluster size in cetaceans has traditionally been represented as the total number of individuals in a group, but group size may be underestimated if group members are spatially diffuse. Groups of false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) can comprise numerous subgroups that are dispersed over tens of kilometers, leading to a spatial mismatch between a detected group and the theoretical framework of line-transect analysis. Three stocks of false killer whales are found within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone of the Hawaiian Islands (Hawaiian EEZ): an insular main Hawaiian Islands stock, a pelagic stock, and a Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) stock. A ship-based line-transect survey of the Hawaiian EEZ was conducted in the summer and fall of 2010, resulting in six systematic-effort visual sightings of pelagic (n = 5) and NWHI (n = 1) false killer whale groups. The maximum number and spatial extent of subgroups per sighting was 18 subgroups and 35 km, respectively. These sightings were combined with data from similar previous surveys and analyzed within the conventional line-transect estimation framework. The detection function, mean cluster size, and encounter rate were estimated separately to appropriately incorporate data collected using different methods. Unlike previous line-transect analyses of cetaceans, subgroups were treated as the analytical cluster instead of groups because subgroups better conform to the specifications of line-transect theory. Bootstrap values (n = 5,000) of the line-transect parameters were randomly combined to estimate the variance of stock-specific abundance estimates. Hawai'i pelagic and NWHI false killer whales were estimated to number 1,552 (CV = 0.66; 95% CI = 479-5,030) and 552 (CV = 1.09; 95% CI = 97

  14. Prey items and predation behavior of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Nunavut, Canada based on Inuit hunter interviews

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are the most widely distributed cetacean, occurring in all oceans worldwide, and within ocean regions different ecotypes are defined based on prey preferences. Prey items are largely unknown in the eastern Canadian Arctic and therefore we conducted a survey of Inuit Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to provide information on the feeding ecology of killer whales. We compiled Inuit observations on killer whales and their prey items via 105 semi-directed interviews conducted in 11 eastern Nunavut communities (Kivalliq and Qikiqtaaluk regions) from 2007-2010. Results Results detail local knowledge of killer whale prey items, hunting behaviour, prey responses, distribution of predation events, and prey capture techniques. Inuit TEK and published literature agree that killer whales at times eat only certain parts of prey, particularly of large whales, that attacks on large whales entail relatively small groups of killer whales, and that they hunt cooperatively. Inuit observations suggest that there is little prey specialization beyond marine mammals and there are no definitive observations of fish in the diet. Inuit hunters and elders also documented the use of sea ice and shallow water as prey refugia. Conclusions By combining TEK and scientific approaches we provide a more holistic view of killer whale predation in the eastern Canadian Arctic relevant to management and policy. Continuing the long-term relationship between scientists and hunters will provide for successful knowledge integration and has resulted in considerable improvement in understanding of killer whale ecology relevant to management of prey species. Combining scientists and Inuit knowledge will assist in northerners adapting to the restructuring of the Arctic marine ecosystem associated with warming and loss of sea ice. PMID:22520955

  15. 77 FR 71259 - Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; False Killer Whale Take...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-11-29

    ... wire diameter regulation. We understand, based on public comment (see comment/response 33), that there... regulations have been promulgated. 3. Main Hawaiian Islands Longline Fishing Prohibited Area An existing... necessary for false killer whales. See comments/responses 3-5 and 38-41 ] below for more detail on...

  16. 50 CFR 226.206 - Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca). 226.206 Section 226.206 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.206...

  17. Conceptual Change and Killer Whales: Constructing Ecological Values for Animals at the Vancouver Aquarium.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kelsey, Elin

    1991-01-01

    Examines how the aquarium has attempted to move from a transfer view of knowledge to a constructivist approach in its most popular general public program--the killer whale presentation. The process of change that staff underwent is similar to conceptual change processes among learners of science. Describes constructivist strategies of conceptual…

  18. Effects of different analysis techniques and recording duty cycles on passive acoustic monitoring of killer whales.

    PubMed

    Riera, Amalis; Ford, John K; Ross Chapman, N

    2013-09-01

    Killer whales in British Columbia are at risk, and little is known about their winter distribution. Passive acoustic monitoring of their year-round habitat is a valuable supplemental method to traditional visual and photographic surveys. However, long-term acoustic studies of odontocetes have some limitations, including the generation of large amounts of data that require highly time-consuming processing. There is a need to develop tools and protocols to maximize the efficiency of such studies. Here, two types of analysis, real-time and long term spectral averages, were compared to assess their performance at detecting killer whale calls in long-term acoustic recordings. In addition, two different duty cycles, 1/3 and 2/3, were tested. Both the use of long term spectral averages and a lower duty cycle resulted in a decrease in call detection and positive pod identification, leading to underestimations of the amount of time the whales were present. The impact of these limitations should be considered in future killer whale acoustic surveys. A compromise between a lower resolution data processing method and a higher duty cycle is suggested for maximum methodological efficiency. PMID:23968036

  19. Ship noise extends to frequencies used for echolocation by endangered killer whales

    PubMed Central

    Veirs, Val; Wood, Jason D.

    2016-01-01

    Combining calibrated hydrophone measurements with vessel location data from the Automatic Identification System, we estimate underwater sound pressure levels for 1,582 unique ships that transited the core critical habitat of the endangered Southern Resident killer whales during 28 months between March, 2011, and October, 2013. Median received spectrum levels of noise from 2,809 isolated transits are elevated relative to median background levels not only at low frequencies (20–30 dB re 1 µPa2/Hz from 100 to 1,000 Hz), but also at high frequencies (5–13 dB from 10,000 to 96,000 Hz). Thus, noise received from ships at ranges less than 3 km extends to frequencies used by odontocetes. Broadband received levels (11.5–40,000 Hz) near the shoreline in Haro Strait (WA, USA) for the entire ship population were 110 ± 7 dB re 1 µPa on average. Assuming near-spherical spreading based on a transmission loss experiment we compute mean broadband source levels for the ship population of 173 ± 7 dB re 1 µPa 1 m without accounting for frequency-dependent absorption. Mean ship speed was 7.3 ± 2.0 m/s (14.1 ± 3.9 knots). Most ship classes show a linear relationship between source level and speed with a slope near +2 dB per m/s (+1 dB/knot). Spectrum, 1/12-octave, and 1/3-octave source levels for the whole population have median values that are comparable to previous measurements and models at most frequencies, but for select studies may be relatively low below 200 Hz and high above 20,000 Hz. Median source spectrum levels peak near 50 Hz for all 12 ship classes, have a maximum of 159 dB re 1 µPa2/Hz @ 1 m for container ships, and vary between classes. Below 200 Hz, the class-specific median spectrum levels bifurcate with large commercial ships grouping as higher power noise sources. Within all ship classes spectrum levels vary more at low frequencies than at high frequencies, and the degree of variability is almost halved for classes that have smaller speed standard

  20. Ship noise extends to frequencies used for echolocation by endangered killer whales.

    PubMed

    Veirs, Scott; Veirs, Val; Wood, Jason D

    2016-01-01

    Combining calibrated hydrophone measurements with vessel location data from the Automatic Identification System, we estimate underwater sound pressure levels for 1,582 unique ships that transited the core critical habitat of the endangered Southern Resident killer whales during 28 months between March, 2011, and October, 2013. Median received spectrum levels of noise from 2,809 isolated transits are elevated relative to median background levels not only at low frequencies (20-30 dB re 1 µPa(2)/Hz from 100 to 1,000 Hz), but also at high frequencies (5-13 dB from 10,000 to 96,000 Hz). Thus, noise received from ships at ranges less than 3 km extends to frequencies used by odontocetes. Broadband received levels (11.5-40,000 Hz) near the shoreline in Haro Strait (WA, USA) for the entire ship population were 110 ± 7 dB re 1 µPa on average. Assuming near-spherical spreading based on a transmission loss experiment we compute mean broadband source levels for the ship population of 173 ± 7 dB re 1 µPa 1 m without accounting for frequency-dependent absorption. Mean ship speed was 7.3 ± 2.0 m/s (14.1 ± 3.9 knots). Most ship classes show a linear relationship between source level and speed with a slope near +2 dB per m/s (+1 dB/knot). Spectrum, 1/12-octave, and 1/3-octave source levels for the whole population have median values that are comparable to previous measurements and models at most frequencies, but for select studies may be relatively low below 200 Hz and high above 20,000 Hz. Median source spectrum levels peak near 50 Hz for all 12 ship classes, have a maximum of 159 dB re 1 µPa(2)/Hz @ 1 m for container ships, and vary between classes. Below 200 Hz, the class-specific median spectrum levels bifurcate with large commercial ships grouping as higher power noise sources. Within all ship classes spectrum levels vary more at low frequencies than at high frequencies, and the degree of variability is almost halved for classes that have smaller speed standard

  1. Ecological knowledge, leadership, and the evolution of menopause in killer whales.

    PubMed

    Brent, Lauren J N; Franks, Daniel W; Foster, Emma A; Balcomb, Kenneth C; Cant, Michael A; Croft, Darren P

    2015-03-16

    Classic life-history theory predicts that menopause should not occur because there should be no selection for survival after the cessation of reproduction [1]. Yet, human females routinely live 30 years after they have stopped reproducing [2]. Only two other species-killer whales (Orcinus orca) and short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) [3, 4]-have comparable postreproductive lifespans. In theory, menopause can evolve via inclusive fitness benefits [5, 6], but the mechanisms by which postreproductive females help their kin remain enigmatic. One hypothesis is that postreproductive females act as repositories of ecological knowledge and thereby buffer kin against environmental hardships [7, 8]. We provide the first test of this hypothesis using a unique long-term dataset on wild resident killer whales. We show three key results. First, postreproductively aged females lead groups during collective movement in salmon foraging grounds. Second, leadership by postreproductively aged females is especially prominent in difficult years when salmon abundance is low. This finding is critical because salmon abundance drives both mortality and reproductive success in resident killer whales [9, 10]. Third, females are more likely to lead their sons than they are to lead their daughters, supporting predictions of recent models [5] of the evolution of menopause based on kinship dynamics. Our results show that postreproductive females may boost the fitness of kin through the transfer of ecological knowledge. The value gained from the wisdom of elders can help explain why female resident killer whales and humans continue to live long after they have stopped reproducing. PMID:25754636

  2. Loss of Arctic sea ice causing punctuated change in sightings of killer whales (Orcinus orca) over the past century.

    PubMed

    Higdon, Jeff W; Ferguson, Steven H

    2009-07-01

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are major predators that may reshape marine ecosystems via top-down forcing. Climate change models predict major reductions in sea ice with the subsequent expectation for readjustments of species' distribution and abundance. Here, we measure changes in killer whale distribution in the Hudson Bay region with decreasing sea ice as an example of global readjustments occurring with climate change. We summarize records of killer whales in Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, and Foxe Basin in the eastern Canadian Arctic and relate them to an historical sea ice data set while accounting for spatial and temporal autocorrelation in the data. We find evidence for "choke points," where sea ice inhibits killer whale movement, thereby creating restrictions to their Arctic distribution. We hypothesize that a threshold exists in seasonal sea ice concentration within these choke points that results in pulses in advancements in distribution of an ice-avoiding predator. Hudson Strait appears to have been a significant sea ice choke point that opened up .approximately 50 years ago allowing for an initial punctuated appearance of killer whales followed by a gradual advancing distribution within the entire Hudson Bay region. Killer whale sightings have increased exponentially and are now reported in the Hudson Bay region every summer. We predict that other choke points will soon open up with continued sea ice melt producing punctuated predator-prey trophic cascades across the Arctic. PMID:19688941

  3. Hematological and serum biochemical analytes reflect physiological challenges during gestation and lactation in killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Robeck, Todd R; Nollens, Hendrik H

    2013-01-01

    Gestation and lactation result in metabolic alterations of the dam because of varying demands of the fetus and offspring during the different stages of development. Despite killer whales (Orcinus orca) having one of the longest gestations and highest birth weights of all mammals in human care, these metabolic alterations, and their impact on the physiology of the dam have not been measured. The objectives of this analysis were to determine if physiologic demands on the killer whale during pregnancy and lactation have measurable effects on hematology and biochemical analytes and if detectable, to compare these changes to those which are observed in other mammalian species. Forty hematologic and biochemical analytes from seven female killer whales (22 pregnancies, 1,507 samples) were compared between the following stages: (1) non-pregnant or lactating (control); (2) gestation; and (3) the first 12 months of lactation. Decreased hematocrit, hemoglobin, and red blood cell counts were indicative of plasma volume expansion during mid and late gestation. The killer whales exhibited a progressively increasing physiologic inflammatory state leading up to parturition. Gestation and lactation caused significant shifts in the serum lipid profiles. Gestation and lactation cause significant physiologic changes in the killer whale dam. The last 12 months of gestation had greater physiological impact than lactation, but changes associated with and immediately following parturition were the most dramatic. During this period, killer whales may experience increased susceptibility to illness, and anthropogenic and environmental disturbances. PMID:23813680

  4. Individual killer whale vocal variation during intra-group behavioral dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grebner, Dawn M.

    The scientific goal of this dissertation was to carefully study the signal structure of killer whale communications and vocal complexity and link them to behavioral circumstances. The overall objective of this research sought to provide insight into killer whale call content and usage which may be conveying information to conspecifics in order to maintain group cohesion. Data were collected in the summers of 2006 and 2007 in Johnstone Strait, British Columbia. For both individuals and small groups, vocalizations were isolated using a triangular hydrophone array and the behavioral movement patterns were captured by a theodolite and video camera positioned on a cliff overlooking the hyrophone locations. This dissertation is divided into four analysis chapters. In Chapter 3, discriminant analysis was used to validate the four N04 call subtypes which were originally parsed due to variations in slope segments. The first two functions of the discriminant analysis explained 97% of the variability. Most of the variability for the N04 call was found in the front convex and the terminal portions of the call, while very little variability was found in the center region of the call. This research revealed that individual killer whales produced multiple subtypes of the N04 call. No correlations of behaviors to acoustic parameters obtained were found. The aim of the Chapter 4 was to determine if killer whale calling behavior varied prior to and after the animals had joined. Pulsed call rates were found to be greater pre- compared to post-joining events. Two-way vocal exchanges were more common occurring 74% of the time during pre-joining events. In Chapter 5, initiated and first response to calls varied between age/sex class groups when mothers were separated from an offspring. Solo mothers and calves initiated pulsed calls more often than they responded. Most of the no vocal responses were due to mothers who were foraging. Finally, observations of the frequency split in N04

  5. Assessment of injuries to killer whales in Prince William Sound. Marine mammal study number 2. Exxon Valdez oil spill state/federal natural resource damage assessment final report

    SciTech Connect

    Dahlheim, M.E.; Matkin, C.O.

    1993-12-01

    Photo-identification studies of individual killer whales inhabiting Prince William Sound were collected from 1989-91 to determine the impact of the spill on whale abundance and distribution. Concurrent photo-identification studies were also conducted in Southeast Alaska to determine if PWS killer whales were displaced to other areas. Despite increased effort, the number of encounters with PWS killer whales appears to be decreasing. The authors assume, that the whales are dead from natural causes, a result of interactions with fisheries, from the spill, or a combination of these causes.

  6. Segmentation of Killer Whale Vocalizations Using the Hilbert-Huang Transform

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adam, Olivier

    2008-12-01

    The study of cetacean vocalizations is usually based on spectrogram analysis. The feature extraction is obtained from 2D methods like the edge detection algorithm. Difficulties appear when signal-to-noise ratios are weak or when more than one vocalization is simultaneously emitted. This is the case for acoustic observations in a natural environment and especially for the killer whales which swim in groups. To resolve this problem, we propose the use of the Hilbert-Huang transform. First, we illustrate how few modes (5) are satisfactory for the analysis of these calls. Then, we detail our approach which consists of combining the modes for extracting the time-varying frequencies of the vocalizations. This combination takes advantage of one of the empirical mode decomposition properties which is that the successive IMFs represent the original data broken down into frequency components from highest to lowest frequency. To evaluate the performance, our method is first applied on the simulated chirp signals. This approach allows us to link one chirp to one mode. Then we apply it on real signals emitted by killer whales. The results confirm that this method is a favorable alternative for the automatic extraction of killer whale vocalizations.

  7. Effects of noise levels and call types on the source levels of killer whale calls.

    PubMed

    Holt, Marla M; Noren, Dawn P; Emmons, Candice K

    2011-11-01

    Accurate parameter estimates relevant to the vocal behavior of marine mammals are needed to assess potential effects of anthropogenic sound exposure including how masking noise reduces the active space of sounds used for communication. Information about how these animals modify their vocal behavior in response to noise exposure is also needed for such assessment. Prior studies have reported variations in the source levels of killer whale sounds, and a more recent study reported that killer whales compensate for vessel masking noise by increasing their call amplitude. The objectives of the current study were to investigate the source levels of a variety of call types in southern resident killer whales while also considering background noise level as a likely factor related to call source level variability. The source levels of 763 discrete calls along with corresponding background noise were measured over three summer field seasons in the waters surrounding the San Juan Islands, WA. Both noise level and call type were significant factors on call source levels (1-40 kHz band, range of 135.0-175.7 dB(rms) re 1 [micro sign]Pa at 1 m). These factors should be considered in models that predict how anthropogenic masking noise reduces vocal communication space in marine mammals. PMID:22087938

  8. Mitochondrial sequence divergence among Antarctic killer whale ecotypes is consistent with multiple species.

    PubMed

    LeDuc, Richard G; Robertson, Kelly M; Pitman, Robert L

    2008-08-23

    Recently, three visually distinct forms of killer whales (Orcinus orca) were described from Antarctic waters and designated as types A, B and C. Based on consistent differences in prey selection and habitat preferences, morphological divergence and apparent lack of interbreeding among these broadly sympatric forms, it was suggested that they may represent separate species. To evaluate this hypothesis, we compared complete sequences of the mitochondrial control region from 81 Antarctic killer whale samples, including 9 type A, 18 type B, 47 type C and 7 type-undetermined individuals. We found three fixed differences that separated type A from B and C, and a single fixed difference that separated type C from A and B. These results are consistent with reproductive isolation among the different forms, although caution is needed in drawing further conclusions. Despite dramatic differences in morphology and ecology, the relatively low levels of sequence divergence in Antarctic killer whales indicate that these evolutionary changes occurred relatively rapidly and recently. PMID:18524738

  9. Support for the beam focusing hypothesis in the false killer whale.

    PubMed

    Kloepper, Laura N; Buck, John R; Smith, Adam B; Supin, Alexander Ya; Gaudette, Jason E; Nachtigall, Paul E

    2015-08-01

    The odontocete sound production system is complex and composed of tissues, air sacs and a fatty melon. Previous studies suggested that the emitted sonar beam might be actively focused, narrowing depending on target distance. In this study, we further tested this beam focusing hypothesis in a false killer whale. Using three linear arrays of hydrophones, we recorded the same emitted click at 2, 4 and 7 m distance and calculated the beamwidth, intensity, center frequency and bandwidth as recorded on each array at every distance. If the whale did not focus her beam, acoustics predicts the intensity would decay with range as a function of spherical spreading and the angular beamwidth would remain constant. On the contrary, our results show that as the distance from the whale to the array increases, the beamwidth is narrower and the received click intensity is higher than that predicted by a spherical spreading function. Each of these measurements is consistent with the animal focusing her beam on a target at a given range. These results support the hypothesis that the false killer whale is 'focusing' its sonar beam, producing a narrower and more intense signal than that predicted by spherical spreading. PMID:26056247

  10. Hearing Sensation Changes When a Warning Predicts a Loud Sound in the False Killer Whale (Pseudorca crassidens).

    PubMed

    Nachtigall, Paul E; Supin, Alexander Y

    2016-01-01

    Stranded whales and dolphins have sometimes been associated with loud anthropogenic sounds. Echolocating whales produce very loud sounds themselves and have developed the ability to protect their hearing from their own signals. A false killer whale's hearing sensitivity was measured when a faint warning sound was given just before the presentation of an increase in intensity to 170 dB. If the warning occurred within 1-9 s, as opposed to 20-40 s, the whale showed a 13-dB reduction in hearing sensitivity. Warning sounds before loud pulses may help mitigate the effects of loud anthropogenic sounds on wild animals. PMID:26611027

  11. Antarctic killer whales make rapid, round-trip movements to subtropical waters: evidence for physiological maintenance migrations?

    PubMed

    Durban, J W; Pitman, R L

    2012-04-23

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are important predators in high latitudes, where their ecological impact is mediated through their movements. We used satellite telemetry to provide the first evidence of migration for killer whales, characterized by fast (more than 12 km h(-1), 6.5 knots) and direct movements away from Antarctic waters by six of 12 type B killer whales tagged when foraging near the Antarctic Peninsula, including all tags transmitting for more than three weeks. Tags on five of these whales revealed consistent movements to subtropical waters (30-37° S) off Uruguay and Brazil, in surface water temperatures ranging from -1.9°C to 24.2°C; one 109 day track documented a non-stop round trip of almost 9400 km (5075 nmi) in just 42 days. Although whales travelled slower in the warmest waters, there was no obvious interruption in swim speed or direction to indicate calving or prolonged feeding. Furthermore, these movements were aseasonal, initiating over 80 days between February and April; one whale returned to within 40 km of the tagging site at the onset of the austral winter in June. We suggest that these movements may represent periodic maintenance migrations, with warmer waters allowing skin regeneration without the high cost of heat loss: a physiological constraint that may also affect other whales. PMID:22031725

  12. Cytochrome P4501A1 expression in blubber biopsies of endangered false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) and nine other odontocete species from Hawai'i.

    PubMed

    Foltz, Kerry M; Baird, Robin W; Ylitalo, Gina M; Jensen, Brenda A

    2014-11-01

    Odontocetes (toothed whales) are considered sentinel species in the marine environment because of their high trophic position, long life spans, and blubber that accumulates lipophilic contaminants. Cytochrome P4501A1 (CYP1A1) is a biomarker of exposure and molecular effects of certain persistent organic pollutants. Immunohistochemistry was used to visualize CYP1A1 expression in blubber biopsies collected by non-lethal sampling methods from 10 species of free-ranging Hawaiian odontocetes: short-finned pilot whale, melon-headed whale, pygmy killer whale, common bottlenose dolphin, rough-toothed dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin, Blainville's beaked whale, Cuvier's beaked whale, sperm whale, and endangered main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale. Significantly higher levels of CYP1A1 were observed in false killer whales and rough-toothed dolphins compared to melon-headed whales, and in general, trophic position appears to influence CYP1A1 expression patterns in particular species groups. No significant differences in CYP1A1 were found based on age class or sex across all samples. However, within male false killer whales, juveniles expressed significantly higher levels of CYP1A1 when compared to adults. Total polychlorinated biphenyl (∑PCBs) concentrations in 84% of false killer whales exceeded proposed threshold levels for health effects, and ∑PCBs correlated with CYP1A1 expression. There was no significant relationship between PCB toxic equivalent quotient and CYP1A1 expression, suggesting that this response may be influenced by agonists other than the dioxin-like PCBs measured in this study. No significant differences were found for CYP1A1 expression among social clusters of false killer whales. This work provides a foundation for future health monitoring of the endangered stock of false killer whales and other Hawaiian odontocetes. PMID:25134676

  13. Assessing the coastal occurrence of endangered killer whales using autonomous passive acoustic recorders.

    PubMed

    Hanson, M Bradley; Emmons, Candice K; Ward, Eric J; Nystuen, Jeffrey A; Lammers, Marc O

    2013-11-01

    Using moored autonomous acoustic recorders to detect and record the vocalizations of social odonotocetes to determine their occurrence patterns is a non-invasive tool in the study of these species in remote locations. Acoustic recorders were deployed in seven locations on the continental shelf of the U.S. west coast from Cape Flattery, WA to Pt. Reyes, CA to detect and record endangered southern resident killer whales between January and June of 2006-2011. Detection rates of these whales were greater in 2009 and 2011 than in 2006-2008, were most common in the month of March, and occurred with the greatest frequency off the Columbia River and Westport, which was likely related to the presence of their most commonly consumed prey, Chinook salmon. The observed patterns of annual and monthly killer whale occurrence may be related to run strength and run timing, respectively, for spring Chinook returning to the Columbia River, the largest run in this region at this time of year. Acoustic recorders provided a unique, long-term, dataset that will be important to inform future consideration of Critical Habitat designation for this U.S. Endangered Species Act listed species. PMID:24180759

  14. Variations in killer whale food-associated calls produced during different prey behavioural contexts.

    PubMed

    Samarra, Filipa I P

    2015-07-01

    Killer whales produce herding calls to increase herring school density but previous studies suggested that these calls were made only when feeding upon spawning herring. Herring schools less densely when spawning compared to overwintering; therefore, producing herding calls may be advantageous only when feeding upon less dense spawning schools. To investigate if herding calls were produced across different prey behavioural contexts and whether structural variants occurred and correlated with prey behaviour, this study recorded killer whales when feeding upon spawning and overwintering herring. Herding calls were produced by whales feeding on both spawning and overwintering herring, however, calls recorded during overwintering had significantly different duration and peak frequency to those recorded during spawning. Calls recorded in herring overwintering grounds were more variable and sometimes included nonlinear phenomena. Thus, herding calls were not produced exclusively when feeding upon spawning herring, likely because the call increases feeding efficiency regardless of herring school density or behaviour. Variations in herding call structure were observed between prey behavioural contexts and did not appear to be adapted to prey characteristics. Herding call structural variants may be more likely a result of individual or group variation rather than a reflection of properties of the food source. PMID:25934134

  15. Sperm whales reduce foraging effort during exposure to 1-2 kHz sonar and killer whale sounds.

    PubMed

    Isojunno, Saana; Cure, Charlotte; Kvadsheim, Petter Helgevold; Lam, Frans-Peter Alexander; Tyack, Peter Lloyd; Wensveen, Paul Jacobus; Miller, Patrick James O'Malley

    2016-01-01

    The time and energetic costs of behavioral responses to incidental and experimental sonar exposures, as well as control stimuli, were quantified using hidden state analysis of time series of acoustic and movement data recorded by tags (DTAG) attached to 12 sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using suction cups. Behavioral state transition modeling showed that tagged whales switched to a non-foraging, non-resting state during both experimental transmissions of low-frequency active sonar from an approaching vessel (LFAS; 1-2 kHz, source level 214 dB re 1 µPa m, four tag records) and playbacks of potential predator (killer whale, Orcinus orca) sounds broadcast at naturally occurring sound levels as a positive control from a drifting boat (five tag records). Time spent in foraging states and the probability of prey capture attempts were reduced during these two types of exposures with little change in overall locomotion activity, suggesting an effect on energy intake with no immediate compensation. Whales switched to the active non-foraging state over received sound pressure levels of 131-165 dB re 1 µPa during LFAS exposure. In contrast, no changes in foraging behavior were detected in response to experimental negative controls (no-sonar ship approach or noise control playback) or to experimental medium-frequency active sonar exposures (MFAS; 6-7 kHz, source level 199 re 1 µPa m, received sound pressure level [SPL] = 73-158 dB re 1 µPa). Similarly, there was no reduction in foraging effort for three whales exposed to incidental, unidentified 4.7-5.1 kHz sonar signals received at lower levels (SPL = 89-133 dB re 1 µPa). These results demonstrate that similar to predation risk, exposure to sonar can affect functional behaviors, and indicate that increased perception of risk with higher source level or lower frequency may modulate how sperm whales respond to anthropogenic sound. PMID:27039511

  16. Geographic and temporal dynamics of a global radiation and diversification in the killer whale.

    PubMed

    Morin, Phillip A; Parsons, Kim M; Archer, Frederick I; Ávila-Arcos, María C; Barrett-Lennard, Lance G; Dalla Rosa, Luciano; Duchêne, Sebastián; Durban, John W; Ellis, Graeme M; Ferguson, Steven H; Ford, John K; Ford, Michael J; Garilao, Cristina; Gilbert, M Thomas P; Kaschner, Kristin; Matkin, Craig O; Petersen, Stephen D; Robertson, Kelly M; Visser, Ingrid N; Wade, Paul R; Ho, Simon Y W; Foote, Andrew D

    2015-08-01

    Global climate change during the Late Pleistocene periodically encroached and then released habitat during the glacial cycles, causing range expansions and contractions in some species. These dynamics have played a major role in geographic radiations, diversification and speciation. We investigate these dynamics in the most widely distributed of marine mammals, the killer whale (Orcinus orca), using a global data set of over 450 samples. This marine top predator inhabits coastal and pelagic ecosystems ranging from the ice edge to the tropics, often exhibiting ecological, behavioural and morphological variation suggestive of local adaptation accompanied by reproductive isolation. Results suggest a rapid global radiation occurred over the last 350 000 years. Based on habitat models, we estimated there was only a 15% global contraction of core suitable habitat during the last glacial maximum, and the resources appeared to sustain a constant global effective female population size throughout the Late Pleistocene. Reconstruction of the ancestral phylogeography highlighted the high mobility of this species, identifying 22 strongly supported long-range dispersal events including interoceanic and interhemispheric movement. Despite this propensity for geographic dispersal, the increased sampling of this study uncovered very few potential examples of ancestral dispersal among ecotypes. Concordance of nuclear and mitochondrial data further confirms genetic cohesiveness, with little or no current gene flow among sympatric ecotypes. Taken as a whole, our data suggest that the glacial cycles influenced local populations in different ways, with no clear global pattern, but with secondary contact among lineages following long-range dispersal as a potential mechanism driving ecological diversification. PMID:26087773

  17. Concentrations of organotin compounds in the stranded killer whales from Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan.

    PubMed

    Harino, Hiroya; Ohji, Madoka; Brownell, Robert L; Arai, Takaomi; Miyazaki, Nobuyuki

    2008-07-01

    We measured the concentrations of butyltin (BT) and phenyltin (PT) compounds in blubber, liver, lung, and muscle of seven stranded killer whales (Orcinus orca) collected from Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan. BTs in blubber (n = 6), liver (n = 4), lung (n = 1), and muscle (n = 4) of adult whale were in the range of 37-90, 385-676, 15, and 26-53 microg kg(-1) wet weight, respectively. Concentrations of PTs in blubber, liver, lung, and muscle were <1 to 58, <1 to 14, 7 and <1 to 4 microg kg(-1) wet weight, respectively. Detected frequencies of PTs were low in all tissues. Higher percentages of monobutyltin (MBT) in blubber, lung, and muscle were observed, while the percentage of dibutyltin (DBT) was high in liver. Detected frequencies of triphenyltin (TPT) were highest among tissues. Total BT concentrations in blubber and liver of a whale calf were lower than those in adult whales. MBT and DBT in the liver of the calf were the same (42%). MBT in blubber was the dominant compound among BTs. PMID:18166983

  18. The structure of stereotyped calls reflects kinship and social affiliation in resident killer whales ( Orcinus orca)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deecke, Volker B.; Barrett-Lennard, Lance G.; Spong, Paul; Ford, John K. B.

    2010-05-01

    A few species of mammals produce group-specific vocalisations that are passed on by learning, but the function of learned vocal variation remains poorly understood. Resident killer whales live in stable matrilineal groups with repertoires of seven to 17 stereotyped call types. Some types are shared among matrilines, but their structure typically shows matriline-specific differences. Our objective was to analyse calls of nine killer whale matrilines in British Columbia to test whether call similarity primarily reflects social or genetic relationships. Recordings were made in 1985-1995 in the presence of focal matrilines that were either alone or with groups with non-overlapping repertoires. We used neural network discrimination performance to measure the similarity of call types produced by different matrilines and determined matriline association rates from 757 encounters with one or more focal matrilines. Relatedness was measured by comparing variation at 11 microsatellite loci for the oldest female in each group. Call similarity was positively correlated with association rates for two of the three call types analysed. Similarity of the N4 call type was also correlated with matriarch relatedness. No relationship between relatedness and association frequency was detected. These results show that call structure reflects relatedness and social affiliation, but not because related groups spend more time together. Instead, call structure appears to play a role in kin recognition and shapes the association behaviour of killer whale groups. Our results therefore support the hypothesis that increasing social complexity plays a role in the evolution of learned vocalisations in some mammalian species.

  19. The structure of stereotyped calls reflects kinship and social affiliation in resident killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Deecke, Volker B; Barrett-Lennard, Lance G; Spong, Paul; Ford, John K B

    2010-05-01

    A few species of mammals produce group-specific vocalisations that are passed on by learning, but the function of learned vocal variation remains poorly understood. Resident killer whales live in stable matrilineal groups with repertoires of seven to 17 stereotyped call types. Some types are shared among matrilines, but their structure typically shows matriline-specific differences. Our objective was to analyse calls of nine killer whale matrilines in British Columbia to test whether call similarity primarily reflects social or genetic relationships. Recordings were made in 1985-1995 in the presence of focal matrilines that were either alone or with groups with non-overlapping repertoires. We used neural network discrimination performance to measure the similarity of call types produced by different matrilines and determined matriline association rates from 757 encounters with one or more focal matrilines. Relatedness was measured by comparing variation at 11 microsatellite loci for the oldest female in each group. Call similarity was positively correlated with association rates for two of the three call types analysed. Similarity of the N4 call type was also correlated with matriarch relatedness. No relationship between relatedness and association frequency was detected. These results show that call structure reflects relatedness and social affiliation, but not because related groups spend more time together. Instead, call structure appears to play a role in kin recognition and shapes the association behaviour of killer whale groups. Our results therefore support the hypothesis that increasing social complexity plays a role in the evolution of learned vocalisations in some mammalian species. PMID:20213302

  20. Disproportionate emission of bubble streams with killer whale biphonic calls: perspectives on production and function.

    PubMed

    Bowles, Ann E; Grebner, Dawn M; Musser, Whitney B; Nash, Juliette S; Crance, Jessica L

    2015-02-01

    Stereotyped pulsed calls were attributed to 11 killer whales (Orcinus orca) with and without synchronous bubble streams in three datasets collected from two facilities from 1993 to 2012. Calls with and without synchronous bubble streams and divergent overlapping high frequency components ("biphonic" vs "monophonic") were compared. Subjects produced bubbles significantly more often when calls had divergent high frequency components. However, acoustic features in one biphonic call shared by five subjects provided little evidence for an acoustic effect of synchronous bubble flow. Disproportionate bubbling supported other evidence that biphonic calls form a distinct category, but suggested a function in short-range communication. PMID:25698045

  1. Acoustic characteristics of underwater tail slaps used by Norwegian and Icelandic killer whales (Orcinus orca) to debilitate herring (Clupea harengus).

    PubMed

    Simon, Malene; Wahlberg, Magnus; Ugarte, Fernando; Miller, Lee A

    2005-06-01

    Norwegian killer whales debilitate prey by slapping their tails into herring schools. These underwater tail slaps produce a thud-like sound. It is unclear whether this sound is caused by cavitation and/or physical contact between herring and whale tail. Also the forces causing debilitation of the fish are not understood. Here we present an acoustic analysis of underwater tail slaps using a multi-channel wide (150 kHz) band recording system. Underwater tail slaps produced by Norwegian killer whales generated sounds consisting of multiple pulses with source levels of 186+/-5.4 dB (pp) re.1 microPa at 1 m (+/-1 s.d., N = 4). The -3 dB and 97% energy bandwidths were 36.8+/-22.5 kHz and 130.5+/-17.5 kHz (+/-1 s.d., N = 13), respectively, with a centre frequency of 46.1+/-22.3 kHz. The similarities between the acoustic properties of underwater tail slaps recorded from killer whales in Norway, and thud-like sounds recorded from killer whales in Iceland suggest that Norwegian and Icelandic killer whales use similar hunting techniques. The acoustic characteristics of sounds produced by underwater tail slaps were similar to the ones from other cavitation sound sources described in the literature, both in term of temporal and frequency features as well as in source level. We suggest that multiple factors generated by the tail slaps like particle fluctuations, turbulence, pressure changes and physical impact cause debilitation of herring. PMID:15939784

  2. Ocular anatomy, ganglion cell distribution and retinal resolution of a killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Mass, Alla M; Supin, Alexander Y; Abramov, Andrey V; Mukhametov, Lev M; Rozanova, Elena I

    2013-01-01

    Retinal topography, cell density and sizes of ganglion cells in the killer whale (Orcinus orca) were analyzed in retinal whole mounts stained with cresyl violet. A distinctive feature of the killer whale's retina is the large size of ganglion cells and low cell density compared to terrestrial mammals. The ganglion cell diameter ranged from 8 to 100 µm, with the majority of cells within a range of 20-40 µm. The topographic distribution of ganglion cells displayed two spots of high cell density located in the temporal and nasal quadrants, 20 mm from the optic disk. The high-density areas were connected by a horizontal belt-like area passing below the optic disk of the retina. Peak cell densities in these areas were evaluated. Mean peak cell densities were 334 and 288 cells/mm(2) in the temporal and nasal high-density areas, respectively. With a posterior nodal distance of 19.5 mm, these high-density data predict a retinal resolution of 9.6' (3.1 cycles/deg.) and 12.6' (2.4 cycles/deg.) in the temporal and nasal areas, respectively, in water. PMID:23018493

  3. Ovarian cycle approach by rectal temperature and fecal progesterone in a female killer whale, Orcinus orca.

    PubMed

    Kusuda, Satoshi; Kakizoe, Yuka; Kanda, Koji; Sengoku, Tomoko; Fukumoto, Yohei; Adachi, Itsuki; Watanabe, Yoko; Doi, Osamu

    2011-01-01

    This study aimed to validate the measurements of body temperature and fecal progesterone concentrations as minimally invasive techniques for assessing ovarian cycle in a single sexually mature female killer whale. Rectal temperature data, fecal and blood samples were collected in the dorsal position using routine husbandry training on a voluntary basis. The correlations between rectal temperature and plasma progesterone concentration and between fecal and plasma progesterone concentrations were investigated. Fecal progesterone metabolites were identified by a combination of high-performance liquid chromatography and enzyme immunoassay. Plasma progesterone concentrations (range: 0.2-18.6 ng/ml) and rectal temperature (range: 35.3-35.9°C) changed cyclically, and cycle lengths were an average (±SD) of 44.9±4.0 days (nine cycles) and 44.6±5.9 days (nine cycles), respectively. Rectal temperature positively correlated with the plasma progesterone concentrations (r=0.641, P<0.01). There was a visual trend for fecal progesterone profiles to be similar to circulating plasma progesterone profiles. Fecal immunoreactive progestagen analysis resulted in a marked immunoreactive peak of progesterone. The data from the single killer whale indicate that the measurement of rectal temperature is suitable for minimally invasive assessment of the estrous cycle and monitoring the fecal progesterone concentration is useful to assess ovarian luteal activity. PMID:20648568

  4. Modulation in Persistent Organic Pollutant Concentration and Profile by Prey Availability and Reproductive Status in Southern Resident Killer Whale Scat Samples.

    PubMed

    Lundin, Jessica I; Ylitalo, Gina M; Booth, Rebecca K; Anulacion, Bernadita; Hempelmann, Jennifer A; Parsons, Kim M; Giles, Deborah A; Seely, Elizabeth A; Hanson, M Bradley; Emmons, Candice K; Wasser, Samuel K

    2016-06-21

    Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), specifically PCBs, PBDEs, and DDTs, in the marine environment are well documented, however accumulation and mobilization patterns at the top of the food-web are poorly understood. This study broadens the understanding of POPs in the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population by addressing modulation by prey availability and reproductive status, along with endocrine disrupting effects. A total of 140 killer whale scat samples collected from 54 unique whales across a 4 year sampling period (2010-2013) were analyzed for concentrations of POPs. Toxicant measures were linked to pod, age, and birth order in genotyped individuals, prey abundance using open-source test fishery data, and pregnancy status based on hormone indices from the same sample. Toxicant concentrations were highest and had the greatest potential for toxicity when prey abundance was the lowest. In addition, these toxicants were likely from endogenous lipid stores. Bioaccumulation of POPs increased with age, with the exception of presumed nulliparous females. The exceptional pattern may be explained by females experiencing unobserved neonatal loss. Transfer of POPs through mobilization of endogenous lipid stores during lactation was highest for first-borns with diminished transfer to subsequent calves. Contrary to expectation, POP concentrations did not demonstrate an associated disruption of thyroid hormone, although this association may have been masked by impacts of prey abundance on thyroid hormone concentrations. The noninvasive method for measuring POP concentrations in killer whales through scat employed in this study may improve toxicant monitoring in the marine environment and promote conservation efforts. PMID:27186642

  5. Persistent organic pollutants and stable isotopes in biopsy samples (2004/2006) from Southern Resident killer whales.

    PubMed

    Krahn, Margaret M; Hanson, M Bradley; Baird, Robin W; Boyer, Richard H; Burrows, Douglas G; Emmons, Candice K; Ford, John K B; Jones, Linda L; Noren, Dawn P; Ross, Peter S; Schorr, Gregory S; Collier, Tracy K

    2007-12-01

    "Southern Resident" killer whales include three "pods" (J, K and L) that reside primarily in Puget Sound/Georgia Basin during the spring, summer and fall. This population was listed as "endangered" in the US and Canada following a 20% decline between 1996 and 2001. The current study, using blubber/epidermis biopsy samples, contributes contemporary information about potential factors (i.e., levels of pollutants or changes in diet) that could adversely affect Southern Residents. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes indicated J- and L-pod consumed prey from similar trophic levels in 2004/2006 and also showed no evidence for a large shift in the trophic level of prey consumed by L-pod between 1996 and 2004/2006. Sigma PCBs decreased for Southern Residents biopsied in 2004/2006 compared to 1993-1995. Surprisingly, however, a three-year-old male whale (J39) had the highest concentrations of Sigma PBDEs, Sigma HCHs and HCB. POP ratio differences between J- and L-pod suggested that they occupy different ranges in winter. PMID:17931664

  6. Assessment of current dietary intake of organochlorine contaminants and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in killer whales (Orcinus orca) through direct determination in a group of whales in captivity.

    PubMed

    Formigaro, Costanza; Henríquez-Hernandez, Luis A; Zaccaroni, Annalisa; Garcia-Hartmann, Manuel; Camacho, María; Boada, Luis D; Zumbado, Manuel; Luzardo, Octavio P

    2014-02-15

    We determined the levels of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), 19 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and 18 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the plasma of captive adult killer whales and in their food. The goal of this research was the assessment of the dietary exposure of killer whales to these pollutants to gain insight on what is the actual magnitude of the exposure in this species, which is considered among the most contaminated in the planet. Plasma median ∑OCP and ∑PCB contents were 3150.3 and 7985.9 ng g(-1)l.w., respectively. A total of 78.9% of the PCBs were marker-PCBs, and 21.1% were dioxin-like PCBs (6688.7 pg g(-1)l.w. dioxin toxic equivalents). This is the first report of the blood levels of PAHs in killer whales, and their median value was 1023.1 ng g(-1)l.w. In parallel, we also determined the levels of these contaminants in the fish species that are used to feed these animals to estimate the orcas' average daily dietary intake of pollutants. All the contaminants in the fish were detected in the plasma of the killer whales, and proportionality between the intake and the blood levels was observed in all the animals. The calculated intake was extremely high for certain contaminants, which is a concern, giving a glimpse of what possibly occurs in the wild, where exposure to these contaminants can be even higher. Therefore, although many of these chemicals have been banned for decades, even today, the levels of these chemicals could reach very toxic concentrations in the tissues of these endangered animals because of their diet. PMID:24345864

  7. Evoked potential recording during echolocation in a false killer whale Pseudorca crassidens (L)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Supin, Alexander Ya.; Nachtigall, Paul E.; Pawloski, Jeffrey; Au, Whitlow W. L.

    2003-05-01

    Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) were recorded in a false killer whale while the animal echolocated a target. The ABR collection was triggered by echolocation clicks of the animal. In these conditions, the recorded ABR pattern contained a duplicate set of waves. A comparison of ABR wave delays recorded during echolocation with those recorded during regular external stimulation with experimenter generated clicks showed that the first set of waves may be a response to the emitted click whereas the second one may be a response to the echo. Both responses, to the emitted click and to the echo, were of comparable amplitude in spite of the intensity difference of these two sounds that may differ by more than 40 dB near the animal's head. This finding indicates the presence of some mechanism of releasing responses to echoes from masking by loud emitted clicks. The evoked-potential method may be productive to investigate these mechanisms.

  8. Source parameter estimates of echolocation clicks from wild pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata) (L)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Madsen, P. T.; Kerr, I.; Payne, R.

    2004-10-01

    Pods of the little known pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata) in the northern Indian Ocean were recorded with a vertical hydrophone array connected to a digital recorder sampling at 320 kHz. Recorded clicks were directional, short (25 μs) transients with estimated source levels between 197 and 223 dB re. 1 μPa (pp). Spectra of clicks recorded close to or on the acoustic axis were bimodal with peak frequencies between 45 and 117 kHz, and with centroid frequencies between 70 and 85 kHz. The clicks share characteristics of echolocation clicks from similar sized, whistling delphinids, and have properties suited for the detection and classification of prey targeted by this odontocete. .

  9. Localization of Southern Resident Killer Whales Using Two Star Arrays to Support Marine Renewable Energy

    SciTech Connect

    Ren, Huiying; Deng, Zhiqun; Carlson, Thomas J.; Sun, Yannan; Fu, Tao; Martinez, Jayson J.; Matzner, Shari; Myers, Joshua R.

    2012-10-19

    Tidal power has been identified as one of the most potential commercial-scale renewable energy sources. Puget Sound, Washington, is a potential site to deploy tidal power generating devices. The risk of injury for killer whales needs to be managed before the deployment of these types of devices can be approved by regulating authorities. A passive acoustic system consisting of two star arrays, each with four hydrophones, was designed and implemented for the detection and localization of Southern Resident killer whales. Deployment of the passive acoustic system was conducted at Sequim Bay, Washington. A total of nine test locations were chosen, within a radius of 250 m around the star arrays, to test our localization approach. For the localization algorithm, a least square solver was applied to obtain a bearing location from each star array. The final source location was determined by the intersection of the bearings given by each of the two star arrays. Bearing and distance errors were obtained to conduct comparison between the calculated and true (from Global Positioning System) locations. The results indicated that bearing errors were within 1.04º for eight of the test locations; one location had bearing errors slightly larger than expected due to the strong background noise at that position. For the distance errors, six of the test locations were within the range of 1.91 to 32.36 m. The other two test locations were near the intersection line between the centers of the two star arrays, which were expected to have large errors from the theoretical sensitivity analysis performed.

  10. Pulmonary zygomycosis with Cunninghamella bertholletiae in a killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Abdo, W; Kakizoe, Y; Ryono, M; Dover, S R; Fukushi, H; Okuda, H; Kano, R; Shibahara, T; Okada, E; Sakai, H; Yanai, T

    2012-07-01

    An adult female killer whale (Orcinus orca) was transported to the Port of Nagoya public aquarium in June 2010. While the animal was being maintained in the aquarium there was a gradual decrease in body weight. On October 1st, 2010 the whale exhibited signs of gastrointestinal disease and died on January 14th, 2011. At necropsy examination the gastric compartments were filled with a large number of variably-sized rocks (total weight 81.4 kg) and there was marked ulceration in the third compartment. There were multifocal tubercle-like nodules within the lungs and on sectioning there were numerous abscesses and pulmonary cavities. Microscopically, there was severe suppurative pneumonia associated with fungal hyphae that were infrequently septate and often branched. Numerous bacterial colonies were also present. The hyphae demonstrated immunohistochemical cross-reactivity with Rhizomucor spp. and Cunninghamella bertholletiae was cultured. Bacteriological culture revealed the presence of Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas oryzihabitans. This case represents the first documentation of zygomycosis associated with C. bertholletiae in a marine mammal. PMID:22000035

  11. Source-to-sensation level ratio of transmitted biosonar pulses in an echolocating false killer whale.

    PubMed

    Supin, Alexander Ya; Nachtigall, Paul E; Breese, Marlee

    2006-07-01

    Transmitted biosonar pulses, and the brain auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) associated with those pulses, were synchronously recorded in a false killer whale Pseudorca crassidens trained to accept suction-cup EEG electrodes and to detect targets by echolocation. AEP amplitude was investigated as a function of the transmitted biosonar pulse source level. For that, a few thousand of the individual AEP records were sorted according to the spontaneously varied amplitude of synchronously recorded biosonar pulses. In each of the sorting bins (in 5-dB steps) AEP records were averaged to extract AEP from noise; AEP amplitude was plotted as a function of the biosonar pulse source level. For comparison, AEPs were recorded to external (in free field) sound pulses of a waveform and spectrum similar to those of the biosonar pulses; amplitude of these AEPs was plotted as a function of sound pressure level. A comparison of these two functions has shown that, depending on the presence or absence of a target, the sensitivity of the whale's hearing to its own transmitted biosonar pulses was 30 to 45 dB lower than might be expected in a free acoustic field. PMID:16875248

  12. Killer whale caller localization using a hydrophone array in an oceanarium pool

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowles, Ann E.; Greenlaw, Charles F.; McGehee, Duncan E.; van Holliday, D.

    2001-05-01

    A system to localize calling killer whales was designed around a ten-hydrophone array in a pool at SeaWorld San Diego. The array consisted of nine ITC 8212 and one ITC 6050H hydrophones mounted in recessed 30×30 cm2 niches. Eight of the hydrophones were connected to a Compaq Armada E500 laptop computer through a National Instruments DAQ 6024E PCMCIA A/D data acquisition card and a BNC-2120 signal conditioner. The system was calibrated with a 139-dB, 4.5-kHz pinger. Acoustic data were collected during four 48-72 h recording sessions, simultaneously with video recorded from a four-camera array. Calling whales were localized by one of two methods, (1) at the hydrophone reporting the highest sound exposure level and (2) using custom-designed 3-D localization software based on time-of-arrival (ORCA). Complex reverberations in the niches and pool made locations based on time of arrival difficult to collect. Based on preliminary analysis of data from four sessions (400+ calls/session), the hydrophone reporting the highest level reliably attributed callers 51%-100% of the time. This represents a substantial improvement over attribution rates of 5%-15% obtained with single hydrophone recordings. [Funding provided by Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and the Hubbs Society.

  13. Intra- and intergroup vocal behavior in resident killer whales, Orcinus orca.

    PubMed

    Weiss, Brigitte M; Symonds, Helena; Spong, Paul; Ladich, Friedrich

    2007-12-01

    Vocal communication within and between groups of individuals has been described extensively in birds and terrestrial mammals, however, little is known about how cetaceans utilize their sounds in their natural environment. Resident killer whales, Orcinus orca, live in highly stable matrilines and exhibit group-specific vocal dialects. Single call types cannot exclusively be associated with particular behaviors and calls are thought to function in group identification and intragroup communication. In the present study call usage of three closely related matrilines of the Northern resident community was compared in various intra- and intergroup contexts. In two out of the three matrilines significant changes in vocal behavior depending both on the presence and identity of accompanying whales were found. Most evidently, family-specific call subtypes, as well as aberrant and variable calls, were emitted at higher rates, whereas "low arousal" call types were used less in the presence of matrilines from different pods, subclans, or clans. Ways in which the observed changes may function both in intra- and intergroup communication. PMID:18247778

  14. Assessment of injuries and recovery monitoring of Prince William Sound killer whales using photo-identification techniques. Restoration project 93042/94092. Exxon Valdez oil spill restoration project final report

    SciTech Connect

    Dahlheim, M.E.

    1994-04-01

    Photo-identification studies of individual killer whales inhabitating Prince William Sound were collected from 1989-91 and from July to September 1993 to determine the impact of the spill on whale abundance and distribution (1989-1991) and monitor recovery (1993). Concurrent photo-identification studies were also conducted in Southeast Alaska to determine if PWS killer whales were displaced to other areas between 1989 and 1991. Despite increased effort, the number of encounters with PWS killer whales appears to be decreasing. The authors assume, that the whales are dead from natural causes, a result of interactions with fisheries, from the spill, or a combination of these causes.

  15. Echolocation signals of free-ranging killer whales (Orcinus orca) and modeling of foraging for chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha).

    PubMed

    Au, Whitlow W L; Ford, John K B; Horne, John K; Allman, Kelly A Newman

    2004-02-01

    Fish-eating "resident"-type killer whales (Orcinus orca) that frequent the coastal waters off northeastern Vancouver Island, Canada have a strong preference for chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). The whales in this region often forage along steep cliffs that extend into the water, echolocating their prey. Echolocation signals of resident killer whales were measured with a four-hydrophone symmetrical star array and the signals were simultaneously digitized at a sample rate of 500 kHz using a lunch-box PC. A portable VCR recorded the images from an underwater camera located adjacent to the array center. Only signals emanating from close to the beam axis (1185 total) were chosen for a detailed analysis. Killer whales project very broadband echolocation signals (Q equal 0.9 to 1.4) that tend to have bimodal frequency structure. Ninety-seven percent of the signals had center frequencies between 45 and 80 kHz with bandwidths between 35 and 50 kHz. The peak-to-peak source level of the echolocation signals decreased as a function of the one-way transmission loss to the array. Source levels varied between 195 and 224 dB re: 1 microPa. Using a model of target strength for chinook salmon, the echo levels from the echolocation signals are estimated for different horizontal ranges between a whale and a salmon. At a horizontal range of 100 m, the echo level should exceed an Orcinus hearing threshold at 50 kHz by over 29 dB and should be greater than sea state 4 noise by at least 9 dB. In moderately heavy rain conditions, the detection range will be reduced substantially and the echo level at a horizontal range of 40 m would be close to the level of the rain noise. PMID:15000201

  16. Echolocation signals of free-ranging killer whales (Orcinus orca) and modeling of foraging for chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Au, Whitlow W. L.; Ford, John K. B.; Horne, John K.; Allman, Kelly A. Newman

    2004-02-01

    Fish-eating ``resident''-type killer whales (Orcinus orca) that frequent the coastal waters off northeastern Vancouver Island, Canada have a strong preference for chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). The whales in this region often forage along steep cliffs that extend into the water, echolocating their prey. Echolocation signals of resident killer whales were measured with a four-hydrophone symmetrical star array and the signals were simultaneously digitized at a sample rate of 500 kHz using a lunch-box PC. A portable VCR recorded the images from an underwater camera located adjacent to the array center. Only signals emanating from close to the beam axis (1185 total) were chosen for a detailed analysis. Killer whales project very broadband echolocation signals (Q equal 0.9 to 1.4) that tend to have bimodal frequency structure. Ninety-seven percent of the signals had center frequencies between 45 and 80 kHz with bandwidths between 35 and 50 kHz. The peak-to-peak source level of the echolocation signals decreased as a function of the one-way transmission loss to the array. Source levels varied between 195 and 224 dB re:1 μPa. Using a model of target strength for chinook salmon, the echo levels from the echolocation signals are estimated for different horizontal ranges between a whale and a salmon. At a horizontal range of 100 m, the echo level should exceed an Orcinus hearing threshold at 50 kHz by over 29 dB and should be greater than sea state 4 noise by at least 9 dB. In moderately heavy rain conditions, the detection range will be reduced substantially and the echo level at a horizontal range of 40 m would be close to the level of the rain noise.

  17. Persistent Organic Pollutant Determination in Killer Whale Scat Samples: Optimization of a Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry Method and Application to Field Samples.

    PubMed

    Lundin, Jessica I; Dills, Russell L; Ylitalo, Gina M; Hanson, M Bradley; Emmons, Candice K; Schorr, Gregory S; Ahmad, Jacqui; Hempelmann, Jennifer A; Parsons, Kim M; Wasser, Samuel K

    2016-01-01

    Biologic sample collection in wild cetacean populations is challenging. Most information on toxicant levels is obtained from blubber biopsy samples; however, sample collection is invasive and strictly regulated under permit, thus limiting sample numbers. Methods are needed to monitor toxicant levels that increase temporal and repeat sampling of individuals for population health and recovery models. The objective of this study was to optimize measuring trace levels (parts per billion) of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), namely polychlorinated-biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated-diphenyl-ethers (PBDEs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs), and hexachlorocyclobenzene, in killer whale scat (fecal) samples. Archival scat samples, initially collected, lyophilized, and extracted with 70 % ethanol for hormone analyses, were used to analyze POP concentrations. The residual pellet was extracted and analyzed using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Method detection limits ranged from 11 to 125 ng/g dry weight. The described method is suitable for p,p'-DDE, PCBs-138, 153, 180, and 187, and PBDEs-47 and 100; other POPs were below the limit of detection. We applied this method to 126 scat samples collected from Southern Resident killer whales. Scat samples from 22 adult whales also had known POP concentrations in blubber and demonstrated significant correlations (p < 0.01) between matrices across target analytes. Overall, the scat toxicant measures matched previously reported patterns from blubber samples of decreased levels in reproductive-age females and a decreased p,p'-DDE/∑PCB ratio in J-pod. Measuring toxicants in scat samples provides an unprecedented opportunity to noninvasively evaluate contaminant levels in wild cetacean populations; these data have the prospect to provide meaningful information for vital management decisions. PMID:26298464

  18. A small towed beamforming array to identify vocalizing resident killer whales ( Orcinus orca) concurrent with focal behavioral observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Patrick J.; Tyack, Peter L.

    Investigations of communication systems benefit from concurrent observation of vocal and visible behaviors of individual animals. A device has been developed to identify individual vocalizing resident killer whales ( Orcinus orca) during focal behavioral observations. The device consists of a 2-m, 15-element hydrophone array, which is easily towed behind a small vessel, on-board multi-channel recorders, and real-time signal processing equipment. Acoustic data from the hydrophones are digitized and processed using broadband frequency-domain beamforming to yield frequency-azimuth (FRAZ) and "directo-gram" displays of arriving sounds. Based upon statistical analysis of independent portions of typical killer whale calls, the precision of the angle-of-arrival estimate ranges from ±0° to ±2.5° with a mean precision of ±1.5°. Echolocation clicks also are resolved precisely with a typical -6 dB mainlobe width of ±2.0°. Careful positioning of the array relative to the animals minimizes the effects of depth ambiguities and allows identification of individual sources in many circumstances. Several strategies for identifying vocalizing individuals are discussed and an example of a successful identification is described. Use of the array with resident killer whales did not interfere with vessel maneuverability, animal tracking, or behavioral sampling of focal individuals. This localization technique has promise for advancing the abilities of researchers to conduct unbiased behavioral and acoustic sampling of individual free-ranging cetaceans.

  19. Evidence for vocal learning in juvenile male killer whales, Orcinus orca, from an adventitious cross-socializing experiment.

    PubMed

    Crance, Jessica L; Bowles, Ann E; Garver, Alan

    2014-04-15

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are thought to learn their vocal dialect. Dispersal in the species is rare, but effects of shifts in social association on the dialect can be studied under controlled conditions. Individual call repertoires and social association were measured in three adult female killer whales and three males (two juveniles and an adult) during two periods, 2001-2003 and 2005-2006. Three distinct dialect repertoires were represented among the subjects. An adventitious experiment in social change resulted from the birth of a calf and the transfer of two non-focal subjects in 2004. Across the two periods, 1691 calls were collected, categorized and attributed to individuals. Repertoire overlap for each subject dyad was compared with an index of association. During 2005-2006, the two juvenile males increased association with the unrelated adult male. By the end of the period, both had begun producing novel calls and call features characteristic of his repertoire. However, there was little or no reciprocal change and the adult females did not acquire his calls. Repertoire overlap and association were significantly correlated in the first period. In the second, median association time and repertoire similarity increased, but the relationship was only marginally significant. The results provided evidence that juvenile male killer whales are capable of learning new call types, possibly stimulated by a change in social association. The pattern of learning was consistent with a selective convergence of male repertoires. PMID:24744421

  20. Identifying Variations in Baseline Behavior of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) to Contextualize Their Responses to Anthropogenic Noise.

    PubMed

    Samarra, Filipa I P; Miller, Patrick J O

    2016-01-01

    Determining the baseline behavior of a whale requires understanding natural variations occurring due to environmental context, such as changes in prey behavior. Killer whales feeding on herring consistently encircle herring schools; however, depth of feeding differs from near the surface in winter to deeper than 10 m in spring and summer. These variations in feeding depth are probably due to the depth of the prey and the balance between the costs and benefits of bringing schools of herring to the surface. Such variation in baseline behavior may incur different energetic costs and consequently change the motivation of whales to avoid a feeding area. Here, we discuss these variations in feeding behavior in the context of exposure to noise and interpret observed responses to simulated navy sonar signals. PMID:26611056

  1. Dose-response relationships for the onset of avoidance of sonar by free-ranging killer whales.

    PubMed

    Miller, Patrick J O; Antunes, Ricardo N; Wensveen, Paul J; Samarra, Filipa I P; Alves, Ana Catarina; Tyack, Peter L; Kvadsheim, Petter H; Kleivane, Lars; Lam, Frans-Peter A; Ainslie, Michael A; Thomas, Len

    2014-02-01

    Eight experimentally controlled exposures to 1-2 kHz or 6-7 kHz sonar signals were conducted with four killer whale groups. The source level and proximity of the source were increased during each exposure in order to reveal response thresholds. Detailed inspection of movements during each exposure session revealed sustained changes in speed and travel direction judged to be avoidance responses during six of eight sessions. Following methods developed for Phase-I clinical trials in human medicine, response thresholds ranging from 94 to 164 dB re 1 μPa received sound pressure level (SPL) were fitted to Bayesian dose-response functions. Thresholds did not consistently differ by sonar frequency or whether a group had previously been exposed, with a mean SPL response threshold of 142 ± 15 dB (mean ± s.d.). High levels of between- and within-individual variability were identified, indicating that thresholds depended upon other undefined contextual variables. The dose-response functions indicate that some killer whales started to avoid sonar at received SPL below thresholds assumed by the U.S. Navy. The predicted extent of habitat over which avoidance reactions occur depends upon whether whales responded to proximity or received SPL of the sonar or both, but was large enough to raise concerns about biological consequences to the whales. PMID:25234905

  2. Stable isotope ratios of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen in killer whales (Orcinus orca) stranded on the coast of Hokkaido, Japan.

    PubMed

    Endo, Tetsuya; Kimura, Osamu; Sato, Rie; Kobayashi, Mari; Matsuda, Ayaka; Matsuishi, Takashi; Haraguchi, Koichi

    2014-09-15

    We analyzed δ(13)C, δ(15)N and δ(18)O in the muscle and liver from killer whales stranded on the coast of Japan. The δ(15)N values in the muscle samples from calves were apparently higher than those in their lactating mothers, suggesting that nursing may result in the higher δ(15)N values in the muscle samples of calves. The δ(15)N value in the muscle samples of male and female whales, except for the calves, were positively correlated with the δ(13)C values and body length, suggesting that the increases in δ(15)N were due to the growth of the whales and increase in their trophic level. In contrast, the δ(18)O values in the muscle samples of female whales except for the calves were negatively correlated with the δ(13)C and δ(15)N values. The δ(18)O may be lower in whales occupying higher trophic positions (δ(15)N), although it might also be affected by geographic and climatic conditions. PMID:25080859

  3. Tracking niche variation over millennial timescales in sympatric killer whale lineages

    PubMed Central

    Foote, Andrew D.; Newton, Jason; Ávila-Arcos, María C.; Kampmann, Marie-Louise; Samaniego, Jose A.; Post, Klaas; Rosing-Asvid, Aqqalu; Sinding, Mikkel-Holger S.; Gilbert, M. Thomas P.

    2013-01-01

    Niche variation owing to individual differences in ecology has been hypothesized to be an early stage of sympatric speciation. Yet to date, no study has tracked niche width over more than a few generations. In this study, we show the presence of isotopic niche variation over millennial timescales and investigate the evolutionary outcomes. Isotopic ratios were measured from tissue samples of sympatric killer whale Orcinus orca lineages from the North Sea, spanning over 10 000 years. Isotopic ratios spanned a range similar to the difference in isotopic values of two known prey items, herring Clupea harengus and harbour seal Phoca vitulina. Two proxies of the stage of speciation, lineage sorting of mitogenomes and genotypic clustering, were both weak to intermediate indicating that speciation has made little progress. Thus, our study confirms that even with the necessary ecological conditions, i.e. among-individual variation in ecology, it is difficult for sympatric speciation to progress in the face of gene flow. In contrast to some theoretical models, our empirical results suggest that sympatric speciation driven by among-individual differences in ecological niche is a slow process and may not reach completion. We argue that sympatric speciation is constrained in this system owing to the plastic nature of the behavioural traits under selection when hunting either mammals or fish. PMID:23945688

  4. Tracking niche variation over millennial timescales in sympatric killer whale lineages.

    PubMed

    Foote, Andrew D; Newton, Jason; Ávila-Arcos, María C; Kampmann, Marie-Louise; Samaniego, Jose A; Post, Klaas; Rosing-Asvid, Aqqalu; Sinding, Mikkel-Holger S; Gilbert, M Thomas P

    2013-10-01

    Niche variation owing to individual differences in ecology has been hypothesized to be an early stage of sympatric speciation. Yet to date, no study has tracked niche width over more than a few generations. In this study, we show the presence of isotopic niche variation over millennial timescales and investigate the evolutionary outcomes. Isotopic ratios were measured from tissue samples of sympatric killer whale Orcinus orca lineages from the North Sea, spanning over 10 000 years. Isotopic ratios spanned a range similar to the difference in isotopic values of two known prey items, herring Clupea harengus and harbour seal Phoca vitulina. Two proxies of the stage of speciation, lineage sorting of mitogenomes and genotypic clustering, were both weak to intermediate indicating that speciation has made little progress. Thus, our study confirms that even with the necessary ecological conditions, i.e. among-individual variation in ecology, it is difficult for sympatric speciation to progress in the face of gene flow. In contrast to some theoretical models, our empirical results suggest that sympatric speciation driven by among-individual differences in ecological niche is a slow process and may not reach completion. We argue that sympatric speciation is constrained in this system owing to the plastic nature of the behavioural traits under selection when hunting either mammals or fish. PMID:23945688

  5. Target distance-dependent variation of hearing sensitivity during echolocation in a false killer whale.

    PubMed

    Supin, Alexander Ya; Nachtigall, Paul E; Breese, Marlee

    2010-06-01

    Evidence of varying hearing sensitivity according to the target distance was obtained in a false killer whale Pseudorca crassidens during echolocation. Auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) triggered by echolocation clicks were recorded. The target distance varied from 1 to 6 m. The records contained AEPs to the self-heard emitted click and AEPs to the echoes. Mean level of echolocation clicks depended on distance (the longer the distance, the higher the click level), however, the effect of click level on AEP amplitude was eliminated by extracting AEPs to clicks of certain particular levels. The amplitude of the echo-provoked AEP was almost independent of distance, however, the amplitude of the AEP to the emitted click, did depend on distance within a range from 1 to 4 m: the longer the distance, the higher the amplitude. The latter result is interpreted as confirmational evidence that the animal is capable of varying hearing sensitivity according to target distance. The variation of hearing sensitivity may help to compensate for the echo attenuation with distance; as a secondary effect, this variation manifested itself in a variation of the amplitude of the AEP to emitted clicks. PMID:20550281

  6. Behavioral and auditory evoked potential audiograms of a false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens).

    PubMed

    Yuen, Michelle M L; Nachtigall, Paul E; Breese, Marlee; Supin, Alexander Ya

    2005-10-01

    Behavioral and auditory evoked potential (AEP) audiograms of a false killer whale were measured using the same subject and experimental conditions. The objective was to compare and assess the correspondence of auditory thresholds collected by behavioral and electrophysiological techniques. Behavioral audiograms used 3-s pure-tone stimuli from 4 to 45 kHz, and were conducted with a go/no-go modified staircase procedure. AEP audiograms used 20-ms sinusoidally amplitude-modulated tone bursts from 4 to 45 kHz, and the electrophysiological responses were received through gold disc electrodes in rubber suction cups. The behavioral data were reliable and repeatable, with the region of best sensitivity between 16 and 24 kHz and peak sensitivity at 20 kHz. The AEP audiograms produced thresholds that were also consistent over time, with range of best sensitivity from 16 to 22.5 kHz and peak sensitivity at 22.5 kHz. Behavioral thresholds were always lower than AEP thresholds. However, AEP audiograms were completed in a shorter amount of time with minimum participation from the animal. These data indicated that behavioral and AEP techniques can be used successfully and interchangeably to measure cetacean hearing sensitivity. PMID:16266188

  7. Behavioral and auditory evoked potential audiograms of a false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yuen, Michelle M. L.; Nachtigall, Paul E.; Breese, Marlee; Supin, Alexander Ya.

    2005-10-01

    Behavioral and auditory evoked potential (AEP) audiograms of a false killer whale were measured using the same subject and experimental conditions. The objective was to compare and assess the correspondence of auditory thresholds collected by behavioral and electrophysiological techniques. Behavioral audiograms used 3-s pure-tone stimuli from 4 to 45 kHz, and were conducted with a go/no-go modified staircase procedure. AEP audiograms used 20-ms sinusoidally amplitude-modulated tone bursts from 4 to 45 kHz, and the electrophysiological responses were received through gold disc electrodes in rubber suction cups. The behavioral data were reliable and repeatable, with the region of best sensitivity between 16 and 24 kHz and peak sensitivity at 20 kHz. The AEP audiograms produced thresholds that were also consistent over time, with range of best sensitivity from 16 to 22.5 kHz and peak sensitivity at 22.5 kHz. Behavioral thresholds were always lower than AEP thresholds. However, AEP audiograms were completed in a shorter amount of time with minimum participation from the animal. These data indicated that behavioral and AEP techniques can be used successfully and interchangeably to measure cetacean hearing sensitivity.

  8. An integrated approach to historical population assessment of the great whales: case of the New Zealand southern right whale.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Jennifer A; Carroll, Emma L; Smith, Tim D; Zerbini, Alexandre N; Patenaude, Nathalie J; Baker, C Scott

    2016-03-01

    Accurate estimation of historical abundance provides an essential baseline for judging the recovery of the great whales. This is particularly challenging for whales hunted prior to twentieth century modern whaling, as population-level catch records are often incomplete. Assessments of whale recovery using pre-modern exploitation indices are therefore rare, despite the intensive, global nature of nineteenth century whaling. Right whales (Eubalaena spp.) were particularly exploited: slow swimmers with strong fidelity to sheltered calving bays, the species made predictable and easy targets. Here, we present the first integrated population-level assessment of the whaling impact and pre-exploitation abundance of a right whale, the New Zealand southern right whale (E. australis). In this assessment, we use a Bayesian population dynamics model integrating multiple data sources: nineteenth century catches, genetic constraints on bottleneck size and individual sightings histories informing abundance and trend. Different catch allocation scenarios are explored to account for uncertainty in the population's offshore distribution. From a pre-exploitation abundance of 28 800-47 100 whales, nineteenth century hunting reduced the population to approximately 30-40 mature females between 1914 and 1926. Today, it stands at less than 12% of pre-exploitation abundance. Despite the challenges of reconstructing historical catches and population boundaries, conservation efforts of historically exploited species benefit from targets for ecological restoration. PMID:27069657

  9. An integrated approach to historical population assessment of the great whales: case of the New Zealand southern right whale

    PubMed Central

    Jackson, Jennifer A.; Carroll, Emma L.; Smith, Tim D.; Zerbini, Alexandre N.; Patenaude, Nathalie J.; Baker, C. Scott

    2016-01-01

    Accurate estimation of historical abundance provides an essential baseline for judging the recovery of the great whales. This is particularly challenging for whales hunted prior to twentieth century modern whaling, as population-level catch records are often incomplete. Assessments of whale recovery using pre-modern exploitation indices are therefore rare, despite the intensive, global nature of nineteenth century whaling. Right whales (Eubalaena spp.) were particularly exploited: slow swimmers with strong fidelity to sheltered calving bays, the species made predictable and easy targets. Here, we present the first integrated population-level assessment of the whaling impact and pre-exploitation abundance of a right whale, the New Zealand southern right whale (E. australis). In this assessment, we use a Bayesian population dynamics model integrating multiple data sources: nineteenth century catches, genetic constraints on bottleneck size and individual sightings histories informing abundance and trend. Different catch allocation scenarios are explored to account for uncertainty in the population's offshore distribution. From a pre-exploitation abundance of 28 800–47 100 whales, nineteenth century hunting reduced the population to approximately 30–40 mature females between 1914 and 1926. Today, it stands at less than 12% of pre-exploitation abundance. Despite the challenges of reconstructing historical catches and population boundaries, conservation efforts of historically exploited species benefit from targets for ecological restoration. PMID:27069657

  10. Retrospective characterization of ontogenetic shifts in killer whale diets via δ13C and δ15N analysis of teeth

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Newsome, Seth D.; Etnier, Michael A.; Monson, Daniel H.; Fogel, Marilyn L.

    2009-01-01

    Metabolically inert, accretionary structures such as the dentin growth layers in teeth provide a life history record of individual diet with near-annual resolution. We constructed ontogenetic δ13C and δ15N profiles by analyzing tooth dentin growth layers from 13 individual killer whales Orcinus orca collected in the eastern northeast Pacific Ocean between 1961 and 2003. The individuals sampled were 6 to 52 yr old, representing 2 ecotypes—resident and transient—collected across ~25° of latitude. The average isotopic values of transient individuals (n = 10) are consistent with a reliance on mammalian prey, while the average isotopic values of residents (n = 3) are consistent with piscivory. Regardless of ecotype, most individuals show a decrease in δ15N values of ~2.5‰ through the first 3 yr of life, roughly equivalent to a decrease of one trophic level. We interpret this as evidence of gradual weaning, after which, ontogenetic shifts in isotopic values are highly variable. A few individuals (n = 2) maintained relatively stable δ15N and δ13C values throughout the remainder of their lives, whereas δ15N values of most (n = 11) increased by ~1.5‰, suggestive of an ontogenetic increase in trophic level. Significant differences in mean δ13C and δ15N values among transients collected off California suggest that individuality in prey preferences may be prevalent within this ecotype. Our approach provides retrospective individual life history and dietary information that cannot be obtained through traditional field observations of free-ranging and elusive species such as killer whales, including unique historic ecological information that pre-dates modern studies. By providing insights into individual diet composition, stable isotope analysis of teeth and/or bones may be the only means of evaluating a number of hypothesized historical dietary shifts in killer whales of the northeast Pacific Ocean

  11. Retrospective characterization of ontogenetic shifts in killer whale diets via δ13C and δ15N analysis of teeth

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Newsome, Seth D.; Etnier, Michael A.; Monson, Daniel H.; Fogel, Marilyn L.

    2009-01-01

    Metabolically inert, accretionary structures such as the dentin growth layers in teeth provide a life history record of individual diet with near-annual resolution. We constructed ontogenetic ??13C and ??15N profiles by analyzing tooth dentin growth layers from 13 individual killer whales Orcinus orca collected in the eastern northeast Pacific Ocean between 1961 and 2003. The individuals sampled were 6 to 52 yr old, representing 2 ecotypes-resident and transient - collected across ???25?? of latitude. The average isotopic values of transient individuals (n = 10) are consistent with a reliance on mammalian prey, while the average isotopic values of residents (n = 3) are consistent with piscivory. Regardless of ecotype, most individuals show a decrease in ??15N values of ???2.5% through the first 3 yr of life, roughly equivalent to a decrease of one trophic level. We interpret this as evidence of gradual weaning, after which, ontogenetic shifts in isotopic values are highly variable. A few individuals (n = 2) maintained relatively stable ??15N and ??13C values throughout the remainder of their lives, whereas ??15N values of most (n = 11) increased by ???1.5%, suggestive of an ontogenetic increase in trophic level. Significant differences in mean ??13C and ??15N values among transients collected off California suggest that individuality in prey preferences may be prevalent within this ecotype. Our approach provides retrospective individual life history and dietary information that cannot be obtained through traditional field observations of free-ranging and elusive species such as killer whales, including unique historic ecological information that pre-dates modern studies. By providing insights into individual diet composition, stable isotope analysis of teeth and/or bones may be the only means of evaluating a number of hypothesized historical dietary shifts in killer whales of the northeast Pacific Ocean. ?? Inter-Research 2009.

  12. Pre-Whaling Genetic Diversity and Population Ecology in Eastern Pacific Gray Whales: Insights from Ancient DNA and Stable Isotopes

    PubMed Central

    Alter, S. Elizabeth; Newsome, Seth D.; Palumbi, Stephen R.

    2012-01-01

    Commercial whaling decimated many whale populations, including the eastern Pacific gray whale, but little is known about how population dynamics or ecology differed prior to these removals. Of particular interest is the possibility of a large population decline prior to whaling, as such a decline could explain the ∼5-fold difference between genetic estimates of prior abundance and estimates based on historical records. We analyzed genetic (mitochondrial control region) and isotopic information from modern and prehistoric gray whales using serial coalescent simulations and Bayesian skyline analyses to test for a pre-whaling decline and to examine prehistoric genetic diversity, population dynamics and ecology. Simulations demonstrate that significant genetic differences observed between ancient and modern samples could be caused by a large, recent population bottleneck, roughly concurrent with commercial whaling. Stable isotopes show minimal differences between modern and ancient gray whale foraging ecology. Using rejection-based Approximate Bayesian Computation, we estimate the size of the population bottleneck at its minimum abundance and the pre-bottleneck abundance. Our results agree with previous genetic studies suggesting the historical size of the eastern gray whale population was roughly three to five times its current size. PMID:22590499

  13. Shifting Gravel and the Acoustic Detection Range of Killer Whale Calls

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bassett, C.; Thomson, J. M.; Polagye, B. L.; Wood, J.

    2012-12-01

    In environments suitable for tidal energy development, strong currents result in large bed stresses that mobilize sediments, producing sediment-generated noise. Sediment-generated noise caused by mobilization events can exceed noise levels attributed to other ambient noise sources at frequencies related to the diameters of the mobilized grains. At a site in Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound, Washington, one year of ambient noise data (0.02 - 30 kHz) and current velocity data are combined. Peak currents at the site exceed 3.5 m/s. During slack currents, vessel traffic is the dominant noise source. When currents exceed 0.85 m/s noise level increases between 2 kHz and 30 kHz are correlated with near-bed currents and bed stress estimates. Acoustic spectrum levels during strong currents exceed quiescent slack tide conditions by 20 dB or more between 2 and 30 kHz. These frequencies are consistent with sound generated by the mobilization of gravel and pebbles. To investigate the implications of sediment-generated noise for post-installation passive acoustic monitoring of a planned tidal energy project, ambient noise conditions during slack currents and strong currents are combined with the characteristics of Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca) vocalizations and sound propagation modeling. The reduction in detection range is estimated for common vocalizations under different ambient noise conditions. The importance of sediment-generated noise for passive acoustic monitoring at tidal energy sites for different marine mammal functional hearing groups and other sediment compositions are considered.

  14. Estimation of a Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Population’s Diet Using Sequencing Analysis of DNA from Feces

    PubMed Central

    Ford, Michael J.; Hempelmann, Jennifer; Hanson, M. Bradley; Ayres, Katherine L.; Baird, Robin W.; Emmons, Candice K.; Lundin, Jessica I.; Schorr, Gregory S.; Wasser, Samuel K.; Park, Linda K.

    2016-01-01

    Estimating diet composition is important for understanding interactions between predators and prey and thus illuminating ecosystem function. The diet of many species, however, is difficult to observe directly. Genetic analysis of fecal material collected in the field is therefore a useful tool for gaining insight into wild animal diets. In this study, we used high-throughput DNA sequencing to quantitatively estimate the diet composition of an endangered population of wild killer whales (Orcinus orca) in their summer range in the Salish Sea. We combined 175 fecal samples collected between May and September from five years between 2006 and 2011 into 13 sample groups. Two known DNA composition control groups were also created. Each group was sequenced at a ~330bp segment of the 16s gene in the mitochondrial genome using an Illumina MiSeq sequencing system. After several quality controls steps, 4,987,107 individual sequences were aligned to a custom sequence database containing 19 potential fish prey species and the most likely species of each fecal-derived sequence was determined. Based on these alignments, salmonids made up >98.6% of the total sequences and thus of the inferred diet. Of the six salmonid species, Chinook salmon made up 79.5% of the sequences, followed by coho salmon (15%). Over all years, a clear pattern emerged with Chinook salmon dominating the estimated diet early in the summer, and coho salmon contributing an average of >40% of the diet in late summer. Sockeye salmon appeared to be occasionally important, at >18% in some sample groups. Non-salmonids were rarely observed. Our results are consistent with earlier results based on surface prey remains, and confirm the importance of Chinook salmon in this population’s summer diet. PMID:26735849

  15. The world's most isolated and distinct whale population? Humpback whales of the Arabian Sea.

    PubMed

    Pomilla, Cristina; Amaral, Ana R; Collins, Tim; Minton, Gianna; Findlay, Ken; Leslie, Matthew S; Ponnampalam, Louisa; Baldwin, Robert; Rosenbaum, Howard

    2014-01-01

    A clear understanding of population structure is essential for assessing conservation status and implementing management strategies. A small, non-migratory population of humpback whales in the Arabian Sea is classified as "Endangered" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, an assessment constrained by a lack of data, including limited understanding of its relationship to other populations. We analysed 11 microsatellite markers and mitochondrial DNA sequences extracted from 67 Arabian Sea humpback whale tissue samples and compared them to equivalent datasets from the Southern Hemisphere and North Pacific. Results show that the Arabian Sea population is highly distinct; estimates of gene flow and divergence times suggest a Southern Indian Ocean origin but indicate that it has been isolated for approximately 70,000 years, remarkable for a species that is typically highly migratory. Genetic diversity values are significantly lower than those obtained for Southern Hemisphere populations and signatures of ancient and recent genetic bottlenecks were identified. Our findings suggest this is the world's most isolated humpback whale population, which, when combined with low population abundance estimates and anthropogenic threats, raises concern for its survival. We recommend an amendment of the status of the population to "Critically Endangered" on the IUCN Red List. PMID:25470144

  16. The World's Most Isolated and Distinct Whale Population? Humpback Whales of the Arabian Sea

    PubMed Central

    Collins, Tim; Minton, Gianna; Findlay, Ken; Leslie, Matthew S.; Ponnampalam, Louisa; Baldwin, Robert; Rosenbaum, Howard

    2014-01-01

    A clear understanding of population structure is essential for assessing conservation status and implementing management strategies. A small, non-migratory population of humpback whales in the Arabian Sea is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, an assessment constrained by a lack of data, including limited understanding of its relationship to other populations. We analysed 11 microsatellite markers and mitochondrial DNA sequences extracted from 67 Arabian Sea humpback whale tissue samples and compared them to equivalent datasets from the Southern Hemisphere and North Pacific. Results show that the Arabian Sea population is highly distinct; estimates of gene flow and divergence times suggest a Southern Indian Ocean origin but indicate that it has been isolated for approximately 70,000 years, remarkable for a species that is typically highly migratory. Genetic diversity values are significantly lower than those obtained for Southern Hemisphere populations and signatures of ancient and recent genetic bottlenecks were identified. Our findings suggest this is the world's most isolated humpback whale population, which, when combined with low population abundance estimates and anthropogenic threats, raises concern for its survival. We recommend an amendment of the status of the population to “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. PMID:25470144

  17. In vitro sperm characterization and development of a sperm cryopreservation method using directional solidification in the killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Robeck, T R; Gearhart, S A; Steinman, K J; Katsumata, E; Loureiro, J D; O'Brien, J K

    2011-07-15

    Research was conducted to characterize seminal traits and to develop a sperm cryopreservation method using directional freezing (DF) for the killer whale (Orcinus orca). Experiments evaluated effects of: (i) freezing rate (SLOW, MED, FAST) by diluent (BF5F, Biladyl®, EYC) in 0.5 mL straws; and (ii) freezing method (straw or DF) by glycerol (3, 6, or 9% final concentration, v:v) on in vitro sperm quality. Fresh ejaculates (n = 161) were (mean ± SD) 7.8 ± 7.4 mL at 740 × 10(6) sperm/mL with 92.2 ± 6.3% total motility (TM), 85.4 ± 6.9% progressive motility (PM), 89.6 ± 9.0% viability and 89.8 ± 9.2% acrosome integrity. Samples frozen using straws by the MED or SLOW method were improved (P < 0.05) over FAST across all diluents. At 3 h post thaw (PT), TM, PM, Rapid motility (RM), VAP, VCL, ALH and viability for 3% and 6% glycerol were improved (P < 0.05) over 9% glycerol. Directional freezing samples at 0 h and 3 h PT, at all glycerol concentrations, displayed higher (P < 0.001) TM, PM, RM, VAP, VSL, VCL and viability /intact acrosomes (PI/FITC-PNA) than straw. These data provided the first information on ejaculate characteristics and the development of a semen cryopreservation method using DF in the killer whale. PMID:21496896

  18. Out of the Pacific and Back Again: Insights into the Matrilineal History of Pacific Killer Whale Ecotypes

    PubMed Central

    Foote, Andrew D.; Morin, Phillip A.; Durban, John W.; Willerslev, Eske; Orlando, Ludovic; Gilbert, M. Thomas P.

    2011-01-01

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are the most widely distributed marine mammals and have radiated to occupy a range of ecological niches. Disparate sympatric types are found in the North Atlantic, Antarctic and North Pacific oceans, however, little is known about the underlying mechanisms driving divergence. Previous phylogeographic analysis using complete mitogenomes yielded a bifurcating tree of clades corresponding to described ecotypes. However, there was low support at two nodes at which two Pacific and two Atlantic clades diverged. Here we apply further phylogenetic and coalescent analyses to partitioned mitochondrial genome sequences to better resolve the pattern of past radiations in this species. Our phylogenetic reconstructions indicate that in the North Pacific, sympatry between the maternal lineages that make up each ecotype arises from secondary contact. Both the phylogenetic reconstructions and a clinal decrease in diversity suggest a North Pacific to North Atlantic founding event, and the later return of killer whales to the North Pacific. Therefore, ecological divergence could have occurred during the allopatric phase through drift or selection and/or may have either commenced or have been consolidated upon secondary contact due to resource competition. The estimated timing of bidirectional migration between the North Pacific and North Atlantic coincided with the previous inter-glacial when the leakage of fauna from the Indo-Pacific into the Atlantic via the Agulhas current was particularly vigorous. PMID:21949818

  19. Out of the Pacific and back again: insights into the matrilineal history of Pacific killer whale ecotypes.

    PubMed

    Foote, Andrew D; Morin, Phillip A; Durban, John W; Willerslev, Eske; Orlando, Ludovic; Gilbert, M Thomas P

    2011-01-01

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are the most widely distributed marine mammals and have radiated to occupy a range of ecological niches. Disparate sympatric types are found in the North Atlantic, Antarctic and North Pacific oceans, however, little is known about the underlying mechanisms driving divergence. Previous phylogeographic analysis using complete mitogenomes yielded a bifurcating tree of clades corresponding to described ecotypes. However, there was low support at two nodes at which two Pacific and two Atlantic clades diverged. Here we apply further phylogenetic and coalescent analyses to partitioned mitochondrial genome sequences to better resolve the pattern of past radiations in this species. Our phylogenetic reconstructions indicate that in the North Pacific, sympatry between the maternal lineages that make up each ecotype arises from secondary contact. Both the phylogenetic reconstructions and a clinal decrease in diversity suggest a North Pacific to North Atlantic founding event, and the later return of killer whales to the North Pacific. Therefore, ecological divergence could have occurred during the allopatric phase through drift or selection and/or may have either commenced or have been consolidated upon secondary contact due to resource competition. The estimated timing of bidirectional migration between the North Pacific and North Atlantic coincided with the previous inter-glacial when the leakage of fauna from the Indo-Pacific into the Atlantic via the Agulhas current was particularly vigorous. PMID:21949818

  20. Bioaccumulation and enantiomeric profiling of organochlorine pesticides and persistent organic pollutants in the killer whale (Orcinus orca) from British and Irish waters.

    PubMed

    McHugh, Brendan; Law, Robin J; Allchin, Colin R; Rogan, Emer; Murphy, Sinead; Foley, M Barry; Glynn, Denise; McGovern, Evin

    2007-11-01

    Concentrations and enantiomeric profiles for a range of organochlorine compounds are reported in blubber samples from a number of individual killer whales (Orcinus orca) from British and Irish waters. Elevated contaminant levels and enriched isotopic ratios were determined in one individual whale sampled in the Scottish Western Isles compared to the others suggesting marine mammal based dietary influences. The potential application of isotopic ratios to model contaminant uptake, enantioselective enrichment and accumulation is demonstrated. Data are presented which provide information on enantioselective enrichment factors (EFs) for o,p'-DDT, alpha-HCH and toxaphene congeners CHB26 and CHB 50. This dataset further improves the current database on reported levels of a number of contaminants and provides additional background information on potential metabolic processes in killer whales from British and Irish waters. PMID:17854842

  1. Diurnal and annual changes in serum cortisol concentrations in Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins Tursiops aduncus and killer whales Orcinus orca.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Miwa; Uchida, Senzo; Ueda, Keiichi; Tobayama, Teruo; Katsumata, Etsuko; Yoshioka, Motoi; Aida, Katsumi

    2003-07-01

    Until present, fundamental studies on cortisol secretory patterns have not been conducted in cetaceans. The objectives of this study were: (1) to examine diurnal changes in serum cortisol concentrations in Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins Tursiops aduncus and killer whales Orcinus orca, (2) to investigate annual cortisol changes in killer whales, and (3) to investigate the relationship between cortisol and sex steroids (testosterone and progesterone) concentrations in killer whales. Diurnal changes in serum cortisol concentrations were investigated at various intervals in the two species. In Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, serum cortisol levels exhibited the same episodic fluctuations for 24 h as did diurnal terrestrial mammals: cortisol levels were lower at 18:00 h and higher in the early morning. In killer whales, cortisol concentrations continued to decrease until 18:00 h, after which they fluctuated, and then increased in the next morning. Annual changes in cortisol levels were investigated by collecting blood samples every two weeks from two male killer whales and a pregnant female one twice per day (during 09:00-10:00 and 16:00-17:00 h) throughout a one-year period. Regarding sera collected during 09:00-10:00 h from the female, cortisol concentrations showed cyclic changes having about 4-month intervals. In males, cortisol showed higher concentrations in winter and lower concentrations during the summer season. There was a negative correlation between cortisol and progesterone levels in the female and a negative correlation was also observed between cortisol and testosterone in male no. 2. In the female and male no. 1, cortisol levels during 09:00-10:00 h were significantly higher than those during 16:00-17:00 h, and their data are considered to support observations regarding diurnal changes in cortisol levels in the two cetacean species. PMID:12849966

  2. Towards population-level conservation in the critically endangered Antarctic blue whale: the number and distribution of their populations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Attard, Catherine R. M.; Beheregaray, Luciano B.; Möller, Luciana M.

    2016-03-01

    Population-level conservation is required to prevent biodiversity loss within a species, but it first necessitates determining the number and distribution of populations. Many whale populations are still depleted due to 20th century whaling. Whales are one of the most logistically difficult and expensive animals to study because of their mobility, pelagic lifestyle and often remote habitat. We tackle the question of population structure in the Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) – a critically endangered subspecies and the largest extant animal – by capitalizing on the largest genetic dataset to date for Antarctic blue whales. We found evidence of three populations that are sympatric in the Antarctic feeding grounds and likely occupy separate breeding grounds. Our study adds to knowledge of population structure in the Antarctic blue whale. Future research should invest in locating the breeding grounds and migratory routes of Antarctic blue whales through satellite telemetry to confirm their population structure and allow population-level conservation.

  3. Towards population-level conservation in the critically endangered Antarctic blue whale: the number and distribution of their populations.

    PubMed

    Attard, Catherine R M; Beheregaray, Luciano B; Möller, Luciana M

    2016-01-01

    Population-level conservation is required to prevent biodiversity loss within a species, but it first necessitates determining the number and distribution of populations. Many whale populations are still depleted due to 20th century whaling. Whales are one of the most logistically difficult and expensive animals to study because of their mobility, pelagic lifestyle and often remote habitat. We tackle the question of population structure in the Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) - a critically endangered subspecies and the largest extant animal - by capitalizing on the largest genetic dataset to date for Antarctic blue whales. We found evidence of three populations that are sympatric in the Antarctic feeding grounds and likely occupy separate breeding grounds. Our study adds to knowledge of population structure in the Antarctic blue whale. Future research should invest in locating the breeding grounds and migratory routes of Antarctic blue whales through satellite telemetry to confirm their population structure and allow population-level conservation. PMID:26951747

  4. Towards population-level conservation in the critically endangered Antarctic blue whale: the number and distribution of their populations

    PubMed Central

    Attard, Catherine R. M.; Beheregaray, Luciano B.; Möller, Luciana M.

    2016-01-01

    Population-level conservation is required to prevent biodiversity loss within a species, but it first necessitates determining the number and distribution of populations. Many whale populations are still depleted due to 20th century whaling. Whales are one of the most logistically difficult and expensive animals to study because of their mobility, pelagic lifestyle and often remote habitat. We tackle the question of population structure in the Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) – a critically endangered subspecies and the largest extant animal – by capitalizing on the largest genetic dataset to date for Antarctic blue whales. We found evidence of three populations that are sympatric in the Antarctic feeding grounds and likely occupy separate breeding grounds. Our study adds to knowledge of population structure in the Antarctic blue whale. Future research should invest in locating the breeding grounds and migratory routes of Antarctic blue whales through satellite telemetry to confirm their population structure and allow population-level conservation. PMID:26951747

  5. Variation in the emission rate of sounds in a captive group of false killer whales Pseudorca crassidens during feedings: possible food anticipatory vocal activity?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Platto, Sara; Wang, Ding; Wang, Kexiong

    2015-11-01

    This study examines whether a group of captive false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens ) showed variations in the vocal rate around feeding times. The high level of motivation to express appetitive behaviors in captive animals may lead them to respond with changes of the behavioral activities during the time prior to food deliveries which are referred to as food anticipatory activity. False killer whales at Qingdao Polar Ocean World (Qingdao, China) showed significant variations of the rates of both the total sounds and sound classes (whistles, clicks, and burst pulses) around feedings. Precisely, from the Transition interval that recorded the lowest vocalization rate (3.40 s/m/d), the whales increased their acoustic emissions upon trainers' arrival (13.08 s/m/d). The high rate was maintained or intensified throughout the food delivery (25.12 s/m/d), and then reduced immediately after the animals were fed (9.91 s/m/d). These changes in the false killer whales sound production rates around feeding times supports the hypothesis of the presence of a food anticipatory vocal activity. Although sound rates may not give detailed information regarding referential aspects of the animal communication it might still shed light about the arousal levels of the individuals during different social or environmental conditions. Further experiments should be performed to assess if variations of the time of feeding routines may affect the vocal activity of cetaceans in captivity as well as their welfare.

  6. Linking the occurrence of cutaneous opportunistic fungal invaders with elemental concentrations in false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) skin.

    PubMed

    Mouton, Marnel; Przybylowicz, Wojciech; Mesjasz-Przybylowicz, Jolanta; Postma, Ferdinand; Thornton, Meredith; Archer, Edward; Botha, Alfred

    2015-10-01

    Cetaceans, occupying the top levels in marine food chains, are vulnerable to elevated levels of potentially toxic trace elements, such as aluminium (Al), mercury (Hg) and nickel (Ni). Negative effects associated with these toxic metals include infection by opportunistic microbial invaders. To corroborate the link between the presence of cutaneous fungal invaders and trace element levels, skin samples from 40 stranded false killer whales (FKWs) were analysed using culture techniques and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectroscopy. Twenty-two skin samples yielded 18 clinically relevant fungal species. While evidence for bioaccumulation of Hg in the skin of the FKWs was observed, a strong link was found to exist between the occurrence of opportunistic fungal invaders and higher Al : Se and Al : Zn ratios. This study provides indications that elevated levels of some toxic metals, such as Al, contribute to immunotoxicity rendering FKWs susceptible to colonization by cutaneous opportunistic fungal invaders. PMID:26034019

  7. Spectral Tuning of Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Rhodopsin: Evidence for Positive Selection and Functional Adaptation in a Cetacean Visual Pigment.

    PubMed

    Dungan, Sarah Z; Kosyakov, Alexander; Chang, Belinda S W

    2016-02-01

    Cetaceans have undergone a remarkable evolutionary transition that was accompanied by many sensory adaptations, including modification of the visual system for underwater environments. Recent sequencing of cetacean genomes has made it possible to begin exploring the molecular basis of these adaptations. In this study we use in vitro expression methods to experimentally characterize the first step of the visual transduction cascade, the light activation of rhodopsin, for the killer whale. To investigate the spectral effects of amino acid substitutions thought to correspond with absorbance shifts relative to terrestrial mammals, we used the orca gene as a background for the first site-directed mutagenesis experiments in a cetacean rhodopsin. The S292A mutation had the largest effect, and was responsible for the majority of the spectral difference between killer whale and bovine (terrestrial) rhodopsin. Using codon-based likelihood models, we also found significant evidence for positive selection in cetacean rhodopsin sequences, including on spectral tuning sites we experimentally mutated. We then investigated patterns of ecological divergence that may be correlated with rhodopsin functional variation by using a series of clade models that partitioned the data set according to phylogeny, habitat, and foraging depth zone. Only the model partitioning according to depth was significant. This suggests that foraging dives might be a selective regime influencing cetacean rhodopsin divergence, and our experimental results indicate that spectral tuning may be playing an adaptive role in this process. Our study demonstrates that combining computational and experimental methods is crucial for gaining insight into the selection pressures underlying molecular evolution. PMID:26486871

  8. Live CT imaging of sound reception anatomy and hearing measurements in the pygmy killer whale, Feresa attenuata.

    PubMed

    Montie, Eric W; Manire, Charlie A; Mann, David A

    2011-03-15

    In June 2008, two pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata) were stranded alive near Boca Grande, FL, USA, and were taken into rehabilitation. We used this opportunity to learn about the peripheral anatomy of the auditory system and hearing sensitivity of these rare toothed whales. Three-dimensional (3-D) reconstructions of head structures from X-ray computed tomography (CT) images revealed mandibles that were hollow, lacked a bony lamina medial to the pan bone and contained mandibular fat bodies that extended caudally and abutted the tympanoperiotic complex. Using auditory evoked potential (AEP) procedures, the modulation rate transfer function was determined. Maximum evoked potential responses occurred at modulation frequencies of 500 and 1000 Hz. The AEP-derived audiograms were U-shaped. The lowest hearing thresholds occurred between 20 and 60 kHz, with the best hearing sensitivity at 40 kHz. The auditory brainstem response (ABR) was composed of seven waves and resembled the ABR of the bottlenose and common dolphins. By changing electrode locations, creating 3-D reconstructions of the brain from CT images and measuring the amplitude of the ABR waves, we provided evidence that the neuroanatomical sources of ABR waves I, IV and VI were the auditory nerve, inferior colliculus and the medial geniculate body, respectively. The combination of AEP testing and CT imaging provided a new synthesis of methods for studying the auditory system of cetaceans. PMID:21346122

  9. From the eye of the albatrosses: a bird-borne camera shows an association between albatrosses and a killer whale in the Southern Ocean.

    PubMed

    Sakamoto, Kentaro Q; Takahashi, Akinori; Iwata, Takashi; Trathan, Philip N

    2009-01-01

    Albatrosses fly many hundreds of kilometers across the open ocean to find and feed upon their prey. Despite the growing number of studies concerning their foraging behaviour, relatively little is known about how albatrosses actually locate their prey. Here, we present our results from the first deployments of a combined animal-borne camera and depth data logger on free-ranging black-browed albatrosses (Thalassarche melanophrys). The still images recorded from these cameras showed that some albatrosses actively followed a killer whale (Orcinus orca), possibly to feed on food scraps left by this diving predator. The camera images together with the depth profiles showed that the birds dived only occasionally, but that they actively dived when other birds or the killer whale were present. This association with diving predators or other birds may partially explain how albatrosses find their prey more efficiently in the apparently 'featureless' ocean, with a minimal requirement for energetically costly diving or landing activities. PMID:19809497

  10. 76 FR 42082 - Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; False Killer Whale Take...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-07-18

    ... of Fisheries (75 FR 68468, November 8, 2010) identifies several other species or stocks of marine... from commercial fishing will have a negligible impact on CNP humpback whales (75 FR 29984, May 28, 2010... January 19, 2010 (75 FR 2853), and selected team members according to guidance provided in MMPA...

  11. Gastrointestinal parasites and prey items from a mass stranding of false killer whales, Pseudorca crassidens, in Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Andrade, A L; Pinedo, M C; Barreto, A S

    2001-02-01

    The gastrointestinal tract of 14 false killer whales, 6 males and 8 females, stranded in June 1995 in southern Brazil, with total standard lengths from 338 to 507 cm, were analysed for endoparasites and food items. A pregnant female had a male foetus of 77.5 cm. Parasites were found in all 14 false killer whales. The nematode Anisakis simplex (Rudolphi, 1809) was found in the stomach of 57% of the animals and the acanthocephalan Bolbosoma capitatum (Linstow, 1889) Porta, 1908 was present in the intestine of all specimens and showed densities up to 600 m-1. An unidentified cestode (Tethrabothridae) was found also in the intestines of 14% of the individuals. The high infections of B. capitatum and A. simplex were not directly related with the cause of death. In the stomachs of four females, beaks of at least eight specimens of the oceanic and epipelagic species Ommastrephes bartramii (Lesueur, 1821) were found, with mantle lengths ranging from 189.8 to 360.9 mm. The distribution of O. bartramii in the coast of Rio Grande do Sul is consistent with false killer whales feeding in continental shelf waters. PMID:11340462

  12. Behavioral responses of herring (Clupea harengus) to 1-2 and 6-7 kHz sonar signals and killer whale feeding sounds.

    PubMed

    Doksaeter, Lise; Rune Godo, Olav; Olav Handegard, Nils; Kvadsheim, Petter H; Lam, Frans-Peter A; Donovan, Carl; Miller, Patrick J O

    2009-01-01

    Military antisubmarine sonars produce intense sounds within the hearing range of most clupeid fish. The behavioral reactions of overwintering herring (Clupea harengus) to sonar signals of two different frequency ranges (1-2 and 6-7 kHz), and to playback of killer whale feeding sounds, were tested in controlled exposure experiments in Vestfjorden, Norway, November 2006. The behavior of free ranging herring was monitored by two upward-looking echosounders. A vessel towing an operational naval sonar source approached and passed over one of them in a block design setup. No significant escape reactions, either vertically or horizontally, were detected in response to sonar transmissions. Killer whale feeding sounds induced vertical and horizontal movements of herring. The results indicate that neither transmission of 1-2 kHz nor 6-7 kHz have significant negative influence on herring on the received sound pressure level tested (127-197 and 139-209 dB(rms) re 1 microPa, respectively). Military sonars of such frequencies and source levels may thus be operated in areas of overwintering herring without substantially affecting herring behavior or herring fishery. The avoidance during playback of killer whale sounds demonstrates the nature of an avoidance reaction and the ability of the experimental design to reveal it. PMID:19173441

  13. Worldwide structure of mtDNA diversity among Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris): implications for threatened populations.

    PubMed

    Dalebout, Merel L; Robertson, Kelly M; Frantzis, Alexandros; Engelhaupt, Dan; Mignucci-Giannoni, Antonio A; Rosario-Delestre, Raul J; Baker, C Scott

    2005-10-01

    We present the first description of phylogeographic structure among Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) worldwide using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences obtained from strandings (n = 70), incidental fisheries takes (n = 11), biopsy (n = 1), and whale-meat markets (n = 5). Over a 290-base pair fragment, 23 variable sites defined 33 unique haplotypes among the total of 87 samples. Nucleotide diversity at the control region was relatively low (pi = 1.27%+/- 0.723%) compared to wide-ranging baleen whales, but higher than strongly matrifocal sperm, pilot and killer whales. Phylogenetic reconstruction using maximum likelihood revealed four distinct haplotype groups, each of which displayed strong frequency differences among ocean basins, but no reciprocal monophyly or fixed character differences. Consistent with this phylogeographic pattern, an analysis of molecular variance showed high levels of differentiation among ocean basins (F(ST) = 0.14, Phi ST = 0.42; P < 0.001). Estimated rates of female migration among ocean basins were low (generally < or = 2 individuals per generation). Regional sample sizes were too small to detect subdivisions within oceans except in the North Atlantic, where the Mediterranean Sea (n = 12) was highly differentiated due to the presence of two private haplotypes. One market product purchased in South Korea grouped with other haplotypes found only in the North Atlantic, suggesting a violation of current agreements banning international trade in cetacean species. Together, these results demonstrate a high degree of isolation and low maternal gene flow among oceanic, and in some cases, regional populations of Cuvier's beaked whales. This has important implications for understanding the threats of human impact, including fisheries by-catch, direct hunting, and disturbance or mortality from anthropogenic sound. PMID:16156808

  14. Crassicaudosis: a parasitic disease threatening the health and population recovery of large baleen whales.

    PubMed

    Lambertsen, R H

    1992-12-01

    This communication briefly reviews knowledge of the systemic disease caused by Crassicauda boopis in blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), fin whales (B. physalus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Infections with this giant nematode characteristically incite a chronic inflammatory reaction of the blood vessels which drain the kidneys. In this critical location, the parasite-induced lesion can cause complete vascular occlusion and kidney failure. Whale calves and juveniles typically suffer the heaviest parasite burdens following transplacental infection of the developing whale foetus. There is also probable whale-to-whale transmission post-partum, involving urinary contamination of the environment with C. boopis eggs and larvae. The frequency of the infection can exceed 95%. Haematological findings suggest that systemic pathological effects are typical at the population level. Gradual development of occlusive lesions in the renal veins appears to correlate with a major peak in natural mortality at about one year of age. To date, all findings support the conclusion that premature death caused by C. boopis infection is potentially a major impediment to population recovery of affected whale species. This suggests the interesting possibility of actively encouraging the population recovery of three species of large baleen whales. Such a restoration effort would entail remotely-deployed anthelminthic therapy administered, at sea, to infected whale cows and calves. PMID:1305859

  15. Blue whale population structure along the eastern South Pacific Ocean: evidence of more than one population.

    PubMed

    Torres-Florez, J P; Hucke-Gaete, R; LeDuc, R; Lang, A; Taylor, B; Pimper, L E; Bedriñana-Romano, L; Rosenbaum, H C; Figueroa, C C

    2014-12-01

    Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) were among the most intensively exploited species of whales in the world. As a consequence of this intense exploitation, blue whale sightings off the coast of Chile were uncommon by the end of the 20th century. In 2004, a feeding and nursing ground was reported in southern Chile (SCh). With the aim to investigate the genetic identity and relationship of these Chilean blue whales to those in other Southern Hemisphere areas, 60 biopsy samples were collected from blue whales in SCh between 2003 and 2009. These samples were genotyped at seven microsatellite loci and the mitochondrial control region was sequenced, allowing us to identify 52 individuals. To investigate the genetic identity of this suspected remnant population, we compared these 52 individuals to blue whales from Antarctica (ANT, n = 96), Northern Chile (NCh, n = 19) and the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP, n = 31). No significant differentiation in haplotype frequencies (mtDNA) or among genotypes (nDNA) was found between SCh, NCh and ETP, while significant differences were found between those three areas and Antarctica for both the mitochondrial and microsatellite analyses. Our results suggest at least two breeding population units or subspecies exist, which is also supported by other lines of evidence such as morphometrics and acoustics. The lack of differences detected between SCh/NCh/ETP areas supports the hypothesis that eastern South Pacific blue whales are using the ETP area as a possible breeding area. Considering the small population sizes previously reported for the SCh area, additional conservation measures and monitoring of this population should be developed and prioritized. PMID:25492593

  16. Invariance of evoked-potential echo-responses to target strength and distance in an echolocating false killer whale.

    PubMed

    Supin, Alexander Ya; Nachtigall, Paul E; Au, Whitlow W L; Breese, Marlee

    2005-06-01

    Brain auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) were recorded in a false killer whale Pseudorca crassidens trained to accept suction-cup EEG electrodes and to detect targets by echolocation. AEP collection was triggered by echolocation pulses transmitted by the animal. The target strength varied from -22 to -40 dB; the distance varied from 1.5 to 6 m. All the records contained two AEP sets: the first one of a constant latency (transmission-related AEP) and a second one with a delay proportional to the distance (echo-related AEP). The amplitude of echo-related AEPs was almost independent of both target strength and distance, though combined variation of these two parameters resulted in echo intensity variation within a range of 42 dB. The amplitude of transmission-related AEPs was independent of distance but dependent on target strength: the less the target strength, the higher the amplitude. Recording of transmitted pulses has not shown their intensity dependence on target strength. It is supposed that the constancy of echo-related AEP results from variation of hearing sensitivity depending on the target strength and release of echo-related responses from masking by transmitted pulses depending on the distance. PMID:16018494

  17. The interaction of outgoing echolocation pulses and echoes in the false killer whale's auditory system: evoked-potential study.

    PubMed

    Supin, Alexander Ya; Nachtigall, Paul E; Au, Whitlow W L; Breese, Marlee

    2004-06-01

    Brain auditory evoked potentials (AEP) associated with echolocation were recorded in a false killer whale Pseudorca crassidens trained to accept suction-cup EEG electrodes and to detect targets by echolocation. AEP collection was triggered by echolocation pulses transmitted by the animal. The target was a hollow aluminum cylinder of strength of -22 dB at a distance from 1 to 8 m. Each AEP record was obtained by averaging more than 1000 individual records. All the records contained two AEP sets: the first one of a constant latency and a second one with a delay proportional to the distance. The timing of these two AEP sets was interpreted as responses to the transmitted echolocation pulse and echo, respectively. The echo-related AEP, although slightly smaller, was comparable to the outgoing click-related AEP in amplitude, even though at a target distance as far as 8 m the echo intensity was as low as -64 dB relative to the transmitted pulse in front of the head. The amplitude of the echo-related AEP was almost independent of distance, even though variation of target distance from 1 to 8 m influenced the echo intensity by as much as 36 dB. PMID:15237846

  18. Interaction of emitted sonar pulses and simulated echoes in a false killer whale: an evoked-potential study.

    PubMed

    Supin, Alexander Ya; Nachtigall, Paul E; Breese, Marlee

    2011-09-01

    Auditory evoked potentials (AEP) were recorded during echolocation in a false killer whale Pseudorca crassidens. An electronically synthesized and played-back (simulated) echo was triggered by an emitted biosonar pulse, and its intensity was proportional to that of the emitted click. The delay and transfer factor of the echo relative to the emitted click was controlled by the operator. The echo delay varied from 2 to 16 ms (by two-fold steps), and the transfer factor varied within ranges from -45 to -30 dB at the 2-ms delay to -60 to -45 dB at the 16-ms delay. Echo-related AEPs featured amplitude dependence both on echo delay at a constant transfer factor (the longer the delay, the higher amplitude) and on echo transfer factor at a constant delay (the higher transfer factor, the higher amplitude). Conjunctional variation of the echo transfer factor and delay kept the AEP amplitude constant when the delay to transfer factor trade was from -7.1 to -8.4 dB per delay doubling. The results confirm the hypothesis that partial forward masking of the echoes by the preceding emitted sonar pulses serves as a time-varying automatic gain control in the auditory system of echolocating odontocetes. PMID:21895108

  19. The interaction of outgoing echolocation pulses and echoes in the false killer whale's auditory system: Evoked-potential study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Supin, Alexander Ya.; Nachtigall, Paul E.; Au, Whitlow W. L.; Breese, Marlee

    2004-06-01

    Brain auditory evoked potentials (AEP) associated with echolocation were recorded in a false killer whale Pseudorca crassidens trained to accept suction-cup EEG electrodes and to detect targets by echolocation. AEP collection was triggered by echolocation pulses transmitted by the animal. The target was a hollow aluminum cylinder of strength of -22 dB at a distance from 1 to 8 m. Each AEP record was obtained by averaging more than 1000 individual records. All the records contained two AEP sets: the first one of a constant latency and a second one with a delay proportional to the distance. The timing of these two AEP sets was interpreted as responses to the transmitted echolocation pulse and echo, respectively. The echo-related AEP, although slightly smaller, was comparable to the outgoing click-related AEP in amplitude, even though at a target distance as far as 8 m the echo intensity was as low as -64 dB relative to the transmitted pulse in front of the head. The amplitude of the echo-related AEP was almost independent of distance, even though variation of target distance from 1 to 8 m influenced the echo intensity by as much as 36 dB.

  20. Invariance of evoked-potential echo-responses to target strength and distance in an echolocating false killer whale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Supin, Alexander Ya.; Nachtigall, Paul E.; Au, Whitlow W. L.; Breese, Marlee

    2005-06-01

    Brain auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) were recorded in a false killer whale Pseudorca crassidens trained to accept suction-cup EEG electrodes and to detect targets by echolocation. AEP collection was triggered by echolocation pulses transmitted by the animal. The target strength varied from -22 to -40 dB the distance varied from 1.5 to 6 m. All the records contained two AEP sets: the first one of a constant latency (transmission-related AEP) and a second one with a delay proportional to the distance (echo-related AEP). The amplitude of echo-related AEPs was almost independent of both target strength and distance, though combined variation of these two parameters resulted in echo intensity variation within a range of 42 dB. The amplitude of transmission-related AEPs was independent of distance but dependent on target strength: the less the target strength, the higher the amplitude. Recording of transmitted pulses has not shown their intensity dependence on target strength. It is supposed that the constancy of echo-related AEP results from variation of hearing sensitivity depending on the target strength and release of echo-related responses from masking by transmitted pulses depending on the distance. .

  1. Baseline studies of health status in north Atlantic Baleen whale populations

    SciTech Connect

    Lambertsen, R.H. )

    1988-09-01

    This study investigated the health status of fin and sei whale populations of the central North Atlantic to establish a baseline for comparison with stranded whales in more heavily contaminated coastal zones. Systematic necropsy examinations were conducted on 150 fin whales and 42 sei whales caught by commercial whalers off the west coast of Iceland. Gas chromatographic measurements showed detectable tissue levels of organochlorine pesticides, but these levels were low, ranging from 0.2 ppb (gamma-BHC) to 1540 ppb (p,p{prime} DDE). Relevant to the comparative evaluation of contaminant effects was the finding that both the fin and sei whale, despite very similar life histories, suffered from a distinct complement of natural disease problems. From the high incidence and contaminative route of transmission of the major parasitic diseases found, it is predicted that population-level health effects, including increments in mortality rate potentially caused by environmental contamination, will increase with population density.

  2. Abundant mitochondrial DNA variation and world-wide population structure in humpback whales.

    PubMed

    Baker, C S; Perry, A; Bannister, J L; Weinrich, M T; Abernethy, R B; Calambokidis, J; Lien, J; Lambertsen, R H; Ramírez, J U; Vasquez, O

    1993-09-01

    Hunting during the last 200 years reduced many populations of mysticete whales to near extinction. To evaluate potential genetic bottlenecks in these exploited populations, we examined mitochondrial DNA control region sequences from 90 individual humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) representing six subpopulations in three ocean basins. Comparisons of relative nucleotide and nucleotype diversity reveal an abundance of genetic variation in all but one of the oceanic subpopulations. Phylogenetic reconstruction of nucleotypes and analysis of maternal gene flow show that current genetic variation is not due to postexploitation migration between oceans but is a relic of past population variability. Calibration of the rate of control region evolution across three families of whales suggests that existing humpback whale lineages are of ancient origin. Preservation of preexploitation variation in humpback whales may be attributed to their long life-span and overlapping generations and to an effective, though perhaps not timely, international prohibition against hunting. PMID:8367488

  3. Satellite Tagging and Biopsy Sampling of Killer Whales at Subantarctic Marion Island: Effectiveness, Immediate Reactions and Long-Term Responses

    PubMed Central

    Reisinger, Ryan R.; Oosthuizen, W. Chris; Péron, Guillaume; Cory Toussaint, Dawn; Andrews, Russel D.; de Bruyn, P. J. Nico

    2014-01-01

    Remote tissue biopsy sampling and satellite tagging are becoming widely used in large marine vertebrate studies because they allow the collection of a diverse suite of otherwise difficult-to-obtain data which are critical in understanding the ecology of these species and to their conservation and management. Researchers must carefully consider their methods not only from an animal welfare perspective, but also to ensure the scientific rigour and validity of their results. We report methods for shore-based, remote biopsy sampling and satellite tagging of killer whales Orcinus orca at Subantarctic Marion Island. The performance of these methods is critically assessed using 1) the attachment duration of low-impact minimally percutaneous satellite tags; 2) the immediate behavioural reactions of animals to biopsy sampling and satellite tagging; 3) the effect of researcher experience on biopsy sampling and satellite tagging; and 4) the mid- (1 month) and long- (24 month) term behavioural consequences. To study mid- and long-term behavioural changes we used multievent capture-recapture models that accommodate imperfect detection and individual heterogeneity. We made 72 biopsy sampling attempts (resulting in 32 tissue samples) and 37 satellite tagging attempts (deploying 19 tags). Biopsy sampling success rates were low (43%), but tagging rates were high with improved tag designs (86%). The improved tags remained attached for 26±14 days (mean ± SD). Individuals most often showed no reaction when attempts missed (66%) and a slight reaction–defined as a slight flinch, slight shake, short acceleration, or immediate dive–when hit (54%). Severe immediate reactions were never observed. Hit or miss and age-sex class were important predictors of the reaction, but the method (tag or biopsy) was unimportant. Multievent trap-dependence modelling revealed considerable variation in individual sighting patterns; however, there were no significant mid- or long-term changes following

  4. The significance of respiration timing in the energetics estimates of free-ranging killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Roos, Marjoleine M H; Wu, Gi-Mick; Miller, Patrick J O

    2016-07-01

    Respiration rate has been used as an indicator of metabolic rate and associated cost of transport (COT) of free-ranging cetaceans, discounting potential respiration-by-respiration variation in O2 uptake. To investigate the influence of respiration timing on O2 uptake, we developed a dynamic model of O2 exchange and storage. Individual respiration events were revealed from kinematic data from 10 adult Norwegian herring-feeding killer whales (Orcinus orca) recorded with high-resolution tags (DTAGs). We compared fixed O2 uptake per respiration models with O2 uptake per respiration estimated through a simple 'broken-stick' O2-uptake function, in which O2 uptake was assumed to be the maximum possible O2 uptake when stores are depleted or maximum total body O2 store minus existing O2 store when stores are close to saturated. In contrast to findings assuming fixed O2 uptake per respiration, uptake from the broken-stick model yielded a high correlation (r(2)>0.9) between O2 uptake and activity level. Moreover, we found that respiration intervals increased and became less variable at higher swimming speeds, possibly to increase O2 uptake efficiency per respiration. As found in previous studies, COT decreased monotonically versus speed using the fixed O2 uptake per respiration models. However, the broken-stick uptake model yielded a curvilinear COT curve with a clear minimum at typical swimming speeds of 1.7-2.4 m s(-1) Our results showed that respiration-by-respiration variation in O2 uptake is expected to be significant. And though O2 consumption measurements of COT for free-ranging cetaceans remain impractical, accounting for the influence of respiration timing on O2 uptake will lead to more consistent predictions of field metabolic rates than using respiration rate alone. PMID:27385756

  5. Satellite tagging and biopsy sampling of killer whales at subantarctic Marion Island: effectiveness, immediate reactions and long-term responses.

    PubMed

    Reisinger, Ryan R; Oosthuizen, W Chris; Péron, Guillaume; Cory Toussaint, Dawn; Andrews, Russel D; de Bruyn, P J Nico

    2014-01-01

    Remote tissue biopsy sampling and satellite tagging are becoming widely used in large marine vertebrate studies because they allow the collection of a diverse suite of otherwise difficult-to-obtain data which are critical in understanding the ecology of these species and to their conservation and management. Researchers must carefully consider their methods not only from an animal welfare perspective, but also to ensure the scientific rigour and validity of their results. We report methods for shore-based, remote biopsy sampling and satellite tagging of killer whales Orcinus orca at Subantarctic Marion Island. The performance of these methods is critically assessed using 1) the attachment duration of low-impact minimally percutaneous satellite tags; 2) the immediate behavioural reactions of animals to biopsy sampling and satellite tagging; 3) the effect of researcher experience on biopsy sampling and satellite tagging; and 4) the mid- (1 month) and long- (24 month) term behavioural consequences. To study mid- and long-term behavioural changes we used multievent capture-recapture models that accommodate imperfect detection and individual heterogeneity. We made 72 biopsy sampling attempts (resulting in 32 tissue samples) and 37 satellite tagging attempts (deploying 19 tags). Biopsy sampling success rates were low (43%), but tagging rates were high with improved tag designs (86%). The improved tags remained attached for 26±14 days (mean ± SD). Individuals most often showed no reaction when attempts missed (66%) and a slight reaction-defined as a slight flinch, slight shake, short acceleration, or immediate dive-when hit (54%). Severe immediate reactions were never observed. Hit or miss and age-sex class were important predictors of the reaction, but the method (tag or biopsy) was unimportant. Multievent trap-dependence modelling revealed considerable variation in individual sighting patterns; however, there were no significant mid- or long-term changes following

  6. Inter-basin movements of Mediterranean sperm whales provide insight into their population structure and conservation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frantzis, A.; Airoldi, S.; Notarbartolo-di-Sciara, G.; Johnson, C.; Mazzariol, S.

    2011-04-01

    The sperm whale is one of the very few deep diving mammal species in the Mediterranean Sea. Following a rare mass stranding of male sperm whales in the Adriatic Sea in December 2009, photo-identification methods were used in order to investigate previous sightings of the stranded whales in the region. Fluke photos of the stranded whales were compared with those of 153 and 128 free-ranging individuals photographed in the western and eastern Mediterranean basins, respectively. Three out of the seven stranded whales had been previously photo-identified and some of them more than once. To reach the stranding place, two of these re-identified whales performed long-range inter-basin movements of about 1600-2100 km (in a straight line) either through the Strait of Sicily or the Strait of Messina. In addition, comparisons among all whales photographed in the two Mediterranean basins revealed that one more individual first photographed in the western basin (1991) was re-identified 13 years later in the eastern basin (2004). These three cases provide the first conclusive evidence of inter-basin movement of sperm whales in the Mediterranean Sea. Inter-basin gene flow is important for the survival of the small and endangered Mediterranean sperm whale population. Mitigating the disturbance created by human activities in the straits area is crucial for its conservation.

  7. Elemental distribution patterns in the skins of false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) from a mass stranding in South Africa, analysed using micro-PIXE

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mouton, M.; Botha, A.; Thornton, M.; Mesjasz-Przybyłowicz, J.; Przybyłowicz, W. J.

    2015-11-01

    Several studies revealed that anthropogenic activities often cause toxic concentrations of some elements, such as mercury, which bio-accumulate through the marine food chain, impacting negatively on the health of animals in the top trophic levels, such as a variety of marine mammals. Moreover, analysis of cetacean skin has been reported to be a reliable, long-term and mostly non-invasive method to monitor bio-accumulation of chemicals in cetacean populations. Several elements, including trace elements, occur naturally in cetacean skin, although nothing is known about their distribution patterns and little about safe base line concentrations. In May 2009, 42 false killer whales (FKWs) beached and died at Kommetjie in the Western Cape of South Africa. Skin samples of these FKWs were collected and analysed to determine elemental distribution patterns. The concentrations and distribution patterns of the major, as well as detectable trace elements were determined in skin samples from ten randomly selected FKW individuals, using micro-PIXE (particle-induced X-ray emission) analysis. Results revealed differences between the distribution patterns of elements in the skin sections. Fe, for example, was found to be concentrated in the dermal papillae, whereas the highest Zn concentrations occurred in the epidermis and particularly in the epidermal papillae. Since these essential elements mediate factors such as host immunity, from skin integrity to humoral immunity, knowledge of their typical distribution patterns can be of great value in studies of bio-accumulation. This is the first report of micro-PIXE being employed to study elemental distribution in cetacean skin and the resulting elemental distribution maps can serve as reference in future environmental pollution studies.

  8. Stable isotopes indicate population structuring in the southwest Atlantic population of right whales (Eubalaena australis).

    PubMed

    Vighi, Morgana; Borrell, Asunción; Crespo, Enrique A; Oliveira, Larissa R; Simões-Lopes, Paulo C; Flores, Paulo A C; García, Néstor A; Aguilar, Alex; Aguilar, Alejandro

    2014-01-01

    From the early 17th century to the 1970s southern right whales, Eubalaena australis, were subject to intense exploitation along the Atlantic coast of South America. Catches along this coast recorded by whalers originally formed a continuum from Brazil to Tierra del Fuego. Nevertheless, the recovery of the population has apparently occurred fragmentarily, and with two main areas of concentration, one off southern Brazil (Santa Catarina) and another off central Argentina (Peninsula Valdés). This pattern suggests some level of heterogeneity amongst the population, which is apparently contradicted by records that traced individuals moving throughout the whole geographical extension covered by the species in the Southwest Atlantic. To test the hypothesis of the potential occurrence of discrete subpopulations exploiting specific habitats, we investigated N, C and O isotopic values in 125 bone samples obtained from whaling factories operating in the early 1970s in southern Brazil (n=72) and from contemporary and more recent strandings occurring in central Argentina (n=53). Results indicated significant differences between the two sampling areas, being δ13C and δ18O values significantly higher in samples from southern Brazil than in those from central Argentina. This variation was consistent with isotopic baselines from the two areas, indicating the occurrence of some level of structure in the Southwest Atlantic right whale population and equally that whales more likely feed in areas commonly thought to exclusively serve as nursing grounds. Results aim at reconsidering of the units currently used in the management of the southern right whale in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean. In the context of the current die-off affecting the species in Peninsula Valdés, these results also highlight the necessity to better understand movements of individuals and precisely identify their feeding areas. PMID:24598539

  9. Stable Isotopes Indicate Population Structuring in the Southwest Atlantic Population of Right Whales (Eubalaena australis)

    PubMed Central

    Vighi, Morgana; Borrell, Asunción; Crespo, Enrique A.; Oliveira, Larissa R.; Simões-Lopes, Paulo C.; Flores, Paulo A. C.; García, Néstor A.; Aguilar, Alejandro

    2014-01-01

    From the early 17th century to the 1970s southern right whales, Eubalaena australis, were subject to intense exploitation along the Atlantic coast of South America. Catches along this coast recorded by whalers originally formed a continuum from Brazil to Tierra del Fuego. Nevertheless, the recovery of the population has apparently occurred fragmentarily, and with two main areas of concentration, one off southern Brazil (Santa Catarina) and another off central Argentina (Peninsula Valdés). This pattern suggests some level of heterogeneity amongst the population, which is apparently contradicted by records that traced individuals moving throughout the whole geographical extension covered by the species in the Southwest Atlantic. To test the hypothesis of the potential occurrence of discrete subpopulations exploiting specific habitats, we investigated N, C and O isotopic values in 125 bone samples obtained from whaling factories operating in the early 1970s in southern Brazil (n = 72) and from contemporary and more recent strandings occurring in central Argentina (n = 53). Results indicated significant differences between the two sampling areas, being δ13C and δ18O values significantly higher in samples from southern Brazil than in those from central Argentina. This variation was consistent with isotopic baselines from the two areas, indicating the occurrence of some level of structure in the Southwest Atlantic right whale population and equally that whales more likely feed in areas commonly thought to exclusively serve as nursing grounds. Results aim at reconsidering of the units currently used in the management of the southern right whale in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean. In the context of the current die-off affecting the species in Peninsula Valdés, these results also highlight the necessity to better understand movements of individuals and precisely identify their feeding areas. PMID:24598539

  10. From the Eye of the Albatrosses: A Bird-Borne Camera Shows an Association between Albatrosses and a Killer Whale in the Southern Ocean

    PubMed Central

    Sakamoto, Kentaro Q.; Takahashi, Akinori; Iwata, Takashi; Trathan, Philip N.

    2009-01-01

    Albatrosses fly many hundreds of kilometers across the open ocean to find and feed upon their prey. Despite the growing number of studies concerning their foraging behaviour, relatively little is known about how albatrosses actually locate their prey. Here, we present our results from the first deployments of a combined animal-borne camera and depth data logger on free-ranging black-browed albatrosses (Thalassarche melanophrys). The still images recorded from these cameras showed that some albatrosses actively followed a killer whale (Orcinus orca), possibly to feed on food scraps left by this diving predator. The camera images together with the depth profiles showed that the birds dived only occasionally, but that they actively dived when other birds or the killer whale were present. This association with diving predators or other birds may partially explain how albatrosses find their prey more efficiently in the apparently ‘featureless’ ocean, with a minimal requirement for energetically costly diving or landing activities. PMID:19809497

  11. Diel and seasonal patterns of underwater sounds by Weddell seals, leopard seals, and killer whales in the Antarctic: When it's adaptive to be quiet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mindach, Debrah; Thomas, Jeanette

    2005-09-01

    Automated underwater recordings taken during the austral breeding season of the Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) in Antarctica also provided data on the vocalizations of predators in the area; leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) and killer whales (Orcinus orca). Weddell seals inhabit fast ice areas to give birth, mate, and molt. Near the end of the breeding season in December the fast ice often breaks out and the two pack ice predators are able to move near the Weddell seal colonies and prey on them, especially pups. Recordings were taken continuously for a 2.5-min period each hour from mid-October 1977 and late-January 1978 at Hutton Cliffs and South Turtle Rock Crack, in McMurdo Sound. The leopard seals increased their trill calls when killer whales came into the area as evidenced by an increase in their frequency-modulated squeak calls. Weddell seals decreased their vocalization rate dramatically (~10 sounds/min) compared to during the peak of the breeding season (~75 sounds/min). Perhaps by being quiet, Weddell seals do not attract predators to their area.

  12. Modeling (137)Cs bioaccumulation in the salmon-resident killer whale food web of the Northeastern Pacific following the Fukushima Nuclear Accident.

    PubMed

    Alava, Juan José; Gobas, Frank A P C

    2016-02-15

    To track the long term bioaccumulation of (137)Cs in marine organisms off the Pacific Northwest coast of Canada, we developed a time dependent bioaccumulation model for (137)Cs in a marine mammalian food web that included fish-eating resident killer whales. The model outcomes show that (137)Cs can be expected to gradually bioaccumulate in the food web over time as demonstrated by the increase of the apparent trophic magnification factor of (137)Cs, ranging from 0.76 after 1 month of exposure to 2.0 following 30 years of exposure. (137)Cs bioaccumulation is driven by relatively rapid dietary uptake rates, moderate depuration rates in lower trophic level organisms and slow elimination rates in high trophic level organisms. Model estimates of the (137)Cs activity in species of the food web, based on current measurements and forecasts of (137)Cs activities in oceanic waters and sediments off the Canadian Pacific Northwest, indicate that the long term (137)Cs activities in fish species including Pacific herring, wild Pacific salmon, sablefish and halibut will remain well below the current (137)Cs-Canada Action Level for consumption (1000 Bq/kg) following a nuclear emergency. Killer whales and Pacific salmon are expected to exhibit the largest long term (137)Cs activities and may be good sentinels for monitoring (137)Cs in the region. Assessment of the long term consequences of (137)Cs releases from the Fukushima aftermath should consider the extent of ecological magnification in addition to ocean dilution. PMID:26657356

  13. Population structure of humpback whales from their breeding grounds in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

    PubMed

    Rosenbaum, Howard C; Pomilla, Cristina; Mendez, Martin; Leslie, Matthew S; Best, Peter B; Findlay, Ken P; Minton, Gianna; Ersts, Peter J; Collins, Timothy; Engel, Marcia H; Bonatto, Sandro L; Kotze, Deon P G H; Meÿer, Mike; Barendse, Jaco; Thornton, Meredith; Razafindrakoto, Yvette; Ngouessono, Solange; Vely, Michel; Kiszka, Jeremy

    2009-01-01

    Although humpback whales are among the best-studied of the large whales, population boundaries in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) have remained largely untested. We assess population structure of SH humpback whales using 1,527 samples collected from whales at fourteen sampling sites within the Southwestern and Southeastern Atlantic, the Southwestern Indian Ocean, and Northern Indian Ocean (Breeding Stocks A, B, C and X, respectively). Evaluation of mtDNA population structure and migration rates was carried out under different statistical frameworks. Using all genetic evidence, the results suggest significant degrees of population structure between all ocean basins, with the Southwestern and Northern Indian Ocean most differentiated from each other. Effective migration rates were highest between the Southeastern Atlantic and the Southwestern Indian Ocean, followed by rates within the Southeastern Atlantic, and the lowest between the Southwestern and Northern Indian Ocean. At finer scales, very low gene flow was detected between the two neighbouring sub-regions in the Southeastern Atlantic, compared to high gene flow for whales within the Southwestern Indian Ocean. Our genetic results support the current management designations proposed by the International Whaling Commission of Breeding Stocks A, B, C, and X as four strongly structured populations. The population structure patterns found in this study are likely to have been influenced by a combination of long-term maternally directed fidelity of migratory destinations, along with other ecological and oceanographic features in the region. PMID:19812698

  14. Population Structure of Humpback Whales from Their Breeding Grounds in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans

    PubMed Central

    Rosenbaum, Howard C.; Pomilla, Cristina; Mendez, Martin; Leslie, Matthew S.; Best, Peter B.; Findlay, Ken P.; Minton, Gianna; Ersts, Peter J.; Collins, Timothy; Engel, Marcia H.; Bonatto, Sandro L.; Kotze, Deon P. G. H.; Meÿer, Mike; Barendse, Jaco; Thornton, Meredith; Razafindrakoto, Yvette; Ngouessono, Solange; Vely, Michel; Kiszka, Jeremy

    2009-01-01

    Although humpback whales are among the best-studied of the large whales, population boundaries in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) have remained largely untested. We assess population structure of SH humpback whales using 1,527 samples collected from whales at fourteen sampling sites within the Southwestern and Southeastern Atlantic, the Southwestern Indian Ocean, and Northern Indian Ocean (Breeding Stocks A, B, C and X, respectively). Evaluation of mtDNA population structure and migration rates was carried out under different statistical frameworks. Using all genetic evidence, the results suggest significant degrees of population structure between all ocean basins, with the Southwestern and Northern Indian Ocean most differentiated from each other. Effective migration rates were highest between the Southeastern Atlantic and the Southwestern Indian Ocean, followed by rates within the Southeastern Atlantic, and the lowest between the Southwestern and Northern Indian Ocean. At finer scales, very low gene flow was detected between the two neighbouring sub-regions in the Southeastern Atlantic, compared to high gene flow for whales within the Southwestern Indian Ocean. Our genetic results support the current management designations proposed by the International Whaling Commission of Breeding Stocks A, B, C, and X as four strongly structured populations. The population structure patterns found in this study are likely to have been influenced by a combination of long-term maternally directed fidelity of migratory destinations, along with other ecological and oceanographic features in the region. PMID:19812698

  15. Low Genetic Differentiation across Three Major Ocean Populations of the Whale Shark, Rhincodon typus

    PubMed Central

    Schmidt, Jennifer V.; Schmidt, Claudia L.; Ozer, Fusun; Ernst, Robin E.; Feldheim, Kevin A.; Ashley, Mary V.; Levine, Marie

    2009-01-01

    Background Whale sharks are a declining species for which little biological data is available. While these animals are protected in many parts of their range, they are fished legally and illegally in some countries. Baseline biological and ecological data are needed to allow the formulation of an effective conservation plan for whale sharks. It is not known, for example, whether the whale shark is represented by a single worldwide panmictic population or by numerous, reproductively isolated populations. Genetic analysis of population structure is one essential component of the baseline data required for whale shark conservation. Methodology/Principal Findings We have identified 8 polymorphic microsatellites in the whale shark and used these markers to assess genetic variation and population structure in a panel of whale sharks covering a broad geographic region. This is the first record of microsatellite loci in the whale shark, which displayed an average of 9 alleles per locus and mean Ho = 0.66 and He = 0.69. All but one of the eight loci meet the expectations of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Analysis of these loci in whale sharks representing three major portions of their range, the Pacific (P), Caribbean (C), and Indian (I) Oceans, determined that there is little population differentiation between animals sampled in different geographic regions, indicating historical gene flow between populations. FST values for inter-ocean comparisons were low (P×C = 0.0387, C×I = 0.0296 and P×I = −0.0022), and only C×I approached statistical significance (p = 0.0495). Conclusions/Significance We have shown only low levels of genetic differentiation between geographically distinct whale shark populations. Existing satellite tracking data have revealed both regional and long-range migration of whale sharks throughout their range, which supports the finding of gene flow between populations. Whale sharks traverse geographic and political boundaries

  16. High genetic diversity in a small population: the case of Chilean blue whales.

    PubMed

    Torres-Florez, Juan P; Hucke-Gaete, Rodrigo; Rosenbaum, Howard; Figueroa, Christian C

    2014-04-01

    It is generally assumed that species with low population sizes have lower genetic diversities than larger populations and vice versa. However, this would not be the case for long-lived species with long generation times, and which populations have declined due to anthropogenic effects, such as the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). This species was intensively decimated globally to near extinction during the 20th century. Along the Chilean coast, it is estimated that at least 4288 blue whales were hunted from an apparently pre-exploitation population size (k) of a maximum of 6200 individuals (Southeastern Pacific). Thus, here, we describe the mtDNA (control region) and nDNA (microsatellites) diversities of the Chilean blue whale aggregation site in order to verify the expectation of low genetic diversity in small populations. We then compare our findings with other blue whale aggregations in the Southern Hemisphere. Interestingly, although the estimated population size is small compared with the pre-whaling era, there is still considerable genetic diversity, even after the population crash, both in mitochondrial (N = 46) and nuclear (N = 52) markers (Hd = 0.890 and Ho = 0.692, respectively). Our results suggest that this diversity could be a consequence of the long generation times and the relatively short period of time elapsed since the end of whaling, which has been observed in other heavily-exploited whale populations. The genetic variability of blue whales on their southern Chile feeding grounds was similar to that found in other Southern Hemisphere blue whale feeding grounds. Our phylogenetic analysis of mtDNA haplotypes does not show extensive differentiation of populations among Southern Hemisphere blue whale feeding grounds. The present study suggests that although levels of genetic diversity are frequently used as estimators of population health, these parameters depend on the biology of the species and should be taken into account in a

  17. High genetic diversity in a small population: the case of Chilean blue whales

    PubMed Central

    Torres-Florez, Juan P; Hucke-Gaete, Rodrigo; Rosenbaum, Howard; Figueroa, Christian C

    2014-01-01

    It is generally assumed that species with low population sizes have lower genetic diversities than larger populations and vice versa. However, this would not be the case for long-lived species with long generation times, and which populations have declined due to anthropogenic effects, such as the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). This species was intensively decimated globally to near extinction during the 20th century. Along the Chilean coast, it is estimated that at least 4288 blue whales were hunted from an apparently pre-exploitation population size (k) of a maximum of 6200 individuals (Southeastern Pacific). Thus, here, we describe the mtDNA (control region) and nDNA (microsatellites) diversities of the Chilean blue whale aggregation site in order to verify the expectation of low genetic diversity in small populations. We then compare our findings with other blue whale aggregations in the Southern Hemisphere. Interestingly, although the estimated population size is small compared with the pre-whaling era, there is still considerable genetic diversity, even after the population crash, both in mitochondrial (N = 46) and nuclear (N = 52) markers (Hd = 0.890 and Ho = 0.692, respectively). Our results suggest that this diversity could be a consequence of the long generation times and the relatively short period of time elapsed since the end of whaling, which has been observed in other heavily-exploited whale populations. The genetic variability of blue whales on their southern Chile feeding grounds was similar to that found in other Southern Hemisphere blue whale feeding grounds. Our phylogenetic analysis of mtDNA haplotypes does not show extensive differentiation of populations among Southern Hemisphere blue whale feeding grounds. The present study suggests that although levels of genetic diversity are frequently used as estimators of population health, these parameters depend on the biology of the species and should be taken into account in a

  18. Inferred global connectivity of whale shark Rhincodon typus populations.

    PubMed

    Sequeira, A M M; Mellin, C; Meekan, M G; Sims, D W; Bradshaw, C J A

    2013-02-01

    Ten years have passed since the last synopsis of whale shark Rhincodon typus biogeography. While a recent review of the species' biology and ecology summarized the vast data collected since then, it is clear that information on population geographic connectivity, migration and demography of R. typus is still limited and scattered. Understanding R. typus migratory behaviour is central to its conservation management considering the genetic evidence suggesting local aggregations are connected at the generational scale over entire ocean basins. By collating available data on sightings, tracked movements and distribution information, this review provides evidence for the hypothesis of broad-scale connectivity among populations, and generates a model describing how the world's R. typus are part of a single, global meta-population. Rhincodon typus occurrence timings and distribution patterns make possible a connection between several aggregation sites in the Indian Ocean. The present conceptual model and validating data lend support to the hypothesis that R. typus are able to move among the three largest ocean basins with a minimum total travelling time of around 2-4 years. The model provides a worldwide perspective of possible R. typus migration routes, and suggests a modified focus for additional research to test its predictions. The framework can be used to trim the hypotheses for R. typus movements and aggregation timings, thereby isolating possible mating and breeding areas that are currently unknown. This will assist endeavours to predict the longer-term response of the species to ocean warming and changing patterns of human-induced mortality. PMID:23398057

  19. Processes of contaminant accumulation in an Arctic beluga whale population

    SciTech Connect

    Hickie, B.E.; Muir, D.; Kingsley, M.

    1995-12-31

    As long-lived top predators in marine food chains, marine mammals accumulate high levels of persistent organic contaminants. While arctic marine mammal contaminant concentrations are lower than those from temperate regions, levels are sufficiently high to be a health concern to people who rely on marine mammals as food. Monitoring programs developed to address this problem and to define spatial and temporal trends often are difficult to interpret since tissue contaminant concentrations vary with species, age, sex, reproductive effort, and condition (ie blubber thickness). It can be difficult to relate contaminant concentrations in other environmental compartments to those in marine mammals since their residues reflect exposure over their entire life, often 20 to 30 years. Contaminant accumulation models for marine mammals enable us to better understand the importance of, and interaction between, factors affecting contaminant accumulation, and can provide a dynamic framework for interpreting contaminant monitoring data. The authors developed two models for the beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas): one provides a detailed view of processes at the individual level, the other examines population-based processes. The models quantify uptake, release and disposition of organic contaminants over their entire lifespan by incorporating all aspects of life-history. These models are used together to examine impact of a variety of factors on patterns and variability of PCBs found in the West Greenland beluga population (sample size: 696, 729). Factors examined include: energetics, growth, birth rate, lactation, contaminant assimilation and clearance rates, and dietary contaminant concentrations. Results are discussed in relation to the use of marine mammals for monitoring contaminant trends.

  20. Assessing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill impact on marine mammal population through acoustics: endangered sperm whales.

    PubMed

    Ackleh, Azmy S; Ioup, George E; Ioup, Juliette W; Ma, Baoling; Newcomb, Joal J; Pal, Nabendu; Sidorovskaia, Natalia A; Tiemann, Christopher

    2012-03-01

    Long-term monitoring of endangered species abundance based on acoustic recordings has not yet been pursued. This paper reports the first attempt to use multi-year passive acoustic data to study the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the population of endangered sperm whales. Prior to the spill the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center (LADC) collected acoustic recordings near the spill site in 2007. These baseline data now provide a unique opportunity to better understand how the oil spill affected marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico. In September 2010, LADC redeployed recording buoys at previously used locations 9, 25, and 50 miles away from the incident site. A statistical methodology that provides point and interval estimates of the abundance of the sperm whale population at the two nearest sites is presented. A comparison of the 2007 and the 2010 recordings shows a decrease in acoustic activity and abundance of sperm whales at the 9-mile site by a factor of 2, whereas acoustic activity and abundance at the 25-mile site has clearly increased. This indicates that some sperm whales may have relocated farther away from the spill. Follow-up experiments will be important for understanding long-term impact. PMID:22423725

  1. Accumulation and mother-to-calf transfer of anthropogenic and natural organohalogens in killer whales (Orcinus orca) stranded on the Pacific coast of Japan.

    PubMed

    Haraguchi, Koichi; Hisamichi, Yohsuke; Endo, Tetsuya

    2009-04-01

    Blubber samples were analyzed for anthropogenic and natural persistent organohalogens in nine killer whales (Orcinus orca) stranded on the northern coast of Japan in 2005. Anthropogenic organohalogens were dominated by DDTs (40-240 microg/g lipid weight (lw)), PCBs (19-68 microg/g lw), and chlordanes (trans-nonachlor, 15-80 microg/g lw). Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were detected at a range of 0.22-0.64 microg/g lw (BDE-47, 42-74% of SigmaPBDE). For natural organohalogens, mixed halogenated dimethylbipyrroles (Br4Cl2-DBP, 6.4-26 microg/g lw), heptachlorinated methylbipyrrole (Cl7-MBP, 0.5-1.9 microg/g lw), two methoxylated tetrabromodiphenyl ethers (6-MeO-BDE47, 0.11-0.58 microg/g lw; 2'-MeO-BDE68, 0.02-0.06 microg/g lw), and dimethoxylated tetrabromobiphenyl (2,2'-diMeO-BB80, 0.06-0.20 microg/g lw) were present. These concentrations in the blubber were higher in calves than in lactating females, indicating that large quantities of the persistent organohalogens transferred from the mother to the calf through lactation. The mother-to-calf transfer ratios of PCBs and PBDEs were significantly decreased with increasing number of halogen substituents, suggesting that higher halogenated congeners are less transferable. PMID:19201449

  2. Characterization of F21.A, a monoclonal antibody that recognize a leucocyte surface antigen for killer whale homologue to beta-2 integrin.

    PubMed

    De Guise, S; Erickson, K; Blanchard, M; DiMolfetto, L; Lepper, H D; Stott, J L; Ferrick, D A

    2004-02-01

    The specificity of F21.A, a monoclonal antibody raised against bottlenose dolphin leucocytes, was characterized in killer whale on the basis of immunoprecipitation of a protein of 94 kDa, as well as flow cytometric analysis. While minimally expressed on resting cells, F21.A labeled a homologue to beta-2 integrin in 89-97% of PMA-activated neutrophils, 53-66% of activated monocytes, and activated B cells but not T cells. Activation of neutrophils reached its maximum 10 min after PMA stimulation. F21.A did not label intracellular stores as did both cross-reacting anti-canine CD11b and CD18, suggesting that an activation-induced conformational change would expose a neoepitope recognized by F21.A. F21.A labeling was largely inhibited by pre-incubation with plasma, suggesting a binding site closely related to that for fibrinogen. In vitro phagocytosis and respiratory burst were almost fully inhibited upon pre-incubation with F21.A, demonstrating its functional importance. This antibody is foreseen as a possible valuable diagnostic and research tool in cetacean immunology. PMID:14741138

  3. Stable Isotopes Provide Insight into Population Structure and Segregation in Eastern North Atlantic Sperm Whales

    PubMed Central

    Borrell, Asunción; Velásquez Vacca, Adriana; Pinela, Ana M.; Kinze, Carl; Lockyer, Christina H.; Vighi, Morgana; Aguilar, Alex

    2013-01-01

    In pelagic species inhabiting large oceans, genetic differentiation tends to be mild and populations devoid of structure. However, large cetaceans have provided many examples of structuring. Here we investigate whether the sperm whale, a pelagic species with large population sizes and reputedly highly mobile, shows indication of structuring in the eastern North Atlantic, an ocean basin in which a single population is believed to occur. To do so, we examined stable isotope values in sequential growth layer groups of teeth from individuals sampled in Denmark and NW Spain. In each layer we measured oxygen- isotope ratios (δ18O) in the inorganic component (hydroxyapatite), and nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios (δ15N: δ13C) in the organic component (primarily collagenous). We found significant differences between Denmark and NW Spain in δ15N and δ18O values in the layer deposited at age 3, considered to be the one best representing the baseline of the breeding ground, in δ15N, δ13C and δ18O values in the period up to age 20, and in the ontogenetic variation of δ15N and δ18O values. These differences evidence that diet composition, use of habitat and/or migratory destinations are dissimilar between whales from the two regions and suggest that the North Atlantic population of sperm whales is more structured than traditionally accepted. PMID:24324782

  4. Stable isotopes provide insight into population structure and segregation in eastern North Atlantic sperm whales.

    PubMed

    Borrell, Asunción; Velásquez Vacca, Adriana; Pinela, Ana M; Kinze, Carl; Lockyer, Christina H; Vighi, Morgana; Aguilar, Alex

    2013-01-01

    In pelagic species inhabiting large oceans, genetic differentiation tends to be mild and populations devoid of structure. However, large cetaceans have provided many examples of structuring. Here we investigate whether the sperm whale, a pelagic species with large population sizes and reputedly highly mobile, shows indication of structuring in the eastern North Atlantic, an ocean basin in which a single population is believed to occur. To do so, we examined stable isotope values in sequential growth layer groups of teeth from individuals sampled in Denmark and NW Spain. In each layer we measured oxygen- isotope ratios (δ(18)O) in the inorganic component (hydroxyapatite), and nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios (δ(15)N: δ(13)C) in the organic component (primarily collagenous). We found significant differences between Denmark and NW Spain in δ(15)N and δ(18)O values in the layer deposited at age 3, considered to be the one best representing the baseline of the breeding ground, in δ(15)N, δ(13)C and δ(18)O values in the period up to age 20, and in the ontogenetic variation of δ(15)N and δ(18)O values. These differences evidence that diet composition, use of habitat and/or migratory destinations are dissimilar between whales from the two regions and suggest that the North Atlantic population of sperm whales is more structured than traditionally accepted. PMID:24324782

  5. Calls reveal population structure of blue whales across the southeast Indian Ocean and the southwest Pacific Ocean

    PubMed Central

    Balcazar, Naysa E.; Tripovich, Joy S.; Klinck, Holger; Nieukirk, Sharon L.; Mellinger, David K.; Dziak, Robert P.; Rogers, Tracey L.

    2015-01-01

    For effective species management, understanding population structure and distribution is critical. However, quantifying population structure is not always straightforward. Within the Southern Hemisphere, the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) complex is extremely diverse but difficult to study. Using automated detector methods, we identified “acoustic populations” of whales producing region-specific call types. We examined blue whale call types in passive acoustic data at sites spanning over 7,370 km across the southeast Indian Ocean and southwest Pacific Ocean (SWPO) from 2009 to 2012. In the absence of genetic resolution, these acoustic populations offer unique information about the blue whale population complex. We found that the Australian continent acts as a geographic boundary, separating Australia and New Zealand blue whale acoustic populations at the junction of the Indian and Pacific Ocean basins. We located blue whales in previously undocumented locations, including the far SWPO, in the Tasman Sea off the east coast of Australia, and along the Lau Basin near Tonga. Our understanding of population dynamics across this broad scale has significant implications to recovery and conservation management for this endangered species, at a regional and global scale. PMID:26989263

  6. A false killer whale reduces its hearing sensitivity when a loud sound is preceded by a warning.

    PubMed

    Nachtigall, Paul E; Supin, Alexander Ya

    2013-08-15

    We investigated the possibility of conditioned dampening of whale hearing thresholds when a loud sound is preceded by a warning sound. The loud sound was a tone of 20 kHz, 170 dB re. 1 μPa, 5 s. Hearing sensitivity was measured using pip-train test stimuli and auditory evoked potential recording. The same test-sound stimuli served as warning sounds. The durations of the warning sounds were varied randomly to avoid locking an anticipated conditioning effect to the timing immediately before the loud sound. When the warning sound lasted from 1 to 9 s or from 5 to 35 s prior to the loud sound, hearing thresholds before the loud sound increased, relative to the baseline, by 12.7 and 7.3 dB, respectively. When the warning sound duration varied within a range of 20 to 140 s, the threshold increase was as low as 3.0 dB. The observed hearing threshold increase was not a result of the unconditioned effect of the loud sound, like a temporary threshold shift, so it was considered to be a manifestation of a conditioned dampening of hearing when the subject anticipated the quick appearance of a loud sound, most likely to protect its hearing. PMID:23619406

  7. Passive acoustic monitoring of Cook Inlet beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas).

    PubMed

    Lammers, Marc O; Castellote, Manuel; Small, Robert J; Atkinson, Shannon; Jenniges, Justin; Rosinski, Anne; Oswald, Julie N; Garner, Chris

    2013-09-01

    The endangered beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) population in Cook Inlet, AK faces threats from a variety of anthropogenic factors, including coastal development, oil and gas exploration, vessel traffic, and military activities. To address existing gaps in understanding about the occurrence of belugas in Cook Inlet, a project was developed to use passive acoustic monitoring to document the year-round distribution of belugas, as well as killer whales (Orcinus orca), which prey on belugas. Beginning in June 2009, ten moorings were deployed throughout the Inlet and refurbished every two to eight months. Despite challenging conditions consisting of strong tidal currents carrying debris and seasonal ice cover, 83% of mooring deployments were successfully recovered. Noise from water flow, vessel traffic, and/or industrial activities was present at several sites, potentially masking some signals. However, belugas were successfully detected at multiple locations. Detections were relatively common in the upper inlet and less common or absent at middle and lower inlet locations. Killer whale signals were also recorded. Some seasonal variability in the occurrence of both belugas and killer whales was evident. PMID:23968047

  8. Causes and consequences of marine mammal population declines in southwest Alaska: a food-web perspective

    PubMed Central

    Estes, J.A.; Doak, D.F.; Springer, A.M.; Williams, T.M.

    2009-01-01

    Populations of sea otters, seals and sea lions have collapsed across much of southwest Alaska over the past several decades. The sea otter decline set off a trophic cascade in which the coastal marine ecosystem underwent a phase shift from kelp forests to deforested sea urchin barrens. This interaction in turn affected the distribution, abundance and productivity of numerous other species. Ecological consequences of the pinniped declines are largely unknown. Increased predation by transient (marine mammal-eating) killer whales probably caused the sea otter declines and may have caused the pinniped declines as well. Springer et al. proposed that killer whales, which purportedly fed extensively on great whales, expanded their diets to include a higher percentage of sea otters and pinnipeds following a sharp reduction in great whale numbers from post World War II industrial whaling. Critics of this hypothesis claim that great whales are not now and probably never were an important nutritional resource for killer whales. We used demographic/energetic analyses to evaluate whether or not a predator–prey system involving killer whales and the smaller marine mammals would be sustainable without some nutritional contribution from the great whales. Our results indicate that while such a system is possible, it could only exist under a narrow range of extreme conditions and is therefore highly unlikely. PMID:19451116

  9. Fine-scale population structure of blue whale wintering aggregations in the Gulf of California.

    PubMed

    Costa-Urrutia, Paula; Sanvito, Simona; Victoria-Cota, Nelva; Enríquez-Paredes, Luis; Gendron, Diane

    2013-01-01

    Population differentiation in environments without well-defined geographical barriers represents a challenge for wildlife management. Based on a comprehensive database of individual sighting records (1988-2009) of blue whales from the winter/calving Gulf of California, we assessed the fine-scale genetic and spatial structure of the population using individual-based approaches. Skin samples of 187 individuals were analyzed for nine microsatellite loci. A single population with no divergence among years and months and no isolation by distance (Rxy = 0.1-0.001, p>0.05) were found. We ran two bayesian clustering methods using Structure and Geneland softwares in two different ways: 1) a general analysis including all individuals in which a single cluster was identified with both softwares; 2) a specific analysis of females only in which two main clusters (Loreto Bay and northern areas, and San Jose-La Paz Bay area) were revealed by Geneland program. This study provides information indicating that blue whales wintering in the Gulf of California are part of a single population unit and showed a fine-scale structure among females, possibly associated with their high site fidelity, particularly when attending calves. It is likely that the loss of genetic variation is minimized by male mediated gene flow, which may reduce the genetic drift effect. Opportunities for kin selection may also influence calf survival and, in consequence, have a positive impact on population demography in this small and endangered population. PMID:23505485

  10. Organochlorine exposure and bioaccumulation in the endangered northwest Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) population

    SciTech Connect

    Weisbrod, A.V.; Shea, D.; Moore, M.J.; Stegeman, J.J.

    2000-03-01

    Exposure to toxicants is one factor hypothesized to influence population growth of the northern right whale. Organochlorines in right whale skin, feces, and prey were measured and used to identify factors influencing exposure and bioaccumulation. Concentrations of 30 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 20 pesticides in skin biopsies were consistent with other baleenopterids. Concentrations in feces and prey were two orders of magnitude less than in biopsies. In principal component analysis, organochlorines in biopsies matched those from Bay of Fundy, Canada, zooplankton, whereas feces were like Cape Cod, USA, copepods. Year of biopsy collection was the principal factor associated with differential accumulation of nonmetabolizable PCBs, 4,4{prime}-DDE, and dieldrin. Biopsies collected during winter had lower concentrations of lipid and metabolizable compounds than biopsies collected during summer. Concentrations of metabolizable PCBs increased with age in males. The bioaccumulation patterns implied that blubber burdens change annually because of the ingestion of different prey or prey from distinct locations and the release of some organochlorines stored in blubber during lipid depletion in winter. Because biopsy concentrations were lower than those found in marine mammals affected by PCBs and DDTs, the authors do not have evidence that the endangered whales bioaccumulate hazardous concentrations of organochlorines.

  11. Population structure of humpback whales in the western and central South Pacific Ocean as determined by vocal exchange among populations.

    PubMed

    Garland, Ellen C; Goldizen, Anne W; Lilley, Matthew S; Rekdahl, Melinda L; Garrigue, Claire; Constantine, Rochelle; Hauser, Nan Daeschler; Poole, M Michael; Robbins, Jooke; Noad, Michael J

    2015-08-01

    For cetaceans, population structure is traditionally determined by molecular genetics or photographically identified individuals. Acoustic data, however, has provided information on movement and population structure with less effort and cost than traditional methods in an array of taxa. Male humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) produce a continually evolving vocal sexual display, or song, that is similar among all males in a population. The rapid cultural transmission (the transfer of information or behavior between conspecifics through social learning) of different versions of this display between distinct but interconnected populations in the western and central South Pacific region presents a unique way to investigate population structure based on the movement dynamics of a song (acoustic) display. Using 11 years of data, we investigated an acoustically based population structure for the region by comparing stereotyped song sequences among populations and years. We used the Levenshtein distance technique to group previously defined populations into (vocally based) clusters based on the overall similarity of their song display in space and time. We identified the following distinct vocal clusters: western cluster, 1 population off eastern Australia; central cluster, populations around New Caledonia, Tonga, and American Samoa; and eastern region, either a single cluster or 2 clusters, one around the Cook Islands and the other off French Polynesia. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that each breeding aggregation represents a distinct population (each occupied a single, terminal node) in a metapopulation, similar to the current understanding of population structure based on genetic and photo-identification studies. However, the central vocal cluster had higher levels of song-sharing among populations than the other clusters, indicating that levels of vocal connectivity varied within the region. Our results demonstrate the utility and value of

  12. Distribution of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors genes in the Italian Caucasian population

    PubMed Central

    Bontadini, A; Testi, M; Cuccia, MC; Martinetti, M; Carcassi, C; Chiesa, A; Cosentini, E; Dametto, E; Frison, S; Iannone, AM; Lombardo, C; Malagoli, A; Mariani, M; Mariotti, L; Mascaretti, L; Mele, L; Miotti, V; Nesci, S; Ozzella, G; Piancatelli, D; Romeo, G; Tagliaferri, C; Vatta, S; Andreani, M; Conte, R

    2006-01-01

    Background Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) are a family of inhibitory and activatory receptors that are expressed by most natural killer (NK) cells. The KIR gene family is polymorphic: genomic diversity is achieved through differences in gene content and allelic polymorphism. The number of KIR loci has been reported to vary among individuals, resulting in different KIR haplotypes. In this study we report the genotypic structure of KIRs in 217 unrelated healthy Italian individuals from 22 immunogenetics laboratories, located in the northern, central and southern regions of Italy. Methods Two hundred and seventeen DNA samples were studied by a low resolution PCR-SSP kit designed to identify all KIR genes. Results All 17 KIR genes were observed in the population with different frequencies than other Caucasian and non-Caucasian populations; framework genes KIR3DL3, KIR3DP1, KIR2DL4 and KIR3DL2 were present in all individuals. Sixty-five different profiles were found in this Italian population study. Haplotype A remains the most prevalent and genotype 1, with a frequency of 28.5%, is the most commonly observed in the Italian population. Conclusion The Italian Caucasian population shows polymorphism of the KIR gene family like other Caucasian and non-Caucasian populations. Although 64 genotypes have been observed, genotype 1 remains the most frequent as already observed in other populations. Such knowledge of the KIR gene distribution in populations is very useful in the study of associations with diseases and in selection of donors for haploidentical bone marrow transplantation. PMID:17069649

  13. Robust, comparable population metrics through collaborative photo-monitoring of whale sharks Rhincodon typus.

    PubMed

    Holmberg, Jason; Norman, Bradley; Arzoumanian, Zaven

    2008-01-01

    The formulation of conservation policy for species that are rare and migratory requires broad cooperation to ensure that adequate levels of standardized data collection are achieved and that the results of local analyses are comparable. Estimates of apparent survival rate, relative change in abundance, and proportions of newly marked and returning individuals can inform local management decisions while highlighting corresponding changes at other linked research stations. We have applied computer-assisted photo-identification and mark-recapture population modeling to whale sharks Rhincodon typus at Ningaloo Marine Park (NMP), Western Australia, to create a baseline trend for comparison with other regional aggregations of the species. We estimate several ecological parameters of interest, including an average apparent survival rate of 0.55 yr(-1) for sharks newly marked (new) and 0.83 yr(-1) for sharks captured in multiple seasons (philopatric). The average proportion of philopatric sharks is found to be 0.65 of the total population, and we derive an average population growth rate of 1.12 yr(-1) for them. Our analysis uncovered significant heterogeneity in capture and survival probabilities in this study population; our chosen model structures and data analysis account for these influences and demonstrate a good overall fit to the time-series data. The results show good correspondence between capture probability and an available measure of recapture effort, suggesting that unmodeled systematic effects contribute insignificantly to the model fits. We find no evidence of a decline in the whale shark population at NMP, and our results provide metrics of value to their future management. Overall, our study suggests an effective approach to analyzing and modeling mark-recapture data for a rare species using computer-assisted photo-identification and opportunistic data collection from ecotourism to ensure the quality and volume of data required for population analysis

  14. Genetic structure of populations of whale sharks among ocean basins and evidence for their historic rise and recent decline.

    PubMed

    Vignaud, Thomas M; Maynard, Jeffrey A; Leblois, Raphael; Meekan, Mark G; Vázquez-Juárez, Ricardo; Ramírez-Macías, Dení; Pierce, Simon J; Rowat, David; Berumen, Michael L; Beeravolu, Champak; Baksay, Sandra; Planes, Serge

    2014-05-01

    This study presents genetic evidence that whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, are comprised of at least two populations that rarely mix and is the first to document a population expansion. Relatively high genetic structure is found when comparing sharks from the Gulf of Mexico with sharks from the Indo-Pacific. If mixing occurs between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, it is not sufficient to counter genetic drift. This suggests whale sharks are not all part of a single global metapopulation. The significant population expansion we found was indicated by both microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA. The expansion may have happened during the Holocene, when tropical species could expand their range due to sea-level rise, eliminating dispersal barriers and increasing plankton productivity. However, the historic trend of population increase may have reversed recently. Declines in genetic diversity are found for 6 consecutive years at Ningaloo Reef in Australia. The declines in genetic diversity being seen now in Australia may be due to commercial-scale harvesting of whale sharks and collision with boats in past decades in other countries in the Indo-Pacific. The study findings have implications for models of population connectivity for whale sharks and advocate for continued focus on effective protection of the world's largest fish at multiple spatial scales. PMID:24750370

  15. Humpback whale populations share a core skin bacterial community: towards a health index for marine mammals?

    PubMed

    Apprill, Amy; Robbins, Jooke; Eren, A Murat; Pack, Adam A; Reveillaud, Julie; Mattila, David; Moore, Michael; Niemeyer, Misty; Moore, Kathleen M T; Mincer, Tracy J

    2014-01-01

    Microbes are now well regarded for their important role in mammalian health. The microbiology of skin--a unique interface between the host and environment--is a major research focus in human health and skin disorders, but is less explored in other mammals. Here, we report on a cross-population study of the skin-associated bacterial community of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and examine the potential for a core bacterial community and its variability with host (endogenous) or geographic/environmental (exogenous) specific factors. Skin biopsies or freshly sloughed skin from 56 individuals were sampled from populations in the North Atlantic, North Pacific and South Pacific oceans and bacteria were characterized using 454 pyrosequencing of SSU rRNA genes. Phylogenetic and statistical analyses revealed the ubiquity and abundance of bacteria belonging to the Flavobacteria genus Tenacibaculum and the Gammaproteobacteria genus Psychrobacter across the whale populations. Scanning electron microscopy of skin indicated that microbial cells colonize the skin surface. Despite the ubiquity of Tenacibaculum and Psychrobater spp., the relative composition of the skin-bacterial community differed significantly by geographic area as well as metabolic state of the animals (feeding versus starving during migration and breeding), suggesting that both exogenous and endogenous factors may play a role in influencing the skin-bacteria. Further, characteristics of the skin bacterial community from these free-swimming individuals were assembled and compared to two entangled and three dead individuals, revealing a decrease in the central or core bacterial community members (Tenacibaculum and Psychrobater spp.), as well as the emergence of potential pathogens in the latter cases. This is the first discovery of a cross-population, shared skin bacterial community. This research suggests that the skin bacteria may be connected to humpback health and immunity and could possibly serve

  16. Humpback Whale Populations Share a Core Skin Bacterial Community: Towards a Health Index for Marine Mammals?

    PubMed Central

    Apprill, Amy; Robbins, Jooke; Eren, A. Murat; Pack, Adam A.; Reveillaud, Julie; Mattila, David; Moore, Michael; Niemeyer, Misty; Moore, Kathleen M. T.; Mincer, Tracy J.

    2014-01-01

    Microbes are now well regarded for their important role in mammalian health. The microbiology of skin – a unique interface between the host and environment - is a major research focus in human health and skin disorders, but is less explored in other mammals. Here, we report on a cross-population study of the skin-associated bacterial community of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and examine the potential for a core bacterial community and its variability with host (endogenous) or geographic/environmental (exogenous) specific factors. Skin biopsies or freshly sloughed skin from 56 individuals were sampled from populations in the North Atlantic, North Pacific and South Pacific oceans and bacteria were characterized using 454 pyrosequencing of SSU rRNA genes. Phylogenetic and statistical analyses revealed the ubiquity and abundance of bacteria belonging to the Flavobacteria genus Tenacibaculum and the Gammaproteobacteria genus Psychrobacter across the whale populations. Scanning electron microscopy of skin indicated that microbial cells colonize the skin surface. Despite the ubiquity of Tenacibaculum and Psychrobater spp., the relative composition of the skin-bacterial community differed significantly by geographic area as well as metabolic state of the animals (feeding versus starving during migration and breeding), suggesting that both exogenous and endogenous factors may play a role in influencing the skin-bacteria. Further, characteristics of the skin bacterial community from these free-swimming individuals were assembled and compared to two entangled and three dead individuals, revealing a decrease in the central or core bacterial community members (Tenacibaculum and Psychrobater spp.), as well as the emergence of potential pathogens in the latter cases. This is the first discovery of a cross-population, shared skin bacterial community. This research suggests that the skin bacteria may be connected to humpback health and immunity and could possibly

  17. Loss and Gain of Natural Killer Cell Receptor Function in an African Hunter-Gatherer Population.

    PubMed

    Hilton, Hugo G; Norman, Paul J; Nemat-Gorgani, Neda; Goyos, Ana; Hollenbach, Jill A; Henn, Brenna M; Gignoux, Christopher R; Guethlein, Lisbeth A; Parham, Peter

    2015-08-01

    Modulating natural killer cell functions in human immunity and reproduction are diverse interactions between the killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) of Natural Killer (NK) cells and HLA class I ligands on the surface of tissue cells. Dominant interactions are between KIR2DL1 and the C2 epitope of HLA-C and between KIR2DL2/3 and the C1 epitope of HLA-C. KhoeSan hunter-gatherers of Southern Africa represent the earliest population divergence known and are the most genetically diverse indigenous people, qualities reflected in their KIR and HLA genes. Of the ten KhoeSan KIR2DL1 alleles, KIR2DL1*022 and KIR2DL1*026 likely originated in the KhoeSan, and later were transmitted at low frequency to the neighboring Zulus through gene flow. These alleles arose by point mutation from other KhoeSan KIR2DL1 alleles that are more widespread globally. Mutation of KIR2DL1*001 gave rise to KIR2DL1*022, causing loss of C2 recognition and gain of C1 recognition. This makes KIR2DL1*022 a more avid and specific C1 receptor than any KIR2DL2/3 allotype. Mutation of KIR2DL1*012 gave rise to KIR2DL1*026, causing premature termination of translation at the end of the transmembrane domain. This makes KIR2DL1*026 a membrane-associated receptor that lacks both a cytoplasmic tail and signaling function. At higher frequencies than their parental allotypes, the combined effect of the KhoeSan-specific KIR2DL1*022 and KIR2DL1*026 is to reduce the frequency of strong inhibitory C2 receptors and increase the frequency of strong inhibitory C1 receptors. Because interaction of KIR2DL1 with C2 is associated with risk of pregnancy disorder, these functional changes are potentially advantageous. Whereas all other KhoeSan KIR2DL1 alleles are present on a wide diversity of centromeric KIR haplotypes, KIR2DL1*026 is present on a single KIR haplotype and KIR2DL1*022 is present on two very similar haplotypes. The high linkage disequilibrium across their haplotypes is consistent with a recent

  18. Passive acoustic location of bowhead whales in a population census off Point Barrow, Alaska.

    PubMed

    Cummings, W C; Holliday, D V

    1985-10-01

    A sonobuoy array placed in the nearshore lead was used for locating bowhead whale sounds to determine if whales migrated past census stations beyond visual range and were uncounted. Based on a sample of 182 whale sounds (over 48 h) from closest point of approach (CPA) distances out to more than 10 km, 68% originated beyond 2 km (CPA), where only 1% of the 242 whales were sighted. No whales were sighted beyond 3 km during this time, but 53% of the located sounds originated that far and beyond. Thirty-seven other bowhead sounds over 15 h were distributed out to 6 km. Two tracked whales moved at average speeds of 1.5 and 1.8 kn. Maximum location error was 1%-25% in a sector of 120 degrees X 5-10 km, depending upon bearing and range. Most whale sounds were low-frequency moans, trumpeting roars, and repetitive sequences (songs) with peak spectrum source level up to 189 dB re: 1 microPa, 1 m. Lack of correlations between numbers of sounds and sighted whales precluded using bowhead sounds to count individuals or even to extrapolate ratios of unseen to observed whales. PMID:4056210

  19. Gene flow on ice: the role of sea ice and whaling in shaping Holarctic genetic diversity and population differentiation in bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus).

    PubMed

    Elizabeth Alter, S; Rosenbaum, Howard C; Postma, Lianne D; Whitridge, Peter; Gaines, Cork; Weber, Diana; Egan, Mary G; Lindsay, Melissa; Amato, George; Dueck, Larry; Brownell, Robert L; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads-Peter; Laidre, Kristin L; Caccone, Gisella; Hancock, Brittany L

    2012-11-01

    Sea ice is believed to be a major factor shaping gene flow for polar marine organisms, but it remains unclear to what extent it represents a true barrier to dispersal for arctic cetaceans. Bowhead whales are highly adapted to polar sea ice and were targeted by commercial whalers throughout Arctic and subarctic seas for at least four centuries, resulting in severe reductions in most areas. Both changing ice conditions and reductions due to whaling may have affected geographic distribution and genetic diversity throughout their range, but little is known about range-wide genetic structure or whether it differed in the past. This study represents the first examination of genetic diversity and differentiation across all five putative stocks, including Baffin Bay-Davis Strait, Hudson Bay-Foxe Basin, Bering-Beaufort-Chukchi, Okhotsk, and Spitsbergen. We also utilized ancient specimens from Prince Regent Inlet (PRI) in the Canadian Arctic and compared them with modern stocks. Results from analysis of molecular variance and demographic simulations are consistent with recent and high gene flow between Atlantic and Pacific stocks in the recent past. Significant genetic differences between ancient and modern populations suggest PRI harbored unique maternal lineages in the past that have been recently lost, possibly due to loss of habitat during the Little Ice Age and/or whaling. Unexpectedly, samples from this location show a closer genetic relationship with modern Pacific stocks than Atlantic, supporting high gene flow between the central Canadian Arctic and Beaufort Sea over the past millennium despite extremely heavy ice cover over much of this period. PMID:23170222

  20. Gene flow on ice: the role of sea ice and whaling in shaping Holarctic genetic diversity and population differentiation in bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus)

    PubMed Central

    Elizabeth Alter, S; Rosenbaum, Howard C; Postma, Lianne D; Whitridge, Peter; Gaines, Cork; Weber, Diana; Egan, Mary G; Lindsay, Melissa; Amato, George; Dueck, Larry; Brownell, Robert L; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads-Peter; Laidre, Kristin L; Caccone, Gisella; Hancock, Brittany L

    2012-01-01

    Sea ice is believed to be a major factor shaping gene flow for polar marine organisms, but it remains unclear to what extent it represents a true barrier to dispersal for arctic cetaceans. Bowhead whales are highly adapted to polar sea ice and were targeted by commercial whalers throughout Arctic and subarctic seas for at least four centuries, resulting in severe reductions in most areas. Both changing ice conditions and reductions due to whaling may have affected geographic distribution and genetic diversity throughout their range, but little is known about range-wide genetic structure or whether it differed in the past. This study represents the first examination of genetic diversity and differentiation across all five putative stocks, including Baffin Bay-Davis Strait, Hudson Bay-Foxe Basin, Bering-Beaufort-Chukchi, Okhotsk, and Spitsbergen. We also utilized ancient specimens from Prince Regent Inlet (PRI) in the Canadian Arctic and compared them with modern stocks. Results from analysis of molecular variance and demographic simulations are consistent with recent and high gene flow between Atlantic and Pacific stocks in the recent past. Significant genetic differences between ancient and modern populations suggest PRI harbored unique maternal lineages in the past that have been recently lost, possibly due to loss of habitat during the Little Ice Age and/or whaling. Unexpectedly, samples from this location show a closer genetic relationship with modern Pacific stocks than Atlantic, supporting high gene flow between the central Canadian Arctic and Beaufort Sea over the past millennium despite extremely heavy ice cover over much of this period. PMID:23170222

  1. Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) vocalizations and call classification from the eastern Beaufort Sea population.

    PubMed

    Garland, Ellen C; Castellote, Manuel; Berchok, Catherine L

    2015-06-01

    Beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, have a graded call system; call types exist on a continuum making classification challenging. A description of vocalizations from the eastern Beaufort Sea beluga population during its spring migration are presented here, using both a non-parametric classification tree analysis (CART), and a Random Forest analysis. Twelve frequency and duration measurements were made on 1019 calls recorded over 14 days off Icy Cape, Alaska, resulting in 34 identifiable call types with 83% agreement in classification for both CART and Random Forest analyses. This high level of agreement in classification, with an initial subjective classification of calls into 36 categories, demonstrates that the methods applied here provide a quantitative analysis of a graded call dataset. Further, as calls cannot be attributed to individuals using single sensor passive acoustic monitoring efforts, these methods provide a comprehensive analysis of data where the influence of pseudo-replication of calls from individuals is unknown. This study is the first to describe the vocal repertoire of a beluga population using a robust and repeatable methodology. A baseline eastern Beaufort Sea beluga population repertoire is presented here, against which the call repertoire of other seasonally sympatric Alaskan beluga populations can be compared. PMID:26093397

  2. Lifetime PCB 153 bioaccumulation and pharmacokinetics in pilot whales: Bayesian population PBPK modeling and Markov chain Monte Carlo simulations.

    PubMed

    Weijs, Liesbeth; Roach, Anthony C; Yang, Raymond S H; McDougall, Robin; Lyons, Michael; Housand, Conrad; Tibax, Detlef; Manning, Therese; Chapman, John; Edge, Katelyn; Covaci, Adrian; Blust, Ronny

    2014-01-01

    Physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models for wild animal populations such as marine mammals typically have a high degree of model uncertainty and variability due to the scarcity of information and the embryonic nature of this field. Parameters values used in marine mammals models are usually taken from other mammalian species (e.g. rats or mice) and might not be entirely suitable to properly explain the kinetics of pollutants in marine mammals. Therefore, several parameters for a PBPK model for the bioaccumulation and pharmacokinetics of PCB 153 in long-finned pilot whales were estimated in the present study using the Bayesian approach executed with Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulations. This method uses 'prior' information of the parameters, either from the literature or from previous model runs. The advantage is that this method uses such 'prior' parameters to calculate probability distributions to determine 'posterior' values that best explain the field observations. Those field observations or datasets were PCB 153 concentrations in blubber of long-finned pilot whales from Sandy Cape and Stanley, Tasmania, Australia. The model predictions showed an overall decrease in PCB 153 levels in blubber over the lifetime of the pilot whales. All parameters from the Sandy Cape model were updated using the Stanley dataset, except for the concentration of PCB 153 in the milk. The model presented here is a promising and preliminary start to PBPK modeling in long-finned pilot whales that would provide a basis for non-invasive studies in these protected marine mammals. PMID:24080004

  3. Sequential megafaunal collapse in the North Pacific Ocean: An ongoing legacy of industrial whaling?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Springer, A.M.; Estes, J.A.; Van Vliet, G. B.; Williams, T.M.; Doak, D.F.; Danner, E.M.; Forney, K.A.; Pfister, B.

    2003-01-01

    Populations of seals, sea lions, and sea otters have sequentially collapsed over large areas of the northern North Pacific Ocean and southern Bering Sea during the last several decades. A bottom-up nutritional limitation mechanism induced by physical oceanographic change or competition with fisheries was long thought to be largely responsible for these declines. The current weight of evidence is more consistent with top-down forcing. Increased predation by killer whales probably drove the sea otter collapse and may have been responsible for the earlier pinniped declines as well. We propose that decimation of the great whales by post-World War II industrial whaling caused the great whales' foremost natural predators, killer whales, to begin feeding more intensively on the smaller marine mammals, thus "fishing-down" this element of the marine food web. The timing of these events, information on the abundance, diet, and foraging behavior of both predators and prey, and feasibility analyses based on demographic and energetic modeling are all consistent with this hypothesis.

  4. Statistical approaches to paternity analysis in natural populations and applications to the North Atlantic humpback whale.

    PubMed Central

    Nielsen, R; Mattila, D K; Clapham, P J; Palsbøll, P J

    2001-01-01

    We present a new method for paternity analysis in natural populations that is based on genotypic data that can take the sampling fraction of putative parents into account. The method allows paternity assignment to be performed in a decision theoretic framework. Simulations are performed to evaluate the utility and robustness of the method and to assess how many loci are necessary for reliable paternity inference. In addition we present a method for testing hypotheses regarding relative reproductive success of different ecologically or behaviorally defined groups as well as a new method for estimating the current population size of males from genotypic data. This method is an extension of the fractional paternity method to the case where only a proportion of all putative fathers have been sampled. It can also be applied to provide abundance estimates of the number of breeding males from genetic data. Throughout, the methods were applied to genotypic data collected from North Atlantic humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) to test if the males that appear dominant during the mating season have a higher reproductive success than the subdominant males. PMID:11290722

  5. Population structure of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA variation among humpback whales in the North Pacific.

    PubMed

    Baker, C S; Medrano-Gonzalez, L; Calambokidis, J; Perry, A; Pichler, F; Rosenbaum, H; Straley, J M; Urban-Ramirez, J; Yamaguchi, M; von Ziegesar, O

    1998-06-01

    The population structure of variation in a nuclear actin intron and the control region of mitochondrial DNA is described for humpback whales from eight regions in the North Pacific Ocean: central California, Baja Peninsula, nearshore Mexico (Bahia Banderas), offshore Mexico (Socorro Island), southeastern Alaska, central Alaska (Prince Williams Sound), Hawaii and Japan (Ogasawara Islands). Primary mtDNA haplotypes and intron alleles were identified using selected restriction fragment length polymorphisms of target sequences amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR-RFLP). There was little evidence of heterogeneity in the frequencies of mtDNA haplotypes or actin intron alleles due to the year or sex composition of the sample. However, frequencies of four mtDNA haplotypes showed marked regional differences in their distributions (phi ST = 0.277; P < 0.001; n = 205 individuals) while the two alleles showed significant, but less marked, regional differences (phi ST = 0.033; P < 0.013; n = 400 chromosomes). An hierarchical analysis of variance in frequencies of haplotypes and alleles supported the grouping of six regions into a central and eastern stock with further partitioning of variance among regions within stocks for haplotypes but not for alleles. Based on available genetic and demographic evidence, the southeastern Alaska and central California feeding grounds were selected for additional analyses of nuclear differentiation using allelic variation at four microsatellite loci. All four loci showed significant differences in allele frequencies (overall FST = 0.043; P < 0.001; average n = 139 chromosomes per locus), indicating at least partial reproductive isolation between the two regions as well as the segregation of mtDNA lineages. Although the two feeding grounds were not panmictic for nuclear or mitochondrial loci, estimates of long-term migration rates suggested that male-mediated gene flow was several-fold greater than female gene flow. These results

  6. Population structure of North American beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) based on nuclear DNA microsatellite variation and contrasted with the population structure revealed by mitochondrial DNA variation

    PubMed

    Gladden; Ferguson; Friesen; Clayton

    1999-03-01

    Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in North American waters migrate seasonally between wintering areas in broken pack ice and summering locations in estuaries and other open water areas in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Results from our previous investigation of beluga whale mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) revealed genetic heterogeneity among beluga from different summering locations that was interpreted as representing a high degree of summering site philopatry. However, mtDNA is maternally inherited and does not reflect mating that may occur among beluga from different summering locations in wintering areas or during annual migrations. To test the possibility that breeding occurs among beluga from different summering locations, genetic variability at five nuclear DNA (nDNA) microsatellite loci was examined in the same animals tested in the mtDNA study. Beluga samples (n = 640) were collected between 1984 and 1994 from 24 sites across North America, mostly during the summer. Whales from the various sites were categorized into eight summering locations as identified by mtDNA analysis, as well as four hypothesized wintering areas: Bering Sea, Hudson Strait (Hudson Strait, Labrador Sea, southwest Davis Strait), Baffin Bay (North Water, east Davis Strait), and St Lawrence River. Microsatellite allele frequencies indicated genetic homogeneity among animals from summering sites believed to winter together but differentiation among whales from some of the wintering areas. In particular, beluga from western North America (Bering Sea) were clearly distinguished from beluga from eastern North America (Hudson Strait, Baffin Bay, and St Lawrence River). Based upon the combined data set, the population of North American beluga whales was divided into two evolutionarily significant units. However, the population may be further subdivided into management units to reflect distinct groups of beluga at summering locations. PMID:10199005

  7. Using trace elements in skin to discriminate the populations of minke whales in southern hemisphere.

    PubMed

    Kunito, Takashi; Watanabe, Izumi; Yasunaga, Genta; Fujise, Yoshihiro; Tanabe, Shinsuke

    2002-03-01

    Concentrations of 12 trace elements (V, Cr, Mn, Cu, Zn, Se, Rb, Sr, Cd, Cs, Ba, and Hg) were determined in liver and skin tissues of minke whales from various regions within the Antarctic Ocean. Cd concentrations in livers of southern minke whale were apparently higher than those in cetaceans from other regions, while Hg concentrations were lower. There were significant positive correlations between body length and concentrations of Cd and Hg in the liver. The concentrations of all trace elements in the skin were lower than those in other cetaceans reported previously. Significant positive correlations between liver and skin were found for Cr, Mn, Cu, Zn, Rb, Cd, and Cs, implying that the concentrations of these trace elements in the skin reflect those of internal organs. Large interannual variation of the accumulation pattern of trace elements in the skin was observed for the southern minke whales from Area V. There were significant differences in the skin element concentrations among Areas III, IV, and V, especially for males. Also, discriminant analysis between geographically two different groups collected during 1995/1996 austral summer season, based on the concentrations of trace elements in the skin, allowed for a correct classification of 90% of these minke whales. These results suggest that measurement of trace elements in skin samples could provide valuable information on the status of contamination and possible geographic differences in the accumulation levels in southern minke whales. PMID:11824827

  8. Rapid multiple-level coevolution in experimental populations of yeast killer and nonkiller strains.

    PubMed

    Pieczynska, Magdalena D; Wloch-Salamon, Dominika; Korona, Ryszard; de Visser, J Arjan G M

    2016-06-01

    Coevolution between different biological entities is considered an important evolutionary mechanism at all levels of biological organization. Here, we provide evidence for coevolution of a yeast killer strain (K) carrying cytoplasmic dsRNA viruses coding for anti-competitor toxins and an isogenic toxin-sensitive strain (S) during 500 generations of laboratory propagation. Signatures of coevolution developed at two levels. One of them was coadaptation of K and S. Killing ability of K first increased quickly and was followed by the rapid invasion of toxin-resistant mutants derived from S, after which killing ability declined. High killing ability was shown to be advantageous when sensitive cells were present but costly when they were absent. Toxin resistance evolved via a two-step process, presumably involving the fitness-enhancing loss of one chromosome followed by selection of a recessive resistant mutation on the haploid chromosome. The other level of coevolution occurred between cell and killer virus. By swapping the killer viruses between ancestral and evolved strains, we could demonstrate that changes observed in both host and virus were beneficial only when combined, suggesting that they involved reciprocal changes. Together, our results show that the yeast killer system shows a remarkable potential for rapid multiple-level coevolution. PMID:27168531

  9. Characterization, Ecological Distribution, and Population Dynamics of Saccharomyces Sensu Stricto Killer Yeasts in the Spontaneous Grape Must Fermentations of Southwestern Spain

    PubMed Central

    Maqueda, Matilde; Zamora, Emiliano; Álvarez, María L.

    2012-01-01

    Killer yeasts secrete protein toxins that are lethal to sensitive strains of the same or related yeast species. Among the four types of Saccharomyces killer yeasts already described (K1, K2, K28, and Klus), we found K2 and Klus killer yeasts in spontaneous wine fermentations from southwestern Spain. Both phenotypes were encoded by medium-size double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) viruses, Saccharomyces cerevisiae virus (ScV)-M2 and ScV-Mlus, whose genome sizes ranged from 1.3 to 1.75 kb and from 2.1 to 2.3 kb, respectively. The K2 yeasts were found in all the wine-producing subareas for all the vintages analyzed, while the Klus yeasts were found in the warmer subareas and mostly in the warmer ripening/harvest seasons. The middle-size isotypes of the M2 dsRNA were the most frequent among K2 yeasts, probably because they encoded the most intense K2 killer phenotype. However, the smallest isotype of the Mlus dsRNA was the most frequent for Klus yeasts, although it encoded the least intense Klus killer phenotype. The killer yeasts were present in most (59.5%) spontaneous fermentations. Most were K2, with Klus being the minority. The proportion of killer yeasts increased during fermentation, while the proportion of sensitive yeasts decreased. The fermentation speed, malic acid, and wine organoleptic quality decreased in those fermentations where the killer yeasts replaced at least 15% of a dominant population of sensitive yeasts, while volatile acidity and lactic acid increased, and the amount of bacteria in the tumultuous and the end fermentation stages also increased in an unusual way. PMID:22101056

  10. Population substructure of North Atlantic minke whales ( Balaenoptera acutorostrata) inferred from regional variation of elemental and stable isotopic signatures in tissues

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Born, E. W.; Outridge, P.; Riget, F. F.; Hobson, K. A.; Dietz, R.; Øien, N.; Haug, T.

    2003-09-01

    Information on population structure is essential for estimating population demographics and managing the impacts of exploitation of North Atlantic minke whales ( Balaenoptera acutorostrata). New approaches including assessment of geochemical signatures in tissues can assist in defining such structure. This study determined regional variations in long-term elemental diagnostics of stock differences among 159 minke whales harvested in West Greenland, the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea in 1998. The diagnostics tested included mercury (Hg), selenium (Se) and cadmium (Cd) in various tissues, and the trace and major element composition of baleen. Supporting data was also gathered on δ15N and δ13C and stable lead isotope ratios. For female whales, significant differences in at least one long-term diagnostic element occurred between several areas. Existence of the following population substructure was inferred: (a) West Greenland, (b) a central group represented by whales from Jan Mayen, (c) a northeastern stock encompassing the Barents Sea, Svalbard and coastal Norway, and (d) the North Sea. These groups were consistent with those defined genetically by Andersen et al. [Mar. Ecol., Prog. Ser. 247 (2003) 263]. Males appeared to fall into similar groupings to females but because of smaller sample sizes fewer significant differences occurred between areas. Stable-isotopic values in minke whales suggested lower trophic-level feeding in this species than hitherto suspected, with significant dietary differences between areas. Variations in feeding habits appeared to explain part of the geographical variation in tissue Cd, but not tissue Hg or Se. Differences among elements with a relatively long biological half-life in specific tissues suggested that groups of minke whales have fidelity to certain summer feeding areas at least for several years.

  11. Predicted decline of protected whales based on molecular genetic monitoring of Japanese and Korean markets.

    PubMed Central

    Baker, C S; Lento, G M; Cipriano, F; Palumbi, S R

    2000-01-01

    We present a two-tiered analysis of molecular genetic variation in order to determine the origins of whale' products purchased from retail markets in Japan and the Republic of (South) Korea during 1993-1999. This approach combined phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences for identification of protected species with a statistical comparison of intraspecific haplotype frequencies for distinguishing regional subpopulations or 'stocks' hunted for scientific research by the Japanese and killed incidentally in coastal fisheries by the Koreans. The phylogenetic identification of 655 products included eight species or subspecies of baleen whales, sperm whales, a pygmy sperm whale, two species of beaked whales, porpoises, killer whales and numerous species of dolphins as well as domestic sheep and horses. Six of the baleen whale species (the fin, sei, common-form and small-form Bryde's, blue or blue/fin hybrid, and humpback) and the sperm whale are protected by international agreements dating back to at least 1989 for all species and 1966 for some species. We compared the haplotype frequencies from the Japanese market sample to those reported from scientific hunting in the western North Pacific stock for products derived from the exploited North Pacific minke whale. The market sample differed significantly from the scientific catch (p < 0.001), showing a greater than expected frequency of haplotypes characteristic of the protected Sea of Japan stock. We used a 'mixed-stock' analysis and maximum-likelihood methods to estimate that 31% (95% confidence interval 19-43%) of the market for this species originated from the Sea of Japan stock. The source of these products was assumed to be undocumented 'incidental takes' from fisheries' by-catch, although we cannot exclude the possibility of illegal hunting or smuggling. The demographic impact of this undocumented exploitation was evaluated using the model of population dynamics adopted by the Scientific Committee of

  12. Predicted decline of protected whales based on molecular genetic monitoring of Japanese and Korean markets.

    PubMed

    Baker, C S; Lento, G M; Cipriano, F; Palumbi, S R

    2000-06-22

    We present a two-tiered analysis of molecular genetic variation in order to determine the origins of whale' products purchased from retail markets in Japan and the Republic of (South) Korea during 1993-1999. This approach combined phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences for identification of protected species with a statistical comparison of intraspecific haplotype frequencies for distinguishing regional subpopulations or 'stocks' hunted for scientific research by the Japanese and killed incidentally in coastal fisheries by the Koreans. The phylogenetic identification of 655 products included eight species or subspecies of baleen whales, sperm whales, a pygmy sperm whale, two species of beaked whales, porpoises, killer whales and numerous species of dolphins as well as domestic sheep and horses. Six of the baleen whale species (the fin, sei, common-form and small-form Bryde's, blue or blue/fin hybrid, and humpback) and the sperm whale are protected by international agreements dating back to at least 1989 for all species and 1966 for some species. We compared the haplotype frequencies from the Japanese market sample to those reported from scientific hunting in the western North Pacific stock for products derived from the exploited North Pacific minke whale. The market sample differed significantly from the scientific catch (p < 0.001), showing a greater than expected frequency of haplotypes characteristic of the protected Sea of Japan stock. We used a 'mixed-stock' analysis and maximum-likelihood methods to estimate that 31% (95% confidence interval 19-43%) of the market for this species originated from the Sea of Japan stock. The source of these products was assumed to be undocumented 'incidental takes' from fisheries' by-catch, although we cannot exclude the possibility of illegal hunting or smuggling. The demographic impact of this undocumented exploitation was evaluated using the model of population dynamics adopted by the Scientific Committee of

  13. Whales from Space: Counting Southern Right Whales by Satellite

    PubMed Central

    Fretwell, Peter T.; Staniland, Iain J.; Forcada, Jaume

    2014-01-01

    We describe a method of identifying and counting whales using very high resolution satellite imagery through the example of southern right whales breeding in part of the Golfo Nuevo, Península Valdés in Argentina. Southern right whales have been extensively hunted over the last 300 years and although numbers have recovered from near extinction in the early 20th century, current populations are fragmented and are estimated at only a small fraction of pre-hunting total. Recent extreme right whale calf mortality events at Península Valdés, which constitutes the largest single population, have raised fresh concern for the future of the species. The WorldView2 satellite has a maximum 50 cm resolution and a water penetrating coastal band in the far-blue part of the spectrum that allows it to see deeper into the water column. Using an image covering 113 km2, we identified 55 probable whales and 23 other features that are possibly whales, with a further 13 objects that are only detected by the coastal band. Comparison of a number of classification techniques, to automatically detect whale-like objects, showed that a simple thresholding technique of the panchromatic and coastal band delivered the best results. This is the first successful study using satellite imagery to count whales; a pragmatic, transferable method using this rapidly advancing technology that has major implications for future surveys of cetacean populations. PMID:24533131

  14. Whales from space: counting southern right whales by satellite.

    PubMed

    Fretwell, Peter T; Staniland, Iain J; Forcada, Jaume

    2014-01-01

    We describe a method of identifying and counting whales using very high resolution satellite imagery through the example of southern right whales breeding in part of the Golfo Nuevo, Península Valdés in Argentina. Southern right whales have been extensively hunted over the last 300 years and although numbers have recovered from near extinction in the early 20(th) century, current populations are fragmented and are estimated at only a small fraction of pre-hunting total. Recent extreme right whale calf mortality events at Península Valdés, which constitutes the largest single population, have raised fresh concern for the future of the species. The WorldView2 satellite has a maximum 50 cm resolution and a water penetrating coastal band in the far-blue part of the spectrum that allows it to see deeper into the water column. Using an image covering 113 km², we identified 55 probable whales and 23 other features that are possibly whales, with a further 13 objects that are only detected by the coastal band. Comparison of a number of classification techniques, to automatically detect whale-like objects, showed that a simple thresholding technique of the panchromatic and coastal band delivered the best results. This is the first successful study using satellite imagery to count whales; a pragmatic, transferable method using this rapidly advancing technology that has major implications for future surveys of cetacean populations. PMID:24533131

  15. Horizontal Movements, Migration Patterns, and Population Structure of Whale Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico and Northwestern Caribbean Sea

    PubMed Central

    Hueter, Robert E.; Tyminski, John P.; de la Parra, Rafael

    2013-01-01

    Whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, aggregate by the hundreds in a summer feeding area off the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean Sea. The aggregation remains in the nutrient-rich waters off Isla Holbox, Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo for several months in the summer and then dissipates between August and October. Little has been known about where these sharks come from or migrate to after they disperse. From 2003–2012, we used conventional visual tags, photo-identification, and satellite tags to characterize the basic population structure and large-scale horizontal movements of whale sharks that come to this feeding area off Mexico. The aggregation comprised sharks ranging 2.5–10.0 m in total length and included juveniles, subadults, and adults of both sexes, with a male-biased sex ratio (72%). Individual sharks remained in the area for an estimated mean duration of 24–33 days with maximum residency up to about 6 months as determined by photo-identification. After leaving the feeding area the sharks showed horizontal movements in multiple directions throughout the Gulf of Mexico basin, the northwestern Caribbean Sea, and the Straits of Florida. Returns of individual sharks to the Quintana Roo feeding area in subsequent years were common, with some animals returning for six consecutive years. One female shark with an estimated total length of 7.5 m moved at least 7,213 km in 150 days, traveling through the northern Caribbean Sea and across the equator to the South Atlantic Ocean where her satellite tag popped up near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. We hypothesize this journey to the open waters of the Mid-Atlantic was for reproductive purposes but alternative explanations are considered. The broad movements of whale sharks across multiple political boundaries corroborates genetics data supporting gene flow between geographically distinct areas and underscores the need for management and conservation strategies

  16. Horizontal movements, migration patterns, and population structure of whale sharks in the Gulf of Mexico and northwestern Caribbean sea.

    PubMed

    Hueter, Robert E; Tyminski, John P; de la Parra, Rafael

    2013-01-01

    Whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, aggregate by the hundreds in a summer feeding area off the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean Sea. The aggregation remains in the nutrient-rich waters off Isla Holbox, Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo for several months in the summer and then dissipates between August and October. Little has been known about where these sharks come from or migrate to after they disperse. From 2003-2012, we used conventional visual tags, photo-identification, and satellite tags to characterize the basic population structure and large-scale horizontal movements of whale sharks that come to this feeding area off Mexico. The aggregation comprised sharks ranging 2.5-10.0 m in total length and included juveniles, subadults, and adults of both sexes, with a male-biased sex ratio (72%). Individual sharks remained in the area for an estimated mean duration of 24-33 days with maximum residency up to about 6 months as determined by photo-identification. After leaving the feeding area the sharks showed horizontal movements in multiple directions throughout the Gulf of Mexico basin, the northwestern Caribbean Sea, and the Straits of Florida. Returns of individual sharks to the Quintana Roo feeding area in subsequent years were common, with some animals returning for six consecutive years. One female shark with an estimated total length of 7.5 m moved at least 7,213 km in 150 days, traveling through the northern Caribbean Sea and across the equator to the South Atlantic Ocean where her satellite tag popped up near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. We hypothesize this journey to the open waters of the Mid-Atlantic was for reproductive purposes but alternative explanations are considered. The broad movements of whale sharks across multiple political boundaries corroborates genetics data supporting gene flow between geographically distinct areas and underscores the need for management and conservation strategies for

  17. Investigating Population Genetic Structure in a Highly Mobile Marine Organism: The Minke Whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata acutorostrata in the North East Atlantic

    PubMed Central

    Quintela, María; Skaug, Hans J.; Øien, Nils; Haug, Tore; Seliussen, Bjørghild B.; Solvang, Hiroko K.; Pampoulie, Christophe; Kanda, Naohisa; Pastene, Luis A.; Glover, Kevin A.

    2014-01-01

    Inferring the number of genetically distinct populations and their levels of connectivity is of key importance for the sustainable management and conservation of wildlife. This represents an extra challenge in the marine environment where there are few physical barriers to gene-flow, and populations may overlap in time and space. Several studies have investigated the population genetic structure within the North Atlantic minke whale with contrasting results. In order to address this issue, we analyzed ten microsatellite loci and 331 bp of the mitochondrial D-loop on 2990 whales sampled in the North East Atlantic in the period 2004 and 2007–2011. The primary findings were: (1) No spatial or temporal genetic differentiations were observed for either class of genetic marker. (2) mtDNA identified three distinct mitochondrial lineages without any underlying geographical pattern. (3) Nuclear markers showed evidence of a single panmictic population in the NE Atlantic according STRUCTURE's highest average likelihood found at K = 1. (4) When K = 2 was accepted, based on the Evanno's test, whales were divided into two more or less equally sized groups that showed significant genetic differentiation between them but without any sign of underlying geographic pattern. However, mtDNA for these individuals did not corroborate the differentiation. (5) In order to further evaluate the potential for cryptic structuring, a set of 100 in silico generated panmictic populations was examined using the same procedures as above showing genetic differentiation between two artificially divided groups, similar to the aforementioned observations. This demonstrates that clustering methods may spuriously reveal cryptic genetic structure. Based upon these data, we find no evidence to support the existence of spatial or cryptic population genetic structure of minke whales within the NE Atlantic. However, in order to conclusively evaluate population structure within this highly mobile

  18. Diversity of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor genes in the Bengali population of northern West Bengal, India.

    PubMed

    Guha, P; Bhattacharjee, S; Chaudhuri, T K

    2014-12-01

    The Indian Subcontinent exhibits extensive diversity in its culture, religion, ethnicity and linguistic heritage, which symbolizes extensive genetic variations within the populations. The highly polymorphic Killer cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptor (KIR) family plays an important role in tracing genetic differentiation in human population. In this study, we aimed to analyse the KIR gene polymorphism in the Bengali population of northern West Bengal, India. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the KIR gene polymorphism in the Bengalis of West Bengal, India. Herein, we have studied the distribution of 14 KIR genes (KIR3DL1-3DL3, KIR2DL1-2DL5, KIR2DS1-2DS5 AND KIR3DS1) and two pseudogenes (KIR3DP1 and 2DP1) in the Bengalis. Apart from the framework genes (KIR2DL4, 3DL2, 3DL3 and 3DP1), which are present in all the individuals, the gene frequencies of other KIR genes varied between 0.34 and 0.88. Moreover, upon comparing the KIR polymorphism of the Bengalis with the available published data of other world populations, it has been found that the Indo-European-speaking Bengalis from the region share both Dravidian and Indo-Aryan gene pool with considerable influences of mongoloid and European descents. Furthermore, evidences from previously published data on human leucocyte antigen and Y-chromosome haplogroup diversity support the view. Our results will help to understand the genetic background of the Bengali population, in illustrating the population migration events in the eastern and north-eastern part of India, in explaining the extensive genetic admixture amongst the different linguistic groups of the region and also in KIR-related disease researches. PMID:25205074

  19. Reproductive system impairment of mice fed diets containing beluga whale blubber from the St Lawrence estuary and arctic populations.

    PubMed

    Ruby, Sylvia; Mendoza, Luz Tavera; Fournier, Michel; Brousseau, Pauline; Dégas, V

    2003-06-13

    The toxic potential of naturally relevant mixtures of PCBs and other organohalogens on the reproductive system of C57Bl/6 female mice was assessed. Mice were fed diets in which lipids were replaced by blubber of beluga whales from a highly contaminated population of the Saint Lawrence River, and a less contaminated population from the Arctic Ocean. Ratios of blubber from both sources were mixed in order to perform a dose-response study. Control mice were fed diets for 90 d in which fat was replaced by corn oil or beef tallow. There were no significant effects of diets on body, liver, spleen or thymus weights. Similarly ovulation occurred in all control and experimental groups. However, Graafian follicles from ovaries of mice fed contaminated diets showed abnormal development of oocytes. Cumulus granulosa cells bind normally to the oocyte prior to ovulation and are essential for sperm penetration and fertilization. These cells were absent in both Graafian follicles and ovulated oocytes in the oviduct of all groups fed contaminated diets. Oviducts of these mice revealed evidence of epithelial degeneration. These results suggest the female mouse reproductive system is sensitive to organohalogens and illustrate the toxic potential of contaminant mixtures as found in the less contaminated Arctic population. PMID:12775517

  20. Killer Cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptor Genotype and Haplotype Investigation of Natural Killer Cells from an Australian Population of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Patients

    PubMed Central

    Huth, T. K.; Brenu, E. W.; Staines, D. R.; Marshall-Gradisnik, S. M.

    2016-01-01

    Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) genes encode for activating and inhibitory surface receptors, which are correlated with the regulation of Natural Killer (NK) cell cytotoxic activity. Reduced NK cell cytotoxic activity has been consistently reported in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) patients, and KIR haplotypes and allelic polymorphism remain to be investigated. The aim of this article was to conduct a pilot study to examine KIR genotypes, haplotypes, and allelic polymorphism in CFS/ME patients and nonfatigued controls (NFCs). Comparison of KIR and allelic polymorphism frequencies revealed no significant differences between 20 CFS/ME patients and 20 NFCs. A lower frequency of the telomeric A/B motif (P < 0.05) was observed in CFS/ME patients compared with NFCs. This pilot study is the first to report the differences in the frequency of KIR on the telomeric A/B motif in CFS/ME patients. Further studies with a larger CFS/ME cohort are required to validate these results. PMID:27346947

  1. Killer Cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptor Genotype and Haplotype Investigation of Natural Killer Cells from an Australian Population of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Patients.

    PubMed

    Huth, T K; Brenu, E W; Staines, D R; Marshall-Gradisnik, S M

    2016-01-01

    Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) genes encode for activating and inhibitory surface receptors, which are correlated with the regulation of Natural Killer (NK) cell cytotoxic activity. Reduced NK cell cytotoxic activity has been consistently reported in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) patients, and KIR haplotypes and allelic polymorphism remain to be investigated. The aim of this article was to conduct a pilot study to examine KIR genotypes, haplotypes, and allelic polymorphism in CFS/ME patients and nonfatigued controls (NFCs). Comparison of KIR and allelic polymorphism frequencies revealed no significant differences between 20 CFS/ME patients and 20 NFCs. A lower frequency of the telomeric A/B motif (P < 0.05) was observed in CFS/ME patients compared with NFCs. This pilot study is the first to report the differences in the frequency of KIR on the telomeric A/B motif in CFS/ME patients. Further studies with a larger CFS/ME cohort are required to validate these results. PMID:27346947

  2. Human Circulating and Tissue-Resident CD56bright Natural Killer Cell Populations

    PubMed Central

    Melsen, Janine E.; Lugthart, Gertjan; Lankester, Arjan C.; Schilham, Marco W.

    2016-01-01

    Two human natural killer (NK) cell subsets are usually distinguished, displaying the CD56dimCD16+ and the CD56brightCD16−/+ phenotype. This distinction is based on NK cells present in blood, where the CD56dim NK cells predominate. However, CD56bright NK cells outnumber CD56dim NK cells in the human body due to the fact that they are predominant in peripheral and lymphoid tissues. Interestingly, within the total CD56bright NK cell compartment, a major phenotypical and functional diversity is observed, as demonstrated by the discovery of tissue-resident CD56bright NK cells in the uterus, liver, and lymphoid tissues. Uterus-resident CD56bright NK cells express CD49a while the liver- and lymphoid tissue-resident CD56bright NK cells are characterized by co-expression of CD69 and CXCR6. Tissue-resident CD56bright NK cells have a low natural cytotoxicity and produce little interferon-γ upon monokine stimulation. Their distribution and specific phenotype suggest that the tissue-resident CD56bright NK cells exert tissue-specific functions. In this review, we examine the CD56bright NK cell diversity by discussing the distribution, phenotype, and function of circulating and tissue-resident CD56bright NK cells. In addition, we address the ongoing debate concerning the developmental relationship between circulating CD56bright and CD56dim NK cells and speculate on the position of tissue-resident CD56bright NK cells. We conclude that distinguishing tissue-resident CD56bright NK cells from circulating CD56bright NK cells is a prerequisite for the better understanding of the specific role of CD56bright NK cells in the complex process of human immune regulation. PMID:27446091

  3. Population structure and residency of whale sharks Rhincodon typus at Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras.

    PubMed

    Fox, S; Foisy, I; De La Parra Venegas, R; Galván Pastoriza, B E; Graham, R T; Hoffmayer, E R; Holmberg, J; Pierce, S J

    2013-09-01

    There were 479 reported whale shark Rhincodon typus encounters between 1999 and 2011 at the island of Utila, which forms part of the Meso-American Barrier Reef System (MBRS) in the western Caribbean Sea. The majority of R. typus were found to feed on small bait fish associated with various tuna species. Ninety-five individual R. typus, ranging from 2 to 11 m total length (LT ), were identified through their unique spot patterns. A significant male bias (65%) was present. There was no significant difference between the mean ± s.d. LT of female (6·66 ± 1·65 m) and male (6·25 ± 1·60 m) R. typus. Most R. typus were transient to Utila, with 78% sighted only within a single calendar year, although some individuals were sighted in up to 5 years. Mean residency time was modelled to be 11·76 days using maximum likelihood methods. PMID:23991875

  4. Sound production by singing humpback whales.

    PubMed

    Mercado, Eduardo; Schneider, Jennifer N; Pack, Adam A; Herman, Louis M

    2010-04-01

    Sounds from humpback whale songs were analyzed to evaluate possible mechanisms of sound production. Song sounds fell along a continuum with trains of discrete pulses at one end and continuous tonal signals at the other. This graded vocal repertoire is comparable to that seen in false killer whales [Murray et al. (1998). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 104, 1679-1688] and human singers, indicating that all three species generate sounds by varying the tension of pneumatically driven, vibrating membranes. Patterns in the spectral content of sounds and in nonlinear sound features show that resonating air chambers may also contribute to humpback whale sound production. Collectively, these findings suggest that categorizing individual units within songs into discrete types may obscure how singers modulate song features and illustrate how production-based characterizations of vocalizations can provide new insights into how humpback whales sing. PMID:20370048

  5. High thresholds for avoidance of sonar by free-ranging long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas).

    PubMed

    Antunes, R; Kvadsheim, P H; Lam, F P A; Tyack, P L; Thomas, L; Wensveen, P J; Miller, P J O

    2014-06-15

    The potential effects of exposing marine mammals to military sonar is a current concern. Dose-response relationships are useful for predicting potential environmental impacts of specific operations. To reveal behavioral response thresholds of exposure to sonar, we conducted 18 exposure/control approaches to 6 long-finned pilot whales. Source level and proximity of sonar transmitting one of two frequency bands (1-2 kHz and 6-7 kHz) were increased during exposure sessions. The 2-dimensional movement tracks were analyzed using a changepoint method to identify the avoidance response thresholds which were used to estimate dose-response relationships. No support for an effect of sonar frequency or previous exposures on the probability of response was found. Estimated response thresholds at which 50% of population show avoidance (SPLmax=170 dB re 1 μPa, SELcum=173 dB re 1 μPa(2) s) were higher than previously found for other cetaceans. The US Navy currently uses a generic dose-response relationship to predict the responses of cetaceans to naval active sonar, which has been found to underestimate behavioural impacts on killer whales and beaked whales. The navy curve appears to match more closely our results with long-finned pilot whales, though it might underestimate the probability of avoidance for pilot-whales at long distances from sonar sources. PMID:24820645

  6. Classification of large acoustic datasets using machine learning and crowdsourcing: application to whale calls.

    PubMed

    Shamir, Lior; Yerby, Carol; Simpson, Robert; von Benda-Beckmann, Alexander M; Tyack, Peter; Samarra, Filipa; Miller, Patrick; Wallin, John

    2014-02-01

    Vocal communication is a primary communication method of killer and pilot whales, and is used for transmitting a broad range of messages and information for short and long distance. The large variation in call types of these species makes it challenging to categorize them. In this study, sounds recorded by audio sensors carried by ten killer whales and eight pilot whales close to the coasts of Norway, Iceland, and the Bahamas were analyzed using computer methods and citizen scientists as part of the Whale FM project. Results show that the computer analysis automatically separated the killer whales into Icelandic and Norwegian whales, and the pilot whales were separated into Norwegian long-finned and Bahamas short-finned pilot whales, showing that at least some whales from these two locations have different acoustic repertoires that can be sensed by the computer analysis. The citizen science analysis was also able to separate the whales to locations by their sounds, but the separation was somewhat less accurate compared to the computer method. PMID:25234903

  7. Whaling: will the Phoenix rise again?

    PubMed

    Holt, Sidney J

    2007-08-01

    it has important implications for attempts by the international community either to bring a negotiated end to commercial whaling or to bring all whaling back under international control, as the international law of the sea requires, and to ensure that any permitted exploitation of recovered whale populations will be sustainable, under a precautionary regime. PMID:17597163

  8. Population Structure, Abundance and Movement of Whale Sharks in the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman

    PubMed Central

    Robinson, David P.; Jaidah, Mohammed Y.; Bach, Steffen; Lee, Katie; Jabado, Rima W.; Rohner, Christoph A.; March, Abi; Caprodossi, Simone; Henderson, Aaron C.; Mair, James M.; Ormond, Rupert; Pierce, Simon J.

    2016-01-01

    Data on the occurrence of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman were collected by dedicated boat surveys and via a public-sightings scheme during the period from 2011 to 2014. A total of 422 individual whale sharks were photo-identified from the Arabian Gulf and the northern Gulf of Oman during that period. The majority of sharks (81%, n = 341) were encountered at the Al Shaheen area of Qatar, 90 km off the coast, with the Musandam region of Oman a secondary area of interest. At Al Shaheen, there were significantly more male sharks (n = 171) than females (n = 78; X2 = 17.52, P < 0.05). Mean estimated total length (TL) for sharks was 6.90 m ± 1.24 (median = 7 m; n = 296). Males (7.25 m ± 1.34; median = 8 m, n = 171) were larger than females (6.44 m ±1.09; median = 7 m, n = 78; Mann-Whitney U test, p < 0.01). Of the male sharks assessed for maturity 63% were mature (n = 81), with 50% attaining maturity by 7.29 m and 100% by 9.00 m. Two female sharks of >9 m individuals were visually assessed as pregnant. Connectivity among sharks sighted in Qatari, Omani and UAE waters was confirmed by individual spot pattern matches. A total of 13 identified sharks were re-sighted at locations other than that at which they were first sighted, including movements into and out of the Arabian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz. Maximum likelihood techniques were used to model an estimated combined population for the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman of 2837 sharks ± 1243.91 S.E. (95% C.I. 1720–6295). The Al Shaheen aggregation is thus the first site described as being dominated by mature males while the free-swimming pregnant females are the first reported from the Indian Ocean. PMID:27362839

  9. Population Structure, Abundance and Movement of Whale Sharks in the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

    PubMed

    Robinson, David P; Jaidah, Mohammed Y; Bach, Steffen; Lee, Katie; Jabado, Rima W; Rohner, Christoph A; March, Abi; Caprodossi, Simone; Henderson, Aaron C; Mair, James M; Ormond, Rupert; Pierce, Simon J

    2016-01-01

    Data on the occurrence of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, in the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman were collected by dedicated boat surveys and via a public-sightings scheme during the period from 2011 to 2014. A total of 422 individual whale sharks were photo-identified from the Arabian Gulf and the northern Gulf of Oman during that period. The majority of sharks (81%, n = 341) were encountered at the Al Shaheen area of Qatar, 90 km off the coast, with the Musandam region of Oman a secondary area of interest. At Al Shaheen, there were significantly more male sharks (n = 171) than females (n = 78; X2 = 17.52, P < 0.05). Mean estimated total length (TL) for sharks was 6.90 m ± 1.24 (median = 7 m; n = 296). Males (7.25 m ± 1.34; median = 8 m, n = 171) were larger than females (6.44 m ±1.09; median = 7 m, n = 78; Mann-Whitney U test, p < 0.01). Of the male sharks assessed for maturity 63% were mature (n = 81), with 50% attaining maturity by 7.29 m and 100% by 9.00 m. Two female sharks of >9 m individuals were visually assessed as pregnant. Connectivity among sharks sighted in Qatari, Omani and UAE waters was confirmed by individual spot pattern matches. A total of 13 identified sharks were re-sighted at locations other than that at which they were first sighted, including movements into and out of the Arabian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz. Maximum likelihood techniques were used to model an estimated combined population for the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman of 2837 sharks ± 1243.91 S.E. (95% C.I. 1720-6295). The Al Shaheen aggregation is thus the first site described as being dominated by mature males while the free-swimming pregnant females are the first reported from the Indian Ocean. PMID:27362839

  10. Baseline histopathological survey of a recently invading island population of 'killer shrimp', Dikerogammarus villosus.

    PubMed

    Bojko, J; Stebbing, P D; Bateman, K S; Meatyard, J E; Bacela-Spychalska, K; Dunn, A M; Stentiford, G D

    2013-11-01

    Dikerogammarus villosus, an invasive amphipod, has recently been detected in UK freshwaters. To assess the potential for pathogen introduction with the invader, a year-long histopathology survey of the D. villosus population inhabiting the initial site of detection (Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire, UK) was conducted. Additional samples were collected from 2 other subsequently identified populations within the UK (Cardiff Bay and Norfolk Broads), and from established populations in France (River Rhine) and Poland (River Vistula). The data revealed a range of pathogens and commensals. Several pathogens occurring within continental populations were not present within the UK populations. Microsporidian parasites and a novel viral pathogen were amongst those not observed in the UK. The absence of these pathogens at UK sites may therefore impart significant survival advantages to D. villosus over native fauna, thereby increasing its success as an invader. The contrast in pathogen profile between UK and continental-invasive populations of D. villosus provides preliminary evidence for so-called 'enemy release' in UK populations of D. villosus and is suggestive of single-point introductions, rather than continual incursion events as previously observed throughout its continental invasive range. This baseline survey provides important data on the pathogen and commensal profile of a high-impact, invasive species early in its invasion history of the UK. It can be utilised to assess potential for temporal pathogen acquisition by non-native invasive aquatic species and to investigate competitive advantages placed upon this invader due to absence of important pathogens experienced within its native range. PMID:24192001

  11. Beaked Whales Respond to Simulated and Actual Navy Sonar

    PubMed Central

    Tyack, Peter L.; Zimmer, Walter M. X.; Moretti, David; Southall, Brandon L.; Claridge, Diane E.; Durban, John W.; Clark, Christopher W.; D'Amico, Angela; DiMarzio, Nancy; Jarvis, Susan; McCarthy, Elena; Morrissey, Ronald; Ward, Jessica; Boyd, Ian L.

    2011-01-01

    Beaked whales have mass stranded during some naval sonar exercises, but the cause is unknown. They are difficult to sight but can reliably be detected by listening for echolocation clicks produced during deep foraging dives. Listening for these clicks, we documented Blainville's beaked whales, Mesoplodon densirostris, in a naval underwater range where sonars are in regular use near Andros Island, Bahamas. An array of bottom-mounted hydrophones can detect beaked whales when they click anywhere within the range. We used two complementary methods to investigate behavioral responses of beaked whales to sonar: an opportunistic approach that monitored whale responses to multi-day naval exercises involving tactical mid-frequency sonars, and an experimental approach using playbacks of simulated sonar and control sounds to whales tagged with a device that records sound, movement, and orientation. Here we show that in both exposure conditions beaked whales stopped echolocating during deep foraging dives and moved away. During actual sonar exercises, beaked whales were primarily detected near the periphery of the range, on average 16 km away from the sonar transmissions. Once the exercise stopped, beaked whales gradually filled in the center of the range over 2–3 days. A satellite tagged whale moved outside the range during an exercise, returning over 2–3 days post-exercise. The experimental approach used tags to measure acoustic exposure and behavioral reactions of beaked whales to one controlled exposure each of simulated military sonar, killer whale calls, and band-limited noise. The beaked whales reacted to these three sound playbacks at sound pressure levels below 142 dB re 1 µPa by stopping echolocation followed by unusually long and slow ascents from their foraging dives. The combined results indicate similar disruption of foraging behavior and avoidance by beaked whales in the two different contexts, at exposures well below those used by regulators to define

  12. Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) gene diversity in a population naturally exposed to malaria in Porto Velho, Northern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Perce-da-Silva, D S; Silva, L A; Lima-Junior, J C; Cardoso-Oliveira, J; Ribeiro-Alves, M; Santos, F; Porto, L C M S; Oliveira-Ferreira, J; Banic, D M

    2015-03-01

    Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) are expressed mainly in natural killer cells and specifically recognize human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules. The repertoire of KIR genes and KIR-HLA pairs is known to play a key role in the susceptibilities to and the outcomes of several diseases, including malaria. The aim of this study was to investigate the distribution of KIR genes, KIR genotypes and KIR-HLA pair combinations in a population naturally exposed to malaria from Brazilian Amazon. All 16 KIR genes investigated were present in the studied population. Overall, 46 KIR genotypes were defined. The two most common genotypes in the Porto Velho communities, genotypes 1 and 2, were present at similar frequencies as in the Americas. Principal component analysis based on the frequencies of the KIR genes placed the Porto Velho population closer to the Venezuela Mestizos, USA California hispanic and Brazil Paraná Mixed in terms of KIR gene frequencies. This analysis highlights the multi-ethnic profile of the Porto Velho population. Most of the individuals were found to have at least one inhibitory KIR-HLA pair. Seventy-five KIR-HLA pair combinations were identified. The KIR-2DL2/3_HLA-C1, KIR3DL1_HLA-Bw4 and KIR2DL1_HLA-C2 pairs were the most common. There was no association between KIR genes, KIR genotypes or KIR-HLA pair combinations and malaria susceptibility in the studied population. This is the first report on the distribution of KIR and known HLA ligands in the Porto Velho population. Taken together, these results should provide baseline information that will be relevant to population evolutionary history, malaria and other diseases studies in populations of the Brazilian Amazon. PMID:25656387

  13. Peripheral T-lymphocyte and natural killer cell population imbalance is associated with septic encephalopathy in patients with severe sepsis

    PubMed Central

    LU, CHENG-XIANG; QIU, TING; TONG, HUA-SHENG; LIU, ZHI-FENG; SU, LEI; CHENG, BIAO

    2016-01-01

    Septic encephalopathy (SE) is a diffuse cerebral dysfunction resulting from a systemic inflammatory response, and is associated with an increased risk of mortality. The pathogenesis of SE is complex and multifactorial, but unregulated immune imbalance may be an important factor. The current retrospective study examined the clinical data of 86 patients with severe sepsis who were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Zhongshan Hospital, Xiamen University (Xiamen, China) from January, 2014 to January, 2015. The patients were assigned to SE and non-SE patient groups according to the presence or absence of SE. The proportion of T-lymphocyte subsets and natural killer (NK) cells in the immune cell population, representing the function of the immune system, were analyzed for their association with SE and compared with other clinical predictors and biomarkers. The incidence of SE in the patients was 39.5%, and this group demonstrated higher mortality rates (38 vs. 10% in non-SE patients; P=0.001). Univariate analysis revealed that the SE patients reported a lower percentage of cluster of differentiation 4+(CD4+) T-lymphocytes (51.67±7.12 vs. 60.72±3.70% in non-SE patients; P<0.01), a lower CD4+/cluster of differentiation 8+(CD8+) ratio (1.59±0.32 vs. 1.85±0.26% in non-SE patients; P<0.01) and a higher percentage of NK cells (11.80±1.44 vs. 9.19±2.36% in non-SE patients; P<0.01). Using a binary logistic regression model, the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score and the percentage of CD4+ T-lymphocytes were demonstrated to be independently associated with SE (respectively, P=0.012 and OR, 4.763; P=0.005 and OR, 0.810). An area under the curve analysis of a receiver operating characteristic curve of the two indicators revealed that these were equally powerful measures in prediction of SE (Z=1.247, P>0.05). The present results confirm that SE leads to higher mortality in patients with severe sepsis, and demonstrate that immune imbalance is important

  14. Whale song analyses using bioinformatics sequence analysis approaches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Yian A.; Almeida, Jonas S.; Chou, Lien-Siang

    2005-04-01

    Animal songs are frequently analyzed using discrete hierarchical units, such as units, themes and songs. Because animal songs and bio-sequences may be understood as analogous, bioinformatics analysis tools DNA/protein sequence alignment and alignment-free methods are proposed to quantify the theme similarities of the songs of false killer whales recorded off northeast Taiwan. The eighteen themes with discrete units that were identified in an earlier study [Y. A. Chen, masters thesis, University of Charleston, 2001] were compared quantitatively using several distance metrics. These metrics included the scores calculated using the Smith-Waterman algorithm with the repeated procedure; the standardized Euclidian distance and the angle metrics based on word frequencies. The theme classifications based on different metrics were summarized and compared in dendrograms using cluster analyses. The results agree with earlier classifications derived by human observation qualitatively. These methods further quantify the similarities among themes. These methods could be applied to the analyses of other animal songs on a larger scale. For instance, these techniques could be used to investigate song evolution and cultural transmission quantifying the dissimilarities of humpback whale songs across different seasons, years, populations, and geographic regions. [Work supported by SC Sea Grant, and Ilan County Government, Taiwan.

  15. Phototoxic effects of lysosome-associated genetically encoded photosensitizer KillerRed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Serebrovskaya, Ekaterina O.; Ryumina, Alina P.; Boulina, Maria E.; Shirmanova, Marina V.; Zagaynova, Elena V.; Bogdanova, Ekaterina A.; Lukyanov, Sergey A.; Lukyanov, Konstantin A.

    2014-07-01

    KillerRed is a unique phototoxic red fluorescent protein that can be used to induce local oxidative stress by green-orange light illumination. Here we studied phototoxicity of KillerRed targeted to cytoplasmic surface of lysosomes via fusion with Rab7, a small GTPase that is known to be attached to membranes of late endosomes and lysosomes. It was found that lysosome-associated KillerRed ensures efficient light-induced cell death similar to previously reported mitochondria- and plasma membrane-localized KillerRed. Inhibitory analysis demonstrated that lysosomal cathepsins play an important role in the manifestation of KillerRed-Rab7 phototoxicity. Time-lapse monitoring of cell morphology, membrane integrity, and nuclei shape allowed us to conclude that KillerRed-Rab7-mediated cell death occurs via necrosis at high light intensity or via apoptosis at lower light intensity. Potentially, KillerRed-Rab7 can be used as an optogenetic tool to direct target cell populations to either apoptosis or necrosis.

  16. Advanced Whale Detection Methods to Improve Whale-Ship Collision Avoidance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGillivary, P. A.; Tougher, B.

    2010-12-01

    Collisions between whales and ships are now estimated to account for fully a third of all whale deaths worldwide. Such collisions can incur costly ship repairs, and may damage or disable ship steering requiring costly response efforts from state and federal agencies. While collisions with rare whale species are problematic in further reducing their low population numbers, collisions with some of the more abundant whale species are also becoming more common as their populations increase. The problem is compounded as ship traffic likewise continues to grow, thus posing a growing risk to both whales and ships. Federal agencies are considering policies to alter shipping lanes to minimize whale-ship collisions off California and elsewhere. Similar efforts have already been undertaken for the Boston Harbor ship approach, where a bend in the shipping lane was introduced to reduce ship traffic through a favorite area of the highly endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. The Boston shipping approach lane was also flanked with a system of moorings with whale detection hydrophones which broadcast the presence of calling whales in or near the ship channel to approaching ships in real time. When so notified, ships can post lookouts to avoid whale collisions, and reduce speed to reduce the likelihood of whale death, which is highly speed dependent. To reduce the likelihood and seriousness of whale-ship collisions off California and Alaska in particular, there is a need to better know areas of particularly high use by whales, and consider implementation of reduced ship speeds in these areas. There is also an ongoing discussion of altering shipping lanes in the Santa Barbara Channel to avoid habitual Blue whales aggregation areas in particular. However, unlike the case for Boston Harbor, notification of ships that whales are nearby to reduce or avoid collisions is complicated because many California and Alaska whale species do not call regularly, and would thus be undetected by

  17. Studying Fin Whales with Seafloor Seismic Networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilcock, W. S.; Soule, D. C.; Weirathmueller, M.; Thomson, R.

    2011-12-01

    Baleen whales are found throughout the world's oceans and their welfare captivates the general public. Depending on the species, baleen whales vocalize at frequencies ranging from ~10 Hz to several kilohertz. Passive acoustic studies of whale calls are used to investigate behavior and habitat usage, monitor the recovery of populations from whaling and assess the impacts of anthropogenic sounds. Since airguns are a significant source of sound in the oceans, the research goals of academic seismologists can lead to conflicts with those who advocate for whale conservation while being unwilling to consider the societal benefits of marine geophysical studies. In contrast, studies that monitor earthquakes with ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs) provide an opportunity to enhance studies of baleen whales and improve relationships with environmental advocates. The bandwidth of the typical high-frequency or intermediate-band ocean bottom seismometer overlaps the call frequency of the two largest baleen whale species; blue whales generate sequences of 10- to 20-s-long calls centered at ~16 Hz and fin whales produce long sequences of downswept 1-s-long chirps centered at ~20 Hz. Several studies have demonstrated the potential of OBS networks to monitor calling patterns and determine tracks for fin and blue whales. We will summarize the results from a study to track fin whales near the Endeavour hydrothermal vent fields on the Juan de Fuca Ridge and investigate a potential correlation between the density of whales and enhanced zooplankton found throughout the water column overlying the vent fields. From 2003-2006 an 8-station local seismic network that was designed to monitor hydrothermal earthquakes also recorded ~300,000 fin whale vocalizations, mostly in the fall and winter. Automatic picking and localization techniques that are analogous to those used to analyze earthquakes are employed to determine whale tracks. The tracks are then used to interpret calling patterns in the

  18. Mortality rate acceleration and post-reproductive lifespan in matrilineal whale species.

    PubMed

    Foote, Andrew D

    2008-04-23

    The strength of selection to increase the span of a life stage is dependent upon individuals at that stage being able to contribute towards individual fitness and the probability of their surviving to that stage. Complete reproductive cessation and a long post-reproductive female lifespan as found in humans are also found in killer whale (Orcinus orca) and short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), but not in the long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melaena). Each species forms kin-based, stable matrilineal groups and exhibits kin-directed behaviours that could increase inclusive fitness. Here, the initial mortality rate and mortality rate-doubling time of females of these three closely related whale species are compared. The initial mortality rate shows little variation among pilot whale species; however mortality rate accelerates almost twice as fast in the long-finned pilot whale as it does in killer whale and short-finned pilot whale. Selection for a long post-reproductive female lifespan in matrilineal whales may therefore be determined by the proportion of females surviving past the point of reproductive cessation. PMID:18252662

  19. Are Antarctic minke whales unusually abundant because of 20th century whaling?

    PubMed

    Ruegg, Kristen C; Anderson, Eric C; Scott Baker, C; Vant, Murdoch; Jackson, Jennifer A; Palumbi, Stephen R

    2010-01-01

    Severe declines in megafauna worldwide illuminate the role of top predators in ecosystem structure. In the Antarctic, the Krill Surplus Hypothesis posits that the killing of more than 2 million large whales led to competitive release for smaller krill-eating species like the Antarctic minke whale. If true, the current size of the Antarctic minke whale population may be unusually high as an indirect result of whaling. Here, we estimate the long-term population size of the Antarctic minke whale prior to whaling by sequencing 11 nuclear genetic markers from 52 modern samples purchased in Japanese meat markets. We use coalescent simulations to explore the potential influence of population substructure and find that even though our samples are drawn from a limited geographic area, our estimate reflects ocean-wide genetic diversity. Using Bayesian estimates of the mutation rate and coalescent-based analyses of genetic diversity across loci, we calculate the long-term population size of the Antarctic minke whale to be 670,000 individuals (95% confidence interval: 374,000-1,150,000). Our estimate of long-term abundance is similar to, or greater than, contemporary abundance estimates, suggesting that managing Antarctic ecosystems under the assumption that Antarctic minke whales are unusually abundant is not warranted. PMID:20025655

  20. Population structure and residency patterns of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, at a provisioning site in Cebu, Philippines.

    PubMed

    Araujo, Gonzalo; Lucey, Anna; Labaja, Jessica; So, Catherine Lee; Snow, Sally; Ponzo, Alessandro

    2014-01-01

    This study represents the first description of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, occurring at a provisioning site in Oslob, Cebu, Philippines. Frequent observations of sharks are often difficult, even at tourism sites, giving rise to provisioning activities to attract them. The present study provides repeated longitudinal data at a site where daily provisioning activities took place, and whale sharks were present every day. A total of 158 individual whale sharks were photographically identified between Mar 2012 and Dec 2013, with 129 males (82%), 19 females (12%) and 10 (6%) of undetermined sex. Mean estimated total length was 5.5 m (±1.3 m S.D.). Twenty individuals were measured with laser photogrammetry to validate researchers' estimated sizes, yielding a good correlation (r (2) = 0.83). Fifty-four (34%) individuals were observed being hand-fed by local fishermen (provisioned), through in-water behavioural observations. Maximum likelihood methods were used to model mean residency time of 44.9 days (±20.6 days S.E.) for provisioned R. typus contrasting with 22.4 days (±8.9 days S.E.) for non-provisioned individuals. Propeller scars were observed in 47% of the animals. A mean of 12.7 (±4.3 S.D.) R. typus were present in the survey area daily, with a maximum of 26 individuals (Aug 10 2013) and a minimum of 2 (Dec 6 2012). Twelve (8%) individuals were seen on at least 50% of survey days (n = 621), with a maximum residency of 572 days for one individual (P-396). Twenty four individuals were photographically identified across regional hotsposts, highlighting the species' migratory nature and distribution. Extended residency and differences in lagged identification rates suggest behavioural modification on provisioned individuals, underlying the necessity for proper management of this tourism activity. PMID:25279256

  1. Population structure and residency patterns of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, at a provisioning site in Cebu, Philippines

    PubMed Central

    Lucey, Anna; Labaja, Jessica; So, Catherine Lee; Snow, Sally; Ponzo, Alessandro

    2014-01-01

    This study represents the first description of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, occurring at a provisioning site in Oslob, Cebu, Philippines. Frequent observations of sharks are often difficult, even at tourism sites, giving rise to provisioning activities to attract them. The present study provides repeated longitudinal data at a site where daily provisioning activities took place, and whale sharks were present every day. A total of 158 individual whale sharks were photographically identified between Mar 2012 and Dec 2013, with 129 males (82%), 19 females (12%) and 10 (6%) of undetermined sex. Mean estimated total length was 5.5 m (±1.3 m S.D.). Twenty individuals were measured with laser photogrammetry to validate researchers’ estimated sizes, yielding a good correlation (r2 = 0.83). Fifty-four (34%) individuals were observed being hand-fed by local fishermen (provisioned), through in-water behavioural observations. Maximum likelihood methods were used to model mean residency time of 44.9 days (±20.6 days S.E.) for provisioned R. typus contrasting with 22.4 days (±8.9 days S.E.) for non-provisioned individuals. Propeller scars were observed in 47% of the animals. A mean of 12.7 (±4.3 S.D.) R. typus were present in the survey area daily, with a maximum of 26 individuals (Aug 10 2013) and a minimum of 2 (Dec 6 2012). Twelve (8%) individuals were seen on at least 50% of survey days (n = 621), with a maximum residency of 572 days for one individual (P-396). Twenty four individuals were photographically identified across regional hotsposts, highlighting the species’ migratory nature and distribution. Extended residency and differences in lagged identification rates suggest behavioural modification on provisioned individuals, underlying the necessity for proper management of this tourism activity. PMID:25279256

  2. Having a Whale of a Time

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    du Feu, Chris

    2009-01-01

    A classroom practical exercise exploring the reliability of a basic capture-mark-recapture method of population estimation is described using great whale conservation as a starting point. Various teaching resources are made available.

  3. Structural Basis for Phototoxicity of the Genetically Encoded Photosensitizer KillerRed

    SciTech Connect

    Pletnev, Sergei; Gurskaya, Nadya G.; Pletneva, Nadya V.; Lukyanov, Konstantin A.; Chudakov, Dmitri M.; Martynov, Vladimir I.; Popov, Vladimir O.; Kovalchuk, Mikhail V.; Wlodawer, Alexander; Dauter, Zbigniew; Pletnev, Vladimir

    2009-11-23

    KillerRed is the only known fluorescent protein that demonstrates notable phototoxicity, exceeding that of the other green and red fluorescent proteins by at least 1,000-fold. KillerRed could serve as an instrument to inactivate target proteins or to kill cell populations in photodynamic therapy. However, the nature of KillerRed phototoxicity has remained unclear, impeding the development of more phototoxic variants. Here we present the results of a high resolution crystallographic study of KillerRed in the active fluorescent and in the photobleached non-fluorescent states. A unique and striking feature of the structure is a water-filled channel reaching the chromophore area from the end cap of the {beta}-barrel that is probably one of the key structural features responsible for phototoxicity. A study of the structure-function relationship of KillerRed, supported by structure-based, site-directed mutagenesis, has also revealed the key residues most likely responsible for the phototoxic effect. In particular, Glu68 and Ser119, located adjacent to the chromophore, have been assigned as the primary trigger of the reaction chain.

  4. Whale Identification

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    R:BASE for DOS, a computer program developed under NASA contract, has been adapted by the National Marine Mammal Laboratory and the College of the Atlantic to provide and advanced computerized photo matching technique for identification of humpback whales. The program compares photos with stored digitized descriptions, enabling researchers to track and determine distribution and migration patterns. R:BASE is a spinoff of RIM (Relational Information Manager), which was used to store data for analyzing heat shielding tiles on the Space Shuttle Orbiter. It is now the world's second largest selling line of microcomputer database management software.

  5. Genotypic diversity of the Killer Cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIR) and their HLA class I Ligands in a Saudi population

    PubMed Central

    Omar, Suliman Y. Al; Alkuriji, Afrah; Alwasel, Saleh; Dar, javid Ahmed; Alhammad, Alwaleed; Christmas, Stephen; Mansour, Lamjed

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Killer Cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIR) have been used as good markers for the study of genetic predisposition in many diseases and in human genetic population dynamics. In this context, we have investigated the genetic diversity of KIR genes and their main HLA class I ligands in Saudi population and compared the data with other studies of neighboring populations. One hundred and fourteen randomly selected healthy Saudi subjects were genotyped for the presence or absence of 16 KIR genes and their HLA-C1, -C2, -Bw4Thr80 and Bw4Ile80 groups, using a PCR-SSP technique. The results show the occurrence of the framework genes (3DL2, 3DL3 and 2DL4) and the pseudogenes (2DP1 and 3DP1) at highest frequencies. All inhibitory KIR (iKIR) genes appeared at higher frequencies than activating genes (aKIR), except for 2DS4 with a frequency of 90.35%. A total of 55 different genotypes were observed appearing at different frequencies, where 12 are considered novel. Two haplotypes were characterized, AA and Bx (BB and AB), which were observed in 24.5% and 75.5% respectively of the studied group. The frequencies of iKIR + HLA associations were found to be much higher than aKIR + HLA. KIR genes frequencies in the Saudi population are comparable with other Middle Eastern and North African populations. PMID:27007893

  6. The Northwest Passage opens for bowhead whales.

    PubMed

    Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Laidre, Kristin L; Quakenbush, Lori T; Citta, John J

    2012-04-23

    The loss of Arctic sea ice is predicted to open up the Northwest Passage, shortening shipping routes and facilitating the exchange of marine organisms between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Here, we present the first observations of distribution overlap of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) from the two oceans in the Northwest Passage, demonstrating this route is already connecting whales from two populations that have been assumed to be separated by sea ice. Previous satellite tracking has demonstrated that bowhead whales from West Greenland and Alaska enter the ice-infested channels of the Canadian High Arctic during summer. In August 2010, two bowhead whales from West Greenland and Alaska entered the Northwest Passage from opposite directions and spent approximately 10 days in the same area, documenting overlap between the two populations. PMID:21937490

  7. The Northwest Passage opens for bowhead whales

    PubMed Central

    Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Laidre, Kristin L.; Quakenbush, Lori T.; Citta, John J.

    2012-01-01

    The loss of Arctic sea ice is predicted to open up the Northwest Passage, shortening shipping routes and facilitating the exchange of marine organisms between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Here, we present the first observations of distribution overlap of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) from the two oceans in the Northwest Passage, demonstrating this route is already connecting whales from two populations that have been assumed to be separated by sea ice. Previous satellite tracking has demonstrated that bowhead whales from West Greenland and Alaska enter the ice-infested channels of the Canadian High Arctic during summer. In August 2010, two bowhead whales from West Greenland and Alaska entered the Northwest Passage from opposite directions and spent approximately 10 days in the same area, documenting overlap between the two populations. PMID:21937490

  8. Persistence in the shadow of killers.

    PubMed

    Sinclair, Robert M

    2014-01-01

    Killing is perhaps the most definite form of communication possible. Microbes such as yeasts and gut bacteria have been shown to exhibit killer phenotypes. The killer strains are able to kill other microbes occupying the same ecological niche, and do so with impunity. It would therefore be expected that, wherever a killer phenotype has arisen, all members of the population would soon be killers or dead. Surprisingly, (1) one can find both killer and sensitive strains in coexistence, both in the wild and in in vitro experiments, and (2) the absolute fitness cost of the killer phenotype often seems to be very small. We present an explicit model of such coexistence in a fragmented or discrete environment. A killer strain may kill all sensitive cells in one patch (one piece of rotting fruit, one cave or one human gut, for example), allowing sensitives to exist only in the absence of killer strains on the same patch. In our model, populations spread easily between patches, but in a stochastic manner: one can imagine spores borne by the wind over a field of untended apple trees, or enteric disease transmission in a region in which travel is effectively unrestricted. What we show is that coexistence is not only possible, but that it is possible even if the absolute fitness advantage of the sensitive strain over the killer strain is arbitrarily small. We do this by performing a specifically targeted mathematical analysis on our model, rather than via simulations. Our model does not assume large population densities, and may thus be useful in the context of understanding the ecology of extreme environments. PMID:25071753

  9. Persistence in the shadow of killers

    PubMed Central

    Sinclair, Robert M.

    2014-01-01

    Killing is perhaps the most definite form of communication possible. Microbes such as yeasts and gut bacteria have been shown to exhibit killer phenotypes. The killer strains are able to kill other microbes occupying the same ecological niche, and do so with impunity. It would therefore be expected that, wherever a killer phenotype has arisen, all members of the population would soon be killers or dead. Surprisingly, (1) one can find both killer and sensitive strains in coexistence, both in the wild and in in vitro experiments, and (2) the absolute fitness cost of the killer phenotype often seems to be very small. We present an explicit model of such coexistence in a fragmented or discrete environment. A killer strain may kill all sensitive cells in one patch (one piece of rotting fruit, one cave or one human gut, for example), allowing sensitives to exist only in the absence of killer strains on the same patch. In our model, populations spread easily between patches, but in a stochastic manner: one can imagine spores borne by the wind over a field of untended apple trees, or enteric disease transmission in a region in which travel is effectively unrestricted. What we show is that coexistence is not only possible, but that it is possible even if the absolute fitness advantage of the sensitive strain over the killer strain is arbitrarily small. We do this by performing a specifically targeted mathematical analysis on our model, rather than via simulations. Our model does not assume large population densities, and may thus be useful in the context of understanding the ecology of extreme environments. PMID:25071753

  10. Whale Teaching Unit.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Peninsula Humane Society, San Mateo, CA.

    Materials in this teaching unit are designed to foster an interest in whale preservation among intermediate grade and junior high school students. Several readings provide background information on various types of whales and the economic value of whales. Student activities include a true and false game, a crossword, and a mobile. A resource list…

  11. Application of non-radioactive europium (Eu3+) release assay to a measurement of human natural killer activity of healthy and patient populations.

    PubMed

    Nagao, F; Yabe, T; Xu, M; Yokoyama, K; Saito, K; Okumura, K

    1996-01-01

    Europium (Eu3+) release assay is a non-radioactive method for a measurement of cytotoxicity of lymphocytes and has several advantages compared with a conventional 51Cr release assay. However, the Eu3+ release assay has not been applied to a natural killer (NK) activity measurement of a large number of the human population mainly due to a lack of comparability with the 51Cr release assay. With some modifications of the procedures and careful manipulation of cells, constant and reproducible results were obtained by the Eu3+ release assay. NK activity of several individuals was measured by the Eu3+ release assay and was compared with data obtained by 51Cr release assay performed simultaneously. The obtained values by the two methods were almost identical. We applied the Eu3+ method to measure NK activity of a large number of individuals, including 68 apparently healthy donors and 36 autoimmune and 21 cancer patients. Some of these diseases are known to show abnormal NK activity. The obtained cytotoxicities were mostly consistent with the previously reported data obtained by the 51Cr release assay. These results indicated that the Eu3+ release assay could be used as an alternative method for a measurement of human NK activity of mass population including patients. PMID:8915687

  12. Natural killer cell (NK) subsets and NK-like T-cell populations in acute myeloid leukemias and myelodysplastic syndromes.

    PubMed

    Aggarwal, N; Swerdlow, S H; TenEyck, S P; Boyiadzis, M; Felgar, R E

    2016-07-01

    The impact of the immune microenvironment on the behavior and therapeutic strategies for hematopoietic and lymphoid neoplasms is being increasingly recognized. Many functional studies of natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxic responses in myelodysplasia (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) exist, but with limited data on these lymphocyte proportions and related T-cell subsets. The proportions of these cells and their prognostic implications were therefore investigated in 89 AML, 51 MDS, and 20 control marrows by flow cytometry. The median proportion of NK cells (relative to the total lymphocytes) was lower in AML versus controls (P = 0.01). Among AML, a lower proportion of NK cells predicted better survival, whereas a higher NK cell proportion was associated with the poor prognostic AML category (P = 0.002). NK cell proportions were similar in MDS, MDS subgroups, and control marrows. The relative proportion of the mature NK cell subset (CD56(dim) CD16/57(bright) ) was lower in AML and MDS versus controls (P = 0.006, P = 0.0002, respectively). The proportion of mature NK cells was not a prognostic indicator although fewer were seen in poor prognosis AML. In contrast, a lower proportion of mature NK cells correlated with worse survival in MDS (P = 0.027). A higher proportion of NK-like T-cells (of total lymphoid cells) was found in MDS compared to controls (P = 0.01). A lower proportion of NK-like T-cells predicted better survival in AML but not in MDS. Thus, the proportions of NK, NK-cell subsets, and NK-like T-cells vary in myeloid neoplasms, may potentially impact immunomodulatory therapies, and may impact outcome. © 2016 International Clinical Cytometry Society. PMID:26648320

  13. 78 FR 13028 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-02-26

    ... Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; notification of quota for bowhead whales. SUMMARY: NMFS notifies the public of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the... regulations of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). For 2013, the quota is 75 bowhead whales...

  14. Whales and Whaling--An Interdisciplinary Course.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kelly, Richard D.

    1978-01-01

    Outlines the content of this interdisciplinary course and includes a list of the texts being used. Parts one and two are concerned with the biology of the whale and other marine mammals, while part three covers the whaling industry and related topics. (MA)

  15. WhaleNet/environet

    SciTech Connect

    Williamson, J.M.

    1994-12-31

    WhaleNet has established a network where students, educators, and scientists can interact and share data for use in interdisciplinary curricular and student research activities in classrooms around the world by utilizing telecommunication. This program enables students to participate in marine/whale research programs in real-time with WhaleNet data and supplementary curriculum materials regardless of their geographic location. Systems have been established with research organizations and whale watch companies whereby research data is posted by scientists and students participating in whale watches on the WhaleNet bulletin board and shared with participating classrooms. WhaleNet presently has contacts with classrooms across the nation, and with research groups, whale watch organizations, science museums, and universities from Alaska to North Carolina, Hawaii to Maine, and Belize to Norway. WhaleNet has plans to make existing whale and fisheries research databases available for classroom use and to have research data from satellite tagging programs on various species of whales available for classroom access in real-time.

  16. 75 FR 68756 - Eastern North Pacific Gray Whale; Notice of Petition Availability

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-11-09

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA018 Eastern North Pacific Gray Whale; Notice of... Pacific population of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) as a depleted stock under the Marine Mammal... assessment report for Eastern North Pacific gray whales is available on the Internet at the following...

  17. Frequent loss and alteration of the MOXD2 gene in catarrhines and whales: a possible connection with the evolution of olfaction.

    PubMed

    Kim, Dong Seon; Wang, Yao; Oh, Hye Ji; Lee, Kangseok; Hahn, Yoonsoo

    2014-01-01

    The MOXD2 gene encodes a membrane-bound monooxygenase similar to dopamine-β-hydroxylase, and has been proposed to be associated with olfaction. In this study, we analyzed MOXD2 genes from 64 mammalian species, and identified loss-of-function mutations in apes (humans, Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, and five gibbon species from the four major gibbon genera), toothed whales (killer whales, bottlenose dolphins, finless porpoises, baijis, and sperm whales), and baleen whales (minke whales and fin whales). We also identified a shared 13-nt deletion in the last exon of Old World cercopithecine monkeys that results in conversion of a membrane-bound protein to a soluble form. We hypothesize that the frequent inactivation and alteration of MOXD2 genes in catarrhines and whales may be associated with the evolution of olfaction in these clades. PMID:25102179

  18. Frequent Loss and Alteration of the MOXD2 Gene in Catarrhines and Whales: A Possible Connection with the Evolution of Olfaction

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Dong Seon; Wang, Yao; Oh, Hye Ji; Lee, Kangseok; Hahn, Yoonsoo

    2014-01-01

    The MOXD2 gene encodes a membrane-bound monooxygenase similar to dopamine-β-hydroxylase, and has been proposed to be associated with olfaction. In this study, we analyzed MOXD2 genes from 64 mammalian species, and identified loss-of-function mutations in apes (humans, Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, and five gibbon species from the four major gibbon genera), toothed whales (killer whales, bottlenose dolphins, finless porpoises, baijis, and sperm whales), and baleen whales (minke whales and fin whales). We also identified a shared 13-nt deletion in the last exon of Old World cercopithecine monkeys that results in conversion of a membrane-bound protein to a soluble form. We hypothesize that the frequent inactivation and alteration of MOXD2 genes in catarrhines and whales may be associated with the evolution of olfaction in these clades. PMID:25102179

  19. The biogeography of the North Pacific right whale ( Eubalaena japonica)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gregr, Edward J.; Coyle, Kenneth O.

    2009-03-01

    The eastern North Pacific population of right whales ( Eubalaena japonica) is among the most endangered whale populations, with an estimated size of only 10s of individuals. The effectiveness of measures (e.g., protected areas, abundance surveys) intended to promote recovery of this population will be enhanced by understanding its distribution, habitat use, and habitat characteristics. In order to facilitate such understanding, we summarized relevant right whale biology, reviewed the life history of their zooplankton prey species, and related North Pacific oceanography to the production, distribution, and concentration of these prey at three scales of variability. We discuss how ocean processes may drive zooplankton distribution and concentration, and present hypotheses about how prey patches suitable for right whale foraging might be formed. Such hypotheses, combined with available distributional data and descriptions of the ocean environment, would be suitable for predicting potential right whale foraging habitat.

  20. CHARACTERIZATION OF WESTERN NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE SPRING FEEDING HABITAT

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Great South Channel region of the southwestern Gulf of Maine, between George's Bank and Cape Cod, is the primary spring feeding ground for the western North Atlantic population of the I northern right whale, E. glacialis .Since this whale is so endangered, it is critical to i...

  1. Baseline Natural Killer and T Cell Populations Correlation with Virologic Outcome after Regimen Simplification to Atazanavir/Ritonavir Alone (ACTG 5201)

    PubMed Central

    McKinnon, John E.; Mailliard, Robbie B.; Swindells, Susan; Wilkin, Timothy J.; Borowski, LuAnn; Roper, Jillian M.; Bastow, Barbara; Kearney, Mary; Wiegand, Ann; Mellors, John W.; Rinaldo, Charles R.

    2014-01-01

    Objectives Simplified maintenance therapy with ritonavir-boosted atazanavir (ATV/r) provides an alternative treatment option for HIV-1 infection that spares nucleoside analogs (NRTI) for future use and decreased toxicity. We hypothesized that the level of immune activation (IA) and recovery of lymphocyte populations could influence virologic outcomes after regimen simplification. Methods Thirty-four participants with virologic suppression ≥48 weeks on antiretroviral therapy (2 NRTI plus protease inhibitor) were switched to ATV/r alone in the context of the ACTG 5201 clinical trial. Flow cytometric analyses were performed on PBMC isolated from 25 patients with available samples, of which 24 had lymphocyte recovery sufficient for this study. Assessments included enumeration of T-cells (CD4/CD8), natural killer (NK) (CD3+CD56+CD16+) cells and cell-associated markers (HLA-DR, CD's 38/69/94/95/158/279). Results Eight of the 24 patients had at least one plasma HIV-1 RNA level (VL) >50 copies/mL during the study. NK cell levels below the group median of 7.1% at study entry were associated with development of VL >50 copies/mL following simplification by regression and survival analyses (p = 0.043 and 0.023), with an odds ratio of 10.3 (95% CI: 1.92–55.3). Simplification was associated with transient increases in naïve and CD25+ CD4+ T-cells, and had no impact on IA levels. Conclusions Lower NK cell levels prior to regimen simplification were predictive of virologic rebound after discontinuation of nucleoside analogs. Regimen simplification did not have a sustained impact on markers of IA or T lymphocyte populations in 48 weeks of clinical monitoring. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00084019 PMID:24802242

  2. The Impact of Whaling on the Ocean Carbon Cycle: Why Bigger Was Better

    PubMed Central

    Pershing, Andrew J.; Christensen, Line B.; Record, Nicholas R.; Sherwood, Graham D.; Stetson, Peter B.

    2010-01-01

    Background Humans have reduced the abundance of many large marine vertebrates, including whales, large fish, and sharks, to only a small percentage of their pre-exploitation levels. Industrial fishing and whaling also tended to preferentially harvest the largest species and largest individuals within a population. We consider the consequences of removing these animals on the ocean's ability to store carbon. Methodology/Principal Findings Because body size is critical to our arguments, our analysis focuses on populations of baleen whales. Using reconstructions of pre-whaling and modern abundances, we consider the impact of whaling on the amount of carbon stored in living whales and on the amount of carbon exported to the deep sea by sinking whale carcasses. Populations of large baleen whales now store 9.1×106 tons less carbon than before whaling. Some of the lost storage has been offset by increases in smaller competitors; however, due to the relative metabolic efficiency of larger organisms, a shift toward smaller animals could decrease the total community biomass by 30% or more. Because of their large size and few predators, whales and other large marine vertebrates can efficiently export carbon from the surface waters to the deep sea. We estimate that rebuilding whale populations would remove 1.6×105 tons of carbon each year through sinking whale carcasses. Conclusions/Significance Even though fish and whales are only a small portion of the ocean's overall biomass, fishing and whaling have altered the ocean's ability to store and sequester carbon. Although these changes are small relative to the total ocean carbon sink, rebuilding populations of fish and whales would be comparable to other carbon management schemes, including ocean iron fertilization. PMID:20865156

  3. KillerOrange, a Genetically Encoded Photosensitizer Activated by Blue and Green Light

    PubMed Central

    Bozhanova, Nina G.; Sharonov, George V.; Staroverov, Dmitriy B.; Egorov, Evgeny S.; Ryabova, Anastasia V.; Solntsev, Kyril M.; Mishin, Alexander S.; Lukyanov, Konstantin A.

    2015-01-01

    Genetically encoded photosensitizers, proteins that produce reactive oxygen species when illuminated with visible light, are increasingly used as optogenetic tools. Their applications range from ablation of specific cell populations to precise optical inactivation of cellular proteins. Here, we report an orange mutant of red fluorescent protein KillerRed that becomes toxic when illuminated with blue or green light. This new protein, KillerOrange, carries a tryptophan-based chromophore that is novel for photosensitizers. We show that KillerOrange can be used simultaneously and independently from KillerRed in both bacterial and mammalian cells offering chromatic orthogonality for light-activated toxicity. PMID:26679300

  4. Demography of the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

    PubMed

    Fujiwara, M; Caswell, H

    2001-11-29

    Northern right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) were formerly abundant in the northwestern Atlantic, but by 1900 they had been hunted to near extinction. After the end of commercial whaling the population was thought to be recovering slowly; however, evidence indicates that it has been declining since about 1990 (ref. 1). There are now fewer than 300 individuals, and the species may already be functionally extinct owing to demographic stochasticity or the difficulty of females locating mates in the vast Atlantic Ocean (Allee effect). Using a data set containing over 10,000 sightings of photographically identified individuals we estimated trends in right whale demographic parameters since 1980. Here we construct, using these estimates, matrix population models allowing us to analyse the causes of right whale imperilment. Mortality has increased, especially among mother whales, causing declines in population growth rate, life expectancy and the mean lifetime number of reproductive events between the period 1980-1995. Increased mortality of mother whales can explain the declining population size, suggesting that the population is not doomed to extinction as a result of the Allee effect. An analysis of extinction time shows that demographic stochasticity has only a small effect, but preventing the deaths of only two female right whales per year would increase the population growth rate to replacement level. PMID:11734852

  5. 75 FR 10223 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-03-05

    ... Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; notification of quota for bowhead whales. SUMMARY: NMFS provides notification of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the Alaska... Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). For 2010, the quota is 75 bowhead...

  6. 77 FR 21540 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-04-10

    ... Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; notification of quota for bowhead whales. SUMMARY: NMFS notifies the public of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the... quota is 75 bowhead whales struck. This quota and other applicable limitations govern the harvest...

  7. 76 FR 16388 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-03-23

    ... Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; notification of quota for bowhead whales. SUMMARY: NMFS provides notification of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the Alaska... Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). For 2011, the quota is 75 bowhead...

  8. Seasonal and geographic variation of southern blue whale subspecies in the Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Samaran, Flore; Stafford, Kathleen M; Branch, Trevor A; Gedamke, Jason; Royer, Jean-Yves; Dziak, Robert P; Guinet, Christophe

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the seasonal movements and distribution patterns of migratory species over ocean basin scales is vital for appropriate conservation and management measures. However, assessing populations over remote regions is challenging, particularly if they are rare. Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus spp) are an endangered species found in the Southern and Indian Oceans. Here two recognized subspecies of blue whales and, based on passive acoustic monitoring, four "acoustic populations" occur. Three of these are pygmy blue whale (B.m. brevicauda) populations while the fourth is the Antarctic blue whale (B.m. intermedia). Past whaling catches have dramatically reduced their numbers but recent acoustic recordings show that these oceans are still important habitat for blue whales. Presently little is known about the seasonal movements and degree of overlap of these four populations, particularly in the central Indian Ocean. We examined the geographic and seasonal occurrence of different blue whale acoustic populations using one year of passive acoustic recording from three sites located at different latitudes in the Indian Ocean. The vocalizations of the different blue whale subspecies and acoustic populations were recorded seasonally in different regions. For some call types and locations, there was spatial and temporal overlap, particularly between Antarctic and different pygmy blue whale acoustic populations. Except on the southernmost hydrophone, all three pygmy blue whale acoustic populations were found at different sites or during different seasons, which further suggests that these populations are generally geographically distinct. This unusual blue whale diversity in sub-Antarctic and sub-tropical waters indicates the importance of the area for blue whales in these former whaling grounds. PMID:23967221

  9. Hearing Loss in Stranded Odontocete Dolphins and Whales

    PubMed Central

    Mann, David; Hill-Cook, Mandy; Manire, Charles; Greenhow, Danielle; Montie, Eric; Powell, Jessica; Wells, Randall; Bauer, Gordon; Cunningham-Smith, Petra; Lingenfelser, Robert; DiGiovanni, Robert; Stone, Abigale; Brodsky, Micah; Stevens, Robert; Kieffer, George; Hoetjes, Paul

    2010-01-01

    The causes of dolphin and whale stranding can often be difficult to determine. Because toothed whales rely on echolocation for orientation and feeding, hearing deficits could lead to stranding. We report on the results of auditory evoked potential measurements from eight species of odontocete cetaceans that were found stranded or severely entangled in fishing gear during the period 2004 through 2009. Approximately 57% of the bottlenose dolphins and 36% of the rough-toothed dolphins had significant hearing deficits with a reduction in sensitivity equivalent to severe (70–90 dB) or profound (>90 dB) hearing loss in humans. The only stranded short-finned pilot whale examined had profound hearing loss. No impairments were detected in seven Risso's dolphins from three different stranding events, two pygmy killer whales, one Atlantic spotted dolphin, one spinner dolphin, or a juvenile Gervais' beaked whale. Hearing impairment could play a significant role in some cetacean stranding events, and the hearing of all cetaceans in rehabilitation should be tested. PMID:21072206

  10. Polychlorinated biphenyls and their hydroxylated metabolites (OH-PCBs) in the blood of toothed and baleen whales stranded along Japanese coastal waters.

    PubMed

    Nomiyama, Kei; Murata, Satoko; Kunisue, Tatsuya; Yamada, Tadasu K; Mizukawa, Hazuki; Takahashi, Shin; Tanabe, Shinsuke

    2010-05-15

    In this study, we determined the residue levels and patterns of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and hydroxylated PCBs (OH-PCBs) in the blood from eight species of toothed whales and three species of baleen whales stranded along the Japanese coast during 1999-2007. Penta- through hepta-chlorinated PCB congeners were the dominant homologue groups in all cetaceans. In contrast, specific differences in the distribution of dominant OH-PCB isomers and homologues were found among the cetacean species. In five species of toothed whales (melon-headed whale, Stejneger's beaked whale, Pacific white-sided dolphin, Blainville's beaked whale, and killer whale), the predominant homologues were OH-penta-PCBs followed by OH-tetra-PCBs and OH-tri-PCBs. The predominant homologues of finless porpoise and beluga whale were OH-penta-PCBs followed by OH-hexa-PCBs and OH-tri-PCBs. The predominant OH-PCB isomers were para-OH-PCBs such as 4OH-CB26, 4'OH-CB25/4'OH-CB26/4OH-CB31, 4OH-CB70, 4'OH-CB72, 4'OH-CB97, 4'OH-CB101/4'OH-CB120, and 4OH-CB107/4'OH-CB108 in toothed whales. In three baleen whales (common minke whale, Bryde's whale, and humpback whale) and in sperm whale (which is a toothed whale), OH-octa-PCB (4OH-CB202) was the predominant homologue group accounting for 40-80% of the total OH-PCB concentrations. The differences in concentrations and profiles of OH-PCBs may suggest species-specific diets, metabolic capability, and the transthyretin (TTR) binding specificity. These results reveal that the accumulation profiles of OH-PCBs in cetacean blood are entirely different from the profiles found in pinnipeds, polar bear, and humans. PMID:20426459

  11. Hybridization of Southern Hemisphere blue whale subspecies and a sympatric area off Antarctica: impacts of whaling or climate change?

    PubMed

    Attard, Catherine R M; Beheregaray, Luciano B; Jenner, K Curt S; Gill, Peter C; Jenner, Micheline-Nicole; Morrice, Margaret G; Robertson, Kelly M; Möller, Luciana M

    2012-12-01

    Understanding the degree of genetic exchange between subspecies and populations is vital for the appropriate management of endangered species. Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) have two recognized Southern Hemisphere subspecies that show differences in geographic distribution, morphology, vocalizations and genetics. During the austral summer feeding season, the Antarctic blue whale (B. m. intermedia) is found in polar waters and the pygmy blue whale (B. m. brevicauda) in temperate waters. Here, we genetically analyzed samples collected during the feeding season to report on several cases of hybridization between the two recognized blue whale Southern Hemisphere subspecies in a previously unconfirmed sympatric area off Antarctica. This means the pygmy blue whales using waters off Antarctica may migrate and then breed during the austral winter with the Antarctic subspecies. Alternatively, the subspecies may interbreed off Antarctica outside the expected austral winter breeding season. The genetically estimated recent migration rates from the pygmy to Antarctic subspecies were greater than estimates of evolutionary migration rates and previous estimates based on morphology of whaling catches. This discrepancy may be due to differences in the methods or an increase in the proportion of pygmy blue whales off Antarctica within the last four decades. Potential causes for the latter are whaling, anthropogenic climate change or a combination of these and may have led to hybridization between the subspecies. Our findings challenge the current knowledge about the breeding behaviour of the world's largest animal and provide key information that can be incorporated into management and conservation practices for this endangered species. PMID:23137299

  12. Oceanographic connectivity between right whale critical habitats in Canada and its influence on whale abundance indices during 1987-2009

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davies, Kimberley T. A.; Vanderlaan, Angelia S. M.; Smedbol, R. Kent; Taggart, Christopher T.

    2015-10-01

    The Roseway and Grand Manan basins on the Canadian Atlantic coast are neighboring late-summer critical feeding habitats for endangered North Atlantic right whales. Although in late summer these habitats regularly contain thick aggregations of right whale food - the copepod Calanus spp. - right whales periodically abandon one or both habitats in the same year. The causes of abandonments, their relationship to food supply, and the locations of whales during abandonment periods are unclear. The goals of this study were to explain variation in right whale abundance indices from a habitat perspective, and to determine whether or not oceanographic variation in the habitats influences occupancy. Four indices of whale abundance and habitat occupancy, including sightings per unit effort (SPUE), photographic sightings of known individuals, population size and habitat transition probabilities, were analyzed in relation to unique datasets of Calanus concentration and water mass characteristics in each basin over the period 1987 through 2009. Calanus concentration, water mass sources and various hydrographic properties each varied coherently between basins. Calanus concentration showed an increasing trend over time in each habitat, although a short-lived reduction in Calanus may have caused right whales to abandon Roseway Basin during the mid-1990s. Food supply explained variation in right whale sightings and population size in Roseway Basin, but not in Grand Manan Basin, suggesting that the Grand Manan Basin has important habitat characteristics in addition to food supply. Changes in the distribution of whale abundance indices during years when oceanographic conditions were associated with reduced food supply in the Scotia-Fundy region suggest that other suitable feeding habitats may not have existed during such years and resulted in negative effects on whale health and reproduction.

  13. Yeast killer systems.

    PubMed Central

    Magliani, W; Conti, S; Gerloni, M; Bertolotti, D; Polonelli, L

    1997-01-01

    The killer phenomenon in yeasts has been revealed to be a multicentric model for molecular biologists, virologists, phytopathologists, epidemiologists, industrial and medical microbiologists, mycologists, and pharmacologists. The surprisingly widespread occurrence of the killer phenomenon among taxonomically unrelated microorganisms, including prokaryotic and eukaryotic pathogens, has engendered a new interest in its biological significance as well as its theoretical and practical applications. The search for therapeutic opportunities by using yeast killer systems has conceptually opened new avenues for the prevention and control of life-threatening fungal diseases through the idiotypic network that is apparently exploited by the immune system in the course of natural infections. In this review, the biology, ecology, epidemiology, therapeutics, serology, and idiotypy of yeast killer systems are discussed. PMID:9227858

  14. Abundance, trends and distribution of baleen whales off Western Alaska and the central Aleutian Islands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zerbini, Alexandre N.; Waite, Janice M.; Laake, Jeffrey L.; Wade, Paul R.

    2006-11-01

    Large whales were extensively hunted in coastal waters off Alaska, but current distribution, population sizes and trends are poorly known. Line transect surveys were conducted in coastal waters of the Aleutian Islands and the Alaska Peninsula in the summer of 2001-2003. Abundances of three species were estimated by conventional and multiple covariate distance sampling (MCDS) methods. Time series of abundance estimates were used to derive rates of increase for fin whales ( Balaenoptera physalus) and humpback whales ( Megaptera novaeangliae). Fin whales occurred primarily from the Kenai Peninsula to the Shumagin Islands, but were abundant only near the Semidi Islands and Kodiak. Humpback whales were found from the Kenai Peninsula to Umnak Island and were more abundant near Kodiak, the Shumagin Islands and north of Unimak Pass. Minke whales ( B. acutorostrata) occurred primarily in the Aleutian Islands, with a few sightings south of the Alaska Peninsula and near Kodiak Island. Humpback whales were observed in large numbers in their former whaling grounds. In contrast, high densities of fin whales were not observed around the eastern Aleutian Islands, where whaling occurred. Average abundance estimates (95% CI) for fin, humpback and minke whales were 1652 (1142-2389), 2644 (1899-3680), and 1233 (656-2315), respectively. Annual rates of increase were estimated at 4.8% (95% CI=4.1-5.4%) for fin and 6.6% (5.2-8.6%) for humpback whales. This study provides the first estimate of the rate of increase of fin whales in the North Pacific Ocean. The estimated trends are consistent with those of other recovering baleen whales. There were no sightings of blue or North Pacific right whales, indicating the continued depleted status of these species.

  15. Evidence that ship noise increases stress in right whales

    PubMed Central

    Rolland, Rosalind M.; Parks, Susan E.; Hunt, Kathleen E.; Castellote, Manuel; Corkeron, Peter J.; Nowacek, Douglas P.; Wasser, Samuel K.; Kraus, Scott D.

    2012-01-01

    Baleen whales (Mysticeti) communicate using low-frequency acoustic signals. These long-wavelength sounds can be detected over hundreds of kilometres, potentially allowing contact over large distances. Low-frequency noise from large ships (20–200 Hz) overlaps acoustic signals used by baleen whales, and increased levels of underwater noise have been documented in areas with high shipping traffic. Reported responses of whales to increased noise include: habitat displacement, behavioural changes and alterations in the intensity, frequency and intervals of calls. However, it has been unclear whether exposure to noise results in physiological responses that may lead to significant consequences for individuals or populations. Here, we show that reduced ship traffic in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, following the events of 11 September 2001, resulted in a 6 dB decrease in underwater noise with a significant reduction below 150 Hz. This noise reduction was associated with decreased baseline levels of stress-related faecal hormone metabolites (glucocorticoids) in North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis). This is the first evidence that exposure to low-frequency ship noise may be associated with chronic stress in whales, and has implications for all baleen whales in heavy ship traffic areas, and for recovery of this endangered right whale population. PMID:22319129

  16. Evidence that ship noise increases stress in right whales.

    PubMed

    Rolland, Rosalind M; Parks, Susan E; Hunt, Kathleen E; Castellote, Manuel; Corkeron, Peter J; Nowacek, Douglas P; Wasser, Samuel K; Kraus, Scott D

    2012-06-22

    Baleen whales (Mysticeti) communicate using low-frequency acoustic signals. These long-wavelength sounds can be detected over hundreds of kilometres, potentially allowing contact over large distances. Low-frequency noise from large ships (20-200 Hz) overlaps acoustic signals used by baleen whales, and increased levels of underwater noise have been documented in areas with high shipping traffic. Reported responses of whales to increased noise include: habitat displacement, behavioural changes and alterations in the intensity, frequency and intervals of calls. However, it has been unclear whether exposure to noise results in physiological responses that may lead to significant consequences for individuals or populations. Here, we show that reduced ship traffic in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, following the events of 11 September 2001, resulted in a 6 dB decrease in underwater noise with a significant reduction below 150 Hz. This noise reduction was associated with decreased baseline levels of stress-related faecal hormone metabolites (glucocorticoids) in North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis). This is the first evidence that exposure to low-frequency ship noise may be associated with chronic stress in whales, and has implications for all baleen whales in heavy ship traffic areas, and for recovery of this endangered right whale population. PMID:22319129

  17. Disturbance-specific social responses in long-finned pilot whales, Globicephala melas

    PubMed Central

    Visser, Fleur; Curé, Charlotte; Kvadsheim, Petter H.; Lam, Frans-Peter A.; Tyack, Peter L.; Miller, Patrick J. O.

    2016-01-01

    Social interactions among animals can influence their response to disturbance. We investigated responses of long-finned pilot whales to killer whale sound playbacks and two anthropogenic sources of disturbance: tagging effort and naval sonar exposure. The acoustic scene and diving behaviour of tagged individuals were recorded along with the social behaviour of their groups. All three disturbance types resulted in larger group sizes, increasing social cohesion during disturbance. However, the nature and magnitude of other responses differed between disturbance types. Tagging effort resulted in a clear increase in synchrony and a tendency to reduce surface logging and to become silent (21% of cases), whereas pilot whales increased surface resting during sonar exposure. Killer whale sounds elicited increased calling rates and the aggregation of multiple groups, which approached the sound source together. This behaviour appears to represent a mobbing response, a likely adaptive social defence against predators or competitors. All observed response-tactics would reduce risk of loss of group coordination, suggesting that, in social pilot whales, this could drive behavioural responses to disturbance. However, the behavioural means used to achieve social coordination depends upon other considerations, which are disturbance-specific. PMID:27353529

  18. Disturbance-specific social responses in long-finned pilot whales, Globicephala melas.

    PubMed

    Visser, Fleur; Curé, Charlotte; Kvadsheim, Petter H; Lam, Frans-Peter A; Tyack, Peter L; Miller, Patrick J O

    2016-01-01

    Social interactions among animals can influence their response to disturbance. We investigated responses of long-finned pilot whales to killer whale sound playbacks and two anthropogenic sources of disturbance: tagging effort and naval sonar exposure. The acoustic scene and diving behaviour of tagged individuals were recorded along with the social behaviour of their groups. All three disturbance types resulted in larger group sizes, increasing social cohesion during disturbance. However, the nature and magnitude of other responses differed between disturbance types. Tagging effort resulted in a clear increase in synchrony and a tendency to reduce surface logging and to become silent (21% of cases), whereas pilot whales increased surface resting during sonar exposure. Killer whale sounds elicited increased calling rates and the aggregation of multiple groups, which approached the sound source together. This behaviour appears to represent a mobbing response, a likely adaptive social defence against predators or competitors. All observed response-tactics would reduce risk of loss of group coordination, suggesting that, in social pilot whales, this could drive behavioural responses to disturbance. However, the behavioural means used to achieve social coordination depends upon other considerations, which are disturbance-specific. PMID:27353529

  19. 75 FR 2853 - False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team Meeting

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-01-19

    ... under the ESA is warranted (75 FR 316, January 5, 2010). Based on the overlap between the Insular and... Abundance, and Status of Humpbacks (SPLASH) project indicate stock abundance has increased by 5.5-6.0% per...)(C) requires that members of TRTs have expertise regarding the conservation or biology of the...

  20. What's the catch? Validity of whaling data for Japanese catches of sperm whales in the North Pacific.

    PubMed

    Ivashchenko, Yulia V; Clapham, Phillip J

    2015-07-01

    The failure of international efforts to manage commercial whaling was exemplified by revelations of large-scale illegal whale catches by the USSR over a 30 year period following World War II. Falsifications of catch data have also been reported for Japanese coastal whaling, but to date there has been no investigation of the reliability of catch statistics for Japanese pelagic (factory fleet) whaling operations. Here, we use data of known reliability from Soviet whaling industry reports to show that body lengths reported to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) by Japanese factory fleets for female sperm whales caught in the North Pacific are not credible. In 1968/1969, Japanese whaling fleets in the North Pacific killed 1568 females, of which 1525 (97.3%) were reported as being at or above the IWC's minimum length of 11.6 m (legal-sized females, LSFs). By contrast, Soviet fleets operating during this period killed 12 578 females; only 824 (6.6%) were LSFs. Adjusting for effort, catches of LSFs were up to 9.1 times higher for Japan compared with the USSR, and even higher for very large females. Dramatic differences in body length statistics were evident when both nations operated in the same area. Significantly, the frequency of LSFs and very large females in the Japanese catch markedly declined after the IWC's International Observer Scheme in 1972 made illegal whaling more difficult. We conclude that the Japanese length data reflect systematic falsification of catch statistics submitted to the IWC, with serious implications for the reliability of data used in current population assessments. The apparent ease with which catch data were falsified in the past underscores the necessity of transparent and independent inspection procedures in any future commercial whaling. PMID:26587276

  1. What's the catch? Validity of whaling data for Japanese catches of sperm whales in the North Pacific

    PubMed Central

    Ivashchenko, Yulia V.; Clapham, Phillip J.

    2015-01-01

    The failure of international efforts to manage commercial whaling was exemplified by revelations of large-scale illegal whale catches by the USSR over a 30 year period following World War II. Falsifications of catch data have also been reported for Japanese coastal whaling, but to date there has been no investigation of the reliability of catch statistics for Japanese pelagic (factory fleet) whaling operations. Here, we use data of known reliability from Soviet whaling industry reports to show that body lengths reported to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) by Japanese factory fleets for female sperm whales caught in the North Pacific are not credible. In 1968/1969, Japanese whaling fleets in the North Pacific killed 1568 females, of which 1525 (97.3%) were reported as being at or above the IWC's minimum length of 11.6 m (legal-sized females, LSFs). By contrast, Soviet fleets operating during this period killed 12 578 females; only 824 (6.6%) were LSFs. Adjusting for effort, catches of LSFs were up to 9.1 times higher for Japan compared with the USSR, and even higher for very large females. Dramatic differences in body length statistics were evident when both nations operated in the same area. Significantly, the frequency of LSFs and very large females in the Japanese catch markedly declined after the IWC's International Observer Scheme in 1972 made illegal whaling more difficult. We conclude that the Japanese length data reflect systematic falsification of catch statistics submitted to the IWC, with serious implications for the reliability of data used in current population assessments. The apparent ease with which catch data were falsified in the past underscores the necessity of transparent and independent inspection procedures in any future commercial whaling. PMID:26587276

  2. The Violence of Collection: "Indian Killer"'s Archives

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dean, Janet

    2008-01-01

    At the close of Sherman Alexie's "Indian Killer," in a final chapter titled "Creation Story," a killer carries a backpack containing, among other things, "dozens of owl feathers, a scrapbook, and two bloody scalps in a plastic bag." Readers schooled in the psychopathologies of real and fictional serial killers will be familiar with the detail:…

  3. Grass and weed killer poisoning

    MedlinePlus

    Weedoff poisoning; Roundup poisoning ... Glyphosate is the poisonous ingredient in some weed killers. ... Glyphosate is in weed killers with these brand names: Roundup Bronco Glifonox Kleen-up Rodeo Weedoff Other ...

  4. Evidence for ship noise impacts on humpback whale foraging behaviour.

    PubMed

    Blair, Hannah B; Merchant, Nathan D; Friedlaender, Ari S; Wiley, David N; Parks, Susan E

    2016-08-01

    Noise from shipping activity in North Atlantic coastal waters has been steadily increasing and is an area of growing conservation concern, as it has the potential to disrupt the behaviour of marine organisms. This study examines the impacts of ship noise on bottom foraging humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the western North Atlantic. Data were collected from 10 foraging whales using non-invasive archival tags that simultaneously recorded underwater movements and the acoustic environment at the whale. Using mixed models, we assess the effects of ship noise on seven parameters of their feeding behaviours. Independent variables included the presence or absence of ship noise and the received level of ship noise at the whale. We found significant effects on foraging, including slower descent rates and fewer side-roll feeding events per dive with increasing ship noise. During 5 of 18 ship passages, dives without side-rolls were observed. These findings indicate that humpback whales on Stellwagen Bank, an area with chronically elevated levels of shipping traffic, significantly change foraging activity when exposed to high levels of ship noise. This measureable reduction in within-dive foraging effort of individual whales could potentially lead to population-level impacts of shipping noise on baleen whale foraging success. PMID:27512131

  5. 50 CFR 230.4 - Aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... whale accompanied by a calf. (d) No whaling captain shall engage in whaling without an adequate crew or... subsistence whaling. (f) No person may sell or offer for sale whale products from whales taken in an... sale. (g) No whaling captain shall continue to whale after: (1) The quota set for his/her village...

  6. 50 CFR 230.4 - Aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... whale accompanied by a calf. (d) No whaling captain shall engage in whaling without an adequate crew or... subsistence whaling. (f) No person may sell or offer for sale whale products from whales taken in an... sale. (g) No whaling captain shall continue to whale after: (1) The quota set for his/her village...

  7. 50 CFR 230.4 - Aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... whale accompanied by a calf. (d) No whaling captain shall engage in whaling without an adequate crew or... subsistence whaling. (f) No person may sell or offer for sale whale products from whales taken in an... sale. (g) No whaling captain shall continue to whale after: (1) The quota set for his/her village...

  8. 50 CFR 230.4 - Aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... whale accompanied by a calf. (d) No whaling captain shall engage in whaling without an adequate crew or... subsistence whaling. (f) No person may sell or offer for sale whale products from whales taken in an... sale. (g) No whaling captain shall continue to whale after: (1) The quota set for his/her village...

  9. 50 CFR 230.4 - Aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... whale accompanied by a calf. (d) No whaling captain shall engage in whaling without an adequate crew or... subsistence whaling. (f) No person may sell or offer for sale whale products from whales taken in an... sale. (g) No whaling captain shall continue to whale after: (1) The quota set for his/her village...

  10. Biology Myth-Killers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lampert, Evan

    2014-01-01

    "Biology Myth-Killers" is an activity designed to identify and correct common misconceptions for high school and college introductory biology courses. Students identify common myths, which double as biology misconceptions, and use appropriate sources to share the "truth" about the myths. This learner-centered activity is a fun…

  11. Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Petty, J. T.

    2004-01-01

    This young adult author claims his most enjoyable task as a writer is "intellectual danger, getting into other people's trouble." He asks his readers not to trust him, and then, as evidence, tempts us with a look at a chapter from "Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer."

  12. Acoustic detection and satellite-tracking leads to discovery of rare concentration of endangered North Pacific right whales

    PubMed Central

    Wade, Paul; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Shelden, Kim; Barlow, Jay; Carretta, James; Durban, John; LeDuc, Rick; Munger, Lisa; Rankin, Shannon; Sauter, Allan; Stinchcomb, Charles

    2006-01-01

    The North Pacific right whale, Eubalaena japonica, is one of the most endangered species of whale in the world. On 10 August 2004, two right whales were located in the Bering Sea using headings to right whale calls provided by directional sonobuoys. A satellite-monitored radio tag attached to one of these whales functioned for 40 days. Over the 40-day period, this whale moved throughout a large part of the southeast Bering Sea shelf, including areas of the outer-shelf where right whales have not been seen in decades. In September, multiple right whales were acoustically located and subsequently sighted by another survey vessel approaching a near-real-time position from the tag. An analysis of photographs confirmed at least 17 individual whales (not including the tagged whales). Genetic analysis of biopsy samples identified 17 individuals: 10 males and 7 females. The discovery of seven females was significant, as only one female had been identified in the past. Genetics also confirmed the presence of at least two calves. Although the future of this population is highly uncertain, the discovery of additional females and calves gives some hope that this most critically endangered of all whale populations may still possess the capacity to recover. PMID:17148419

  13. Acoustic detection and satellite-tracking leads to discovery of rare concentration of endangered North Pacific right whales.

    PubMed

    Wade, Paul; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Shelden, Kim; Barlow, Jay; Carretta, James; Durban, John; LeDuc, Rick; Munger, Lisa; Rankin, Shannon; Sauter, Allan; Stinchcomb, Charles

    2006-09-22

    The North Pacific right whale, Eubalaena japonica, is one of the most endangered species of whale in the world. On 10 August 2004, two right whales were located in the Bering Sea using headings to right whale calls provided by directional sonobuoys. A satellite-monitored radio tag attached to one of these whales functioned for 40 days. Over the 40-day period, this whale moved throughout a large part of the southeast Bering Sea shelf, including areas of the outer-shelf where right whales have not been seen in decades. In September, multiple right whales were acoustically located and subsequently sighted by another survey vessel approaching a near-real-time position from the tag. An analysis of photographs confirmed at least 17 individual whales (not including the tagged whales). Genetic analysis of biopsy samples identified 17 individuals: 10 males and 7 females. The discovery of seven females was significant, as only one female had been identified in the past. Genetics also confirmed the presence of at least two calves. Although the future of this population is highly uncertain, the discovery of additional females and calves gives some hope that this most critically endangered of all whale populations may still possess the capacity to recover. PMID:17148419

  14. Blue whale vocalizations recorded around New Zealand: 1964-2013.

    PubMed

    Miller, Brian S; Collins, Kym; Barlow, Jay; Calderan, Susannah; Leaper, Russell; McDonald, Mark; Ensor, Paul; Olson, Paula A; Olavarria, Carlos; Double, Michael C

    2014-03-01

    Previous underwater recordings made in New Zealand have identified a complex sequence of low frequency sounds that have been attributed to blue whales based on similarity to blue whale songs in other areas. Recordings of sounds with these characteristics were made opportunistically during the Southern Ocean Research Partnership's recent Antarctic Blue Whale Voyage. Detections of these sounds occurred all around the South Island of New Zealand during the voyage transits from Nelson, New Zealand to the Antarctic and return. By following acoustic bearings from directional sonobuoys, blue whales were visually detected and confirmed as the source of these sounds. These recordings, together with the historical recordings made northeast of New Zealand, indicate song types that persist over several decades and are indicative of the year-round presence of a population of blue whales that inhabits the waters around New Zealand. Measurements of the four-part vocalizations reveal that blue whale song in this region has changed slowly, but consistently over the past 50 years. The most intense units of these calls were detected as far south as 53°S, which represents a considerable range extension compared to the limited prior data on the spatial distribution of this population. PMID:24606296

  15. Atypical calling by a blue whale in the Gulf of Alaska (L)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stafford, Kathleen M.; Moore, Sue E.

    2005-05-01

    Worldwide, calls from blue whales share the characteristics of being long (>20 s), low-frequency (<100 Hz) signals that often exhibit amplitude and frequency modulation. Despite sharing these basic features, the calls of blue whales recorded in different ocean basins are distinct from one another, leading to the suggestion that populations and/or subspecies may be identified based on call characteristics. An example of anomalous calling behavior by a blue whale in the Gulf of Alaska is reported that may complicate this approach, and that suggests that blue whales can mimic each other's calls. .

  16. How few whales were there after whaling? Inference from contemporary mtDNA diversity.

    PubMed

    Jackson, J A; Patenaude, N J; Carroll, E L; Baker, C Scott

    2008-01-01

    Reconstructing the history of exploited populations of whales requires fitting a trajectory through at least three points in time: (i) prior to exploitation, when abundance is assumed to be at the maximum allowed by environmental carrying capacity; (ii) the point of minimum abundance or 'bottleneck', usually near the time of protection or the abandonment of the hunt; and (iii) near the present, when protected populations are assumed to have undergone some recovery. As historical abundance is usually unknown, this trajectory must be extrapolated according to a population dynamic model using catch records, an assumed rate of increase and an estimate of current abundance, all of which have received considerable attention by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Relatively little attention has been given to estimating minimum abundance (N(min)), although it is clear that genetic and demographic forces at this point are critical to the potential for recovery or extinction of a local population. We present a general analytical framework to improve estimates of N(min) using the number of mtDNA haplotypes (maternal lineages) surviving in a contemporary population of whales or other exploited species. We demonstrate the informative potential of this parameter as an a posteriori constraint on Bayesian logistic population dynamic models based on the IWC Comprehensive Assessment of the intensively exploited southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) and published surveys of mtDNA diversity for this species. Estimated historical trajectories from all demographic scenarios suggested a substantial loss of mtDNA haplotype richness as a result of 19th century commercial whaling and 20th century illegal whaling by the Soviet Union. However, the relatively high rates of population increase used by the IWC assessment predicted a bottleneck that was implausibly narrow (median, 67 mature females), given our corrected estimates of N(min). Further, high levels of remnant sequence

  17. Whale-Watching

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lande, Rivian

    1973-01-01

    Describes a program initiated by the Cabrillo Beach Museum (San Pedro, California) and the American Cetacean Society to take students of the fourth grade through high school on half-day cruises to observe gray whales. College students assist in the program with related field projects and presentations in the schools. (JR)

  18. Whales: Incredible Ocean Mammals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Devona, Henry

    1992-01-01

    Describes an integrated thematic unit for children from kindergarten to third grade. Explains that the unit incorporates reading, speaking, writing, science, mathematics, social studies, and art into the study of whales. Suggests learning activities on echolocation, migration, measurement, scrimshaw, history, and human interaction with the…

  19. Listening to Whales

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Allchin, Douglas

    2015-01-01

    Playing the sounds of whales during a class period can initiate the awareness of the role of wonder in education. Students are inspired to avidly collect fascinating facts to pique their interest and open the door to learning science. Indeed, when asked, teachers typically identify their foremost practical challenge as trying to motivate…

  20. 77 FR 6065 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Economic Survey

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-02-07

    ....) waters. It was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act on October 22, 2008 (73 FR 62919... Inlet Beluga Whale Economic Survey AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA....Lew@noaa.gov . SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract The population of Cook Inlet beluga whales...

  1. Annotated checklist and fisheries interactions of cetaceans in Togo, with evidence of Antarctic minke whale in the Gulf of Guinea.

    PubMed

    Segniagbeto, Gabriel H; VAN Waerebeek, Koen; Bowessidjaou, Joseph E; Ketoh, Koffivi; Kpatcha, Takouda K; Okoumassou, Kotchikpa; Ahoedo, Kossi

    2014-01-01

    Based on strandings and captures, 9 cetacean species, including 6 odontocetes and 3 mysticetes, are documented (photos and specimens) in Togo's coastal waters (newly-recorded species marked with an asterisk): Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis*), Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera brydei or B. edeni), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps*), short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus*), pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata*), common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and common dolphin Delphinus sp. An anecdotal sighting record for killer whale (Orcinus orca) is considered reliable. The lack of Sousa teuszii records in Togo is consistent with its apparent contemporaneous absence in Ghana. The B. bonaerensis specimen, entangled in a purse seine set on small pelagics, is a first record for the Gulf of Guinea. The occurrence of this Southern Ocean species north of the equator underscores the severe gaps in our understanding of cetacean distribution off western Africa. The majority of artisanal fishermen operating in Togolese coastal waters are of Ghanaian origin and are thought to promote trade and consumption of cetacean bushmeat. Because captures are illegal, enforced with some success in the main fishing centers, covert landings of cetaceans are exceedingly difficult to monitor, quantify or sample. Concern is expressed about pollution of Togo's coastal waters with heavy metals due to phosphorite mining and export from the coastal basin near Hahotoé and Kpogamé. PMID:24447657

  2. Whales Are Big With Little People.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dommers, John J.

    1981-01-01

    Presented is a discussion on why people should study whales. Background information, learning activities appropriate for different subject areas, and whale-related teaching materials are included. (DC)

  3. A model to resolve organochlorine pharmacokinetics in migrating humpback whales.

    PubMed

    Cropp, Roger; Nash, Susan Bengtson; Hawker, Darryl

    2014-07-01

    Humpback whales are iconic mammals at the top of the Antarctic food chain. Their large reserves of lipid-rich tissues such as blubber predispose them to accumulation of lipophilic contaminants throughout their lifetime. Changes in the volume and distribution of lipids in humpback whales, particularly during migration, could play an important role in the pharmacokinetics of lipophilic contaminants such as the organochlorine pesticide hexachlorobenzene (HCB). Previous models have examined constant feeding and nonmigratory scenarios. In the present study, the authors develop a novel heuristic model to investigate HCB dynamics in a humpback whale and its environment by coupling an ecosystem nutrient-phytoplankton-zooplankton-detritus (NPZD) model, a dynamic energy budget (DEB) model, and a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model. The model takes into account the seasonal feeding pattern of whales, their energy requirements, and fluctuating contaminant burdens in the supporting plankton food chain. It is applied to a male whale from weaning to maturity, spanning 20 migration and feeding cycles. The model is initialized with environmental HCB burdens similar to those measured in the Southern Ocean and predicts blubber HCB concentrations consistent with empirical concentrations observed in a southern hemisphere population of male, migrating humpback whales. Results show for the first time some important details of the relationship between energy budgets and organochlorine pharmacokinetics. PMID:24733631

  4. The modelling and assessment of whale-watching impacts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    New, Leslie; Hall, Ailsa J.; Harcourt, Robert; Kaufman, Greg; Parsons, E.C.M.; Pearson, Heidi C.; Cosentino, A. Mel; Schick, Robert S

    2015-01-01

    In recent years there has been significant interest in modelling cumulative effects and the population consequences of individual changes in cetacean behaviour and physiology due to disturbance. One potential source of disturbance that has garnered particular interest is whale-watching. Though perceived as ‘green’ or eco-friendly tourism, there is evidence that whale-watching can result in statistically significant and biologically meaningful changes in cetacean behaviour, raising the question whether whale-watching is in fact a long term sustainable activity. However, an assessment of the impacts of whale-watching on cetaceans requires an understanding of the potential behavioural and physiological effects, data to effectively address the question and suitable modelling techniques. Here, we review the current state of knowledge on the viability of long-term whale-watching, as well as logistical limitations and potential opportunities. We conclude that an integrated, coordinated approach will be needed to further understanding of the possible effects of whale-watching on cetaceans.

  5. Localization and visual verification of a complex minke whale vocalization.

    PubMed

    Gedamke, J; Costa, D P; Dunstan, A

    2001-06-01

    A recently described population of minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) offered a unique opportunity to study its acoustic behavior. The often-inquisitive dwarf minke whale is seen on the Great Barrier Reef nearly coincident with its suspected calving and breeding seasons. During drifting encounters with whales, a towed hydrophone array was used to record sounds for subsequent localization of sound sources. Shipboard and in-water observers linked these sounds to the closely circling minke whale. A complex and stereotyped sound sequence, the "star-wars" (SW) vocalization, was recorded during a series of visual and acoustic observations. The SW vocalization spanned a wide frequency range (50 Hz-9.4 kHz) and was composed of distinct and stereotypically repeated units with both amplitude and frequency-modulated components. Broadband source levels between 150 and 165 dB re 1 microPa at 1 m were calculated. Passive acoustic studies can utilize this distinct vocalization to help determine the behavior, distribution, and movements of this animal. While the SW vocalization's function remains unknown, the regularly repeated and complex sound sequence was common in low latitude, winter month aggregations of minke whales. At this early stage, the SW vocalization appears similar to the songs of other whale species and has characteristics consistent with those of reproductive advertisement displays. PMID:11425146

  6. Omura's whales (Balaenoptera omurai) off northwest Madagascar: ecology, behaviour and conservation needs.

    PubMed

    Cerchio, Salvatore; Andrianantenaina, Boris; Lindsay, Alec; Rekdahl, Melinda; Andrianarivelo, Norbert; Rasoloarijao, Tahina

    2015-10-01

    The Omura's whale (Balaenoptera omurai) was described as a new species in 2003 and then soon after as an ancient lineage basal to a Bryde's/sei whale clade. Currently known only from whaling and stranding specimens primarily from the western Pacific and eastern Indian Oceans, there exist no confirmed field observations or ecological/behavioural data. Here we present, to our knowledge, the first genetically confirmed documentation of living Omura's whales including descriptions of basic ecology and behaviour from northwestern Madagascar. Species identification was confirmed through molecular phylogenetic analyses of biopsies collected from 18 adult animals. All individuals shared a single haplotype in a 402 bp sequence of mtDNA control region, suggesting low diversity and a potentially small population. Sightings of 44 groups indicated preference for shallow-water shelf habitat with sea surface temperature between 27.4°C and 30.2°C. Frequent observations were made of lunge feeding, possibly on zooplankton. Observations of four mothers with young calves, and recordings of a song-like vocalization probably indicate reproductive behaviour. Social organization consisted of loose aggregations of predominantly unassociated single individuals spatially and temporally clustered. Photographic recapture of a female re-sighted the following year with a young calf suggests site fidelity or a resident population. Our results demonstrate that the species is a tropical whale without segregation of feeding and breeding habitat, and is probably non-migratory; our data extend the range of this poorly studied whale into the western Indian Ocean. Exclusive range restriction to tropical waters is rare among baleen whale species, except for the various forms of Bryde's whales and Omura's whales. Thus, the discovery of a tractable population of Omura's whales in the tropics presents an opportunity for understanding the ecological factors driving potential convergence of life

  7. Omura’s whales (Balaenoptera omurai) off northwest Madagascar: ecology, behaviour and conservation needs

    PubMed Central

    Cerchio, Salvatore; Andrianantenaina, Boris; Lindsay, Alec; Rekdahl, Melinda; Andrianarivelo, Norbert; Rasoloarijao, Tahina

    2015-01-01

    The Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omurai) was described as a new species in 2003 and then soon after as an ancient lineage basal to a Bryde’s/sei whale clade. Currently known only from whaling and stranding specimens primarily from the western Pacific and eastern Indian Oceans, there exist no confirmed field observations or ecological/behavioural data. Here we present, to our knowledge, the first genetically confirmed documentation of living Omura’s whales including descriptions of basic ecology and behaviour from northwestern Madagascar. Species identification was confirmed through molecular phylogenetic analyses of biopsies collected from 18 adult animals. All individuals shared a single haplotype in a 402 bp sequence of mtDNA control region, suggesting low diversity and a potentially small population. Sightings of 44 groups indicated preference for shallow-water shelf habitat with sea surface temperature between 27.4°C and 30.2°C. Frequent observations were made of lunge feeding, possibly on zooplankton. Observations of four mothers with young calves, and recordings of a song-like vocalization probably indicate reproductive behaviour. Social organization consisted of loose aggregations of predominantly unassociated single individuals spatially and temporally clustered. Photographic recapture of a female re-sighted the following year with a young calf suggests site fidelity or a resident population. Our results demonstrate that the species is a tropical whale without segregation of feeding and breeding habitat, and is probably non-migratory; our data extend the range of this poorly studied whale into the western Indian Ocean. Exclusive range restriction to tropical waters is rare among baleen whale species, except for the various forms of Bryde’s whales and Omura’s whales. Thus, the discovery of a tractable population of Omura’s whales in the tropics presents an opportunity for understanding the ecological factors driving potential convergence of life

  8. Co-evolution of Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) Class I Ligands with Killer-Cell Immunoglobulin-Like Receptors (KIR) in a Genetically Diverse Population of Sub-Saharan Africans

    PubMed Central

    Norman, Paul J.; Hollenbach, Jill A.; Nemat-Gorgani, Neda; Guethlein, Lisbeth A.; Hilton, Hugo G.; Pando, Marcelo J.; Koram, Kwadwo A.; Riley, Eleanor M.; Abi-Rached, Laurent; Parham, Peter

    2013-01-01

    Interactions between HLA class I molecules and killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) control natural killer cell (NK) functions in immunity and reproduction. Encoded by genes on different chromosomes, these polymorphic ligands and receptors correlate highly with disease resistance and susceptibility. Although studied at low-resolution in many populations, high-resolution analysis of combinatorial diversity of HLA class I and KIR is limited to Asian and Amerindian populations with low genetic diversity. At the other end of the spectrum is the West African population investigated here: we studied 235 individuals, including 104 mother-child pairs, from the Ga-Adangbe of Ghana. This population has a rich diversity of 175 KIR variants forming 208 KIR haplotypes, and 81 HLA-A, -B and -C variants forming 190 HLA class I haplotypes. Each individual we studied has a unique compound genotype of HLA class I and KIR, forming 1–14 functional ligand-receptor interactions. Maintaining this exceptionally high polymorphism is balancing selection. The centromeric region of the KIR locus, encoding HLA-C receptors, is highly diverse whereas the telomeric region encoding Bw4-specific KIR3DL1, lacks diversity in Africans. Present in the Ga-Adangbe are high frequencies of Bw4-bearing HLA-B*53:01 and Bw4-lacking HLA-B*35:01, which otherwise are identical. Balancing selection at key residues maintains numerous HLA-B allotypes having and lacking Bw4, and also those of stronger and weaker interaction with LILRB1, a KIR-related receptor. Correspondingly, there is a balance at key residues of KIR3DL1 that modulate its level of cell-surface expression. Thus, capacity to interact with NK cells synergizes with peptide binding diversity to drive HLA-B allele frequency distribution. These features of KIR and HLA are consistent with ongoing co-evolution and selection imposed by a pathogen endemic to West Africa. Because of the prevalence of malaria in the Ga-Adangbe and previous

  9. Wintering habitat model for the North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) in the southeastern United States.

    PubMed

    Gowan, Timothy A; Ortega-Ortiz, Joel G

    2014-01-01

    The coastal waters off the southeastern United States (SEUS) are a primary wintering ground for the endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), used by calving females along with other adult and juvenile whales. Management actions implemented in this area for the recovery of the right whale population rely on accurate habitat characterization and the ability to predict whale distribution over time. We developed a temporally dynamic habitat model to predict wintering right whale distribution in the SEUS using a generalized additive model framework and aerial survey data from 2003/2004 through 2012/2013. We built upon previous habitat models for right whales in the SEUS and include data from new aerial surveys that extend the spatial coverage of the analysis, particularly in the northern portion of this wintering ground. We summarized whale sightings, survey effort corrected for probability of whale detection, and environmental data at a semimonthly resolution. Consistent with previous studies, sea surface temperature (SST), water depth, and survey year were significant predictors of right whale relative abundance. Additionally, distance to shore, distance to the 22°C SST isotherm, and an interaction between time of year and latitude (to account for the latitudinal migration of whales) were also selected in the analysis presented here. Predictions from the model revealed that the location of preferred habitat differs within and between years in correspondence with variation in environmental conditions. Although cow-calf pairs were rarely sighted in the company of other whales, there was minimal evidence that the preferred habitat of cow-calf pairs was different than that of whale groups without calves at the scale of this study. The results of this updated habitat model can be used to inform management decisions for a migratory species in a dynamic oceanic environment. PMID:24740091

  10. Wintering Habitat Model for the North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) in the Southeastern United States

    PubMed Central

    Gowan, Timothy A.; Ortega-Ortiz, Joel G.

    2014-01-01

    The coastal waters off the southeastern United States (SEUS) are a primary wintering ground for the endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), used by calving females along with other adult and juvenile whales. Management actions implemented in this area for the recovery of the right whale population rely on accurate habitat characterization and the ability to predict whale distribution over time. We developed a temporally dynamic habitat model to predict wintering right whale distribution in the SEUS using a generalized additive model framework and aerial survey data from 2003/2004 through 2012/2013. We built upon previous habitat models for right whales in the SEUS and include data from new aerial surveys that extend the spatial coverage of the analysis, particularly in the northern portion of this wintering ground. We summarized whale sightings, survey effort corrected for probability of whale detection, and environmental data at a semimonthly resolution. Consistent with previous studies, sea surface temperature (SST), water depth, and survey year were significant predictors of right whale relative abundance. Additionally, distance to shore, distance to the 22°C SST isotherm, and an interaction between time of year and latitude (to account for the latitudinal migration of whales) were also selected in the analysis presented here. Predictions from the model revealed that the location of preferred habitat differs within and between years in correspondence with variation in environmental conditions. Although cow-calf pairs were rarely sighted in the company of other whales, there was minimal evidence that the preferred habitat of cow-calf pairs was different than that of whale groups without calves at the scale of this study. The results of this updated habitat model can be used to inform management decisions for a migratory species in a dynamic oceanic environment. PMID:24740091

  11. Biomass and energy transfer to baleen whales in the South Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reilly, S.; Hedley, S.; Borberg, J.; Hewitt, R.; Thiele, D.; Watkins, J.; Naganobu, M.

    2004-06-01

    Baleen whales are an important group of predators on Antarctic krill in the Southern Ocean. During the CCAMLR 2000 Survey to estimate the biomass and distribution of Antarctic krill, International Whaling Commission observers carried out a visual line transect survey to estimate the number of baleen whales occurring in the survey area. This paper reviews techniques used to estimate krill consumption by baleen whales and in combination with estimates of whale abundance estimates of krill consumption are generated for the South Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. This survey estimates that the present populations of whales feeding in this region are likely to consume approximately 1.6 million tonnes, but possibly up to as much as 2.7 million tonnes of krill within the summer season. Although this only represents 4-6% of the estimated krill biomass in the region (and probably less than this percentage of the total annual krill production), the depleted numbers of baleen whales resulting from past or current whaling activities should be taken into account when setting quotas for the commercial exploitation of krill if there is to be a recovery to pre-exploitation biomass levels of baleen whales.

  12. Declining survival probability threatens the North Atlantic right whale.

    PubMed

    Caswell, H; Fujiwara, M; Brault, S

    1999-03-16

    The North Atlantic northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is considered the most endangered large whale species. Its population has recovered only slowly since the cessation of commercial whaling and numbers about 300 individuals. We applied mark-recapture statistics to a catalog of photographically identified individuals to obtain the first statistically rigorous estimates of survival probability for this population. Crude survival decreased from about 0.99 per year in 1980 to about 0.94 in 1994. We combined this survival trend with a reported decrease in reproductive rate into a branching process model to compute population growth rate and extinction probability. Population growth rate declined from about 1. 053 in 1980 to about 0.976 in 1994. Under current conditions the population is doomed to extinction; an upper bound on the expected time to extinction is 191 years. The most effective way to improve the prospects of the population is to reduce mortality. The right whale is at risk from entanglement in fishing gear and from collisions with ships. Reducing this human-caused mortality is essential to the viability of this population. PMID:10077680

  13. Organochlorine and metal contaminants in baleen whales: a review and evaluation of conservation implications.

    PubMed

    O'Shea, T J; Brownell, R L

    1994-09-16

    The literature on organochlorine and metal contaminants in tissues of baleen whales includes data for approximately 1000 individuals in 10 species from various oceans of the world. Concentrations of these contaminants in tissues of baleen whales are low. Sources of variation in organochlorine concentrations in whales include age, sex, region of exposure, and feeding habits. Concentrations of sigma DDT and PCBs in baleen whales appear higher in the northern hemisphere than in the southern oceans, perhaps due to greater contamination of northern ecosystems and a higher incidence of fish in the diet. However, maximum concentrations are generally lower in tissues of baleen whales than in other marine mammal species, both on global and local scales. This is predictable based on the general distribution, habitats and trophic levels of baleen whales. We reviewed laboratory studies on the effects of selected organochlorine contaminants on direct mortality and impaired reproduction in other mammals, and critically examined observations attempting to link organochlorines to reproductive and population effects in marine mammals. There is no firm basis to conclude that the contaminants reviewed herein have affected baleen whale populations. Although more information on contaminants in baleen whales would be of value, as a matter of priority, research and management actions should focus on reducing human-caused mortality and increasing habitat carrying capacity for these species. PMID:7973606

  14. Antigen-Addicted T Cell Reserves Trickle Charge the Frontline Killers.

    PubMed

    Kalia, Vandana; Sarkar, Surojit

    2016-07-19

    Highly active killer T cells mediate a stable standoff during controlled persistent infections. In this issue of Immunity, Robey and colleagues describe a unique antigen-addicted T cell population bearing characteristics of both effector and memory CD8(+) T cells that provides a continuous supply of potent killer T cells to curb Toxoplasma gondii growth during latency. PMID:27438762

  15. Bathymetric and temporal variation among Osedax boneworms and associated megafauna on whale-falls in Monterey Bay, California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Braby, Caren E.; Rouse, Greg W.; Johnson, Shannon B.; Jones, William J.; Vrijenhoek, Robert C.

    2007-10-01

    The discovery in 2002 of a natural whale-fall at 2893 m depth in Monterey Bay, California, led to the description of Osedax, a novel genus of bone-eating worms (Annelida: Siboglinidae). Osedax obtain their nutrition via ramifying roots that host symbiotic bacteria and consume whale bones. To assess the bathymetric range of these unusual worms and their role in whale-fall community succession, we sank beached whale carcasses at three additional depths (1820, 1018, and 385 m) in the Monterey Submarine Canyon. The four sunken carcasses experienced different temperature, oxygen, and disturbance regimes and hosted megafaunal communities that differed in both species diversity and composition. However, Osedax were found at all four sites, and molecular analyses allowed us to assign them to six distinct species, four of which are new to science. The previously known species, O. rubiplumus (1820-2893 m) and O. frankpressi (2893 m), were found below the oxygen minimum zone. One of the new species appears to be a late successional species that attacks sediment-covered bone fragments at the 2893-m whale-fall. The other new species occur at the shallower whale-falls, which are in oxygen-poor water. One is an early colonizer at the 1018-m whale-fall, and two occur at the 385-m whale-fall. Dense Osedax populations at the 1018-m whale-fall led to rapid degradation of whale bones, whereas sparse Osedax populations were associated with slow degradation at the 385-m whale-fall. Thus, we hypothesize that Osedax may be a foundation species in Monterey whale-fall communities, regulating the longevity of whale bones and thereby affecting the succession of associated megafauna.

  16. Long-range movement of humpback whales and their overlap with anthropogenic activity in the South Atlantic Ocean.

    PubMed

    Rosenbaum, Howard C; Maxwell, Sara M; Kershaw, Francine; Mate, Bruce

    2014-04-01

    Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are managed by the International Whaling Commission as 7 primary populations that breed in the tropics and migrate to 6 feeding areas around the Antarctic. There is little information on individual movements within breeding areas or migratory connections to feeding grounds. We sought to better understand humpback whale habitat use and movements at breeding areas off West Africa, and during the annual migration to Antarctic feeding areas. We also assessed potential overlap between whale habitat and anthropogenic activities. We used Argos satellite-monitored radio tags to collect data on 13 animals off Gabon, a primary humpback whale breeding area. We quantified habitat use for 3 cohorts of whales and used a state-space model to determine transitions in the movement behavior of individuals. We developed a spatial metric of overlap between whale habitat and models of cumulative human activities, including oil platforms, toxicants, and shipping. We detected strong heterogeneity in movement behavior over time that is consistent with previous genetic evidence of multiple populations in the region. Breeding areas for humpback whales in the eastern Atlantic were extensive and extended north of Gabon late in the breeding season. We also observed, for the first time, direct migration between West Africa and sub-Antarctic feeding areas. Potential overlap of whale habitat with human activities was the highest in exclusive economic zones close to shore, particularly in areas used by both individual whales and the hydrocarbon industry. Whales potentially overlapped with different activities during each stage of their migration, which makes it difficult to implement mitigation measures over their entire range. Our results and existing population-level data may inform delimitation of populations and actions to mitigate potential threats to whales as part of local, regional, and international management of highly migratory marine species

  17. Does acoustic testing strand whales?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frantzis, A.

    1998-03-01

    Mass strandings of live whales have been explained by proposing many `natural' or human-related causes. I found that a recent stranding of Cuvier's beaked whale coincided closely in time and location with military tests of an acoustic system for submarine detection being carried out by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

  18. Suppressing the killer instinct.

    PubMed

    Campbell, Kerry S

    2016-01-01

    Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphoid cells that have adopted activating and inhibitory signaling mechanisms enabling them to be tolerant of normal cells but to distinguish and eliminate tumor cells and virus-infected cells. In this issue of Science Signaling, Matalon et al show how inhibitory receptors disrupt NK cell activation by stimulating dephosphorylation of the adaptor protein LAT (linker of activated T cells) and phospholipase C-γ by the phosphatase SHP-1 [Src homology 2 (SH2) domain-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase 1], as well as ubiquitylation of LAT by Cbl family E3 ubiquitin ligases. PMID:27221707

  19. The Origin(s) of Whales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uhen, Mark D.

    2010-05-01

    Whales are first found in the fossil record approximately 52.5 million years ago (Mya) during the early Eocene in Indo-Pakistan. Our knowledge of early and middle Eocene whales has increased dramatically during the past three decades to the point where hypotheses of whale origins can be supported with a great deal of evidence from paleontology, anatomy, stratigraphy, and molecular biology. Fossils also provide preserved evidence of behavior and habitats, allowing the reconstruction of the modes of life of these semiaquatic animals during their transition from land to sea. Modern whales originated from ancient whales at or near the Eocene/Oligocene boundary, approximately 33.7 Mya. During the Oligocene, ancient whales coexisted with early baleen whales and early toothed whales. By the end of the Miocene, most modern families had originated, and most archaic forms had gone extinct. Whale diversity peaked in the late middle Miocene and fell thereafter toward the Recent, yielding our depauperate modern whale fauna.

  20. Plasma endothelial protein C receptor influences innate immune response in ovarian cancer by decreasing the population of natural killer and TH17 helper cells

    PubMed Central

    AZZAZENE, DALEL; THAWADI, HAMDA AL; FARSI, HALEMA AL; BESBES, SAMAHER; GEYL, CAROLINE; MIRSHAHI, SHAHSOLTAN; PARDO, JULIA; FAUSSAT, ANNE MARIE; JEANNETTE, SORIA; THERWATH, AMU; PUJADE-LAURAINE, ERIC; MIRSHAHI, MASSOUD

    decreasing effector cells such as natural killer and T helper cells (TH2, TH17 and TH21). PMID:23877403

  1. Distribution and abundance of western gray whales off northeastern Sakhalin Island, Russia, 2001-2003.

    PubMed

    Meier, S K; Yazvenko, S B; Blokhin, S A; Wainwright, P; Maminov, M K; Yakovlev, Y M; Newcomer, M W

    2007-11-01

    In 2001-2003, >60,000 km of aerial surveys and 7,700 km of vessel surveys were conducted during June to November when critically endangered Korean-Okhotsk or western gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) were present off the northeast coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia. Results of surveys in all years indicated gray whales occurred in predominantly two areas, (1) adjacent to Piltun Bay, and (2) offshore from Chayvo Bay, hereafter referred to as the Piltun and offshore feeding areas. In the Piltun feeding area, the majority of whales were observed in waters shallower than 20 m and were distributed from several hundred meters to approximately 5 km from the shoreline. In the offshore feeding area during all years, the distribution of gray whales extended from southwest to northeast in waters 30-65 m in depth. During all years, the distribution and abundance of whales changed in both the Piltun and offshore feeding areas, and both north-south and inshore-offshore movements were documented within and between feeding seasons. The discovery of a significant number of whales feeding in the offshore area each year was a substantial finding of this study and raises questions regarding western gray whale abundance and population levels, feeding behavior and ecology, and individual site-fidelity. Fluctuations in the number of whales observed within the Piltun and offshore feeding areas and few sightings outside of these two areas indicate that gray whales move between the Piltun and offshore feeding areas during their summer-fall feeding season. Seasonal shifts in the distribution and abundance of gray whales between and within both the Piltun and offshore feeding areas are thought, in part, to be a response to seasonal changes in the distribution and abundance of prey. However, the mechanism driving the movements of whales along the northeast coast of Sakhalin Island is likely very complex and influenced by a multitude of factors. PMID:17703367

  2. Arsenic: The Silent Killer

    SciTech Connect

    Foster, Andrea

    2006-02-28

    Andrea Foster uses x-rays to determine the forms of potentially toxic elements in environmentally-important matrices such as water, sediments, plants, and microorganisms. In this free public lecture, Foster will discuss her research on arsenic, which is called the silent killer because dissolved in water, it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, yet consumption of relatively small doses of this element in its most toxic forms can cause rapid and violent death. Arsenic is a well-known poison, and has been used as such since ancient times. Less well known is the fact that much lower doses of the element, consumed over years, can lead to a variety of skin and internal cancers that can also be fatal. Currently, what has been called the largest mass poisoning in history is occurring in Bangladesh, where most people are by necessity drinking ground water that is contaminated with arsenic far in excess of the maximum amounts determined to be safe by the World Health Organization. This presentation will review the long and complicated history with arsenic, describe how x-rays have helped explain the high yet spatially variable arsenic concentrations in Bangladesh, discuss the ways in which land use in Bangladesh may be exacerbating the problem, and summarize the impact of this silent killer on drinking water systems worldwide.

  3. 76 FR 5338 - Marine Mammals; File No. 15274

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-01-31

    ... sloughed skin to study humpback whales, Hawaiian Insular false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens), and... killer whales could be harassed each year during photo- identification surveys. Additionally, false killer whales, killer whales (Orcinus orca), short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala...

  4. Fin whales and microplastics: The Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Cortez scenarios.

    PubMed

    Fossi, Maria Cristina; Marsili, Letizia; Baini, Matteo; Giannetti, Matteo; Coppola, Daniele; Guerranti, Cristiana; Caliani, Ilaria; Minutoli, Roberta; Lauriano, Giancarlo; Finoia, Maria Grazia; Rubegni, Fabrizio; Panigada, Simone; Bérubé, Martine; Urbán Ramírez, Jorge; Panti, Cristina

    2016-02-01

    The impact that microplastics have on baleen whales is a question that remains largely unexplored. This study examined the interaction between free-ranging fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and microplastics by comparing populations living in two semi-enclosed basins, the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California, Mexico). The results indicate that a considerable abundance of microplastics and plastic additives exists in the neustonic samples from Pelagos Sanctuary of the Mediterranean Sea, and that pelagic areas containing high densities of microplastics overlap with whale feeding grounds, suggesting that whales are exposed to microplastics during foraging; this was confirmed by the observation of a temporal increase in toxicological stress in whales. Given the abundance of microplastics in the Mediterranean environment, along with the high concentrations of Persistent Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT) chemicals, plastic additives and biomarker responses detected in the biopsies of Mediterranean whales as compared to those in whales inhabiting the Sea of Cortez, we believe that exposure to microplastics because of direct ingestion and consumption of contaminated prey poses a major threat to the health of fin whales in the Mediterranean Sea. PMID:26637933

  5. Blue and fin whale call source levels and propagation range in the Southern Ocean.

    PubMed

    Sirović, Ana; Hildebrand, John A; Wiggins, Sean M

    2007-08-01

    Blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin whales (B. physalus) produce high-intensity, low-frequency calls, which probably function for communication during mating and feeding. The source levels of blue and fin whale calls off the Western Antarctic Peninsula were calculated using recordings made with calibrated, bottom-moored hydrophones. Blue whales were located up to a range of 200 km using hyperbolic localization and time difference of arrival. The distance to fin whales, estimated using multipath arrivals of their calls, was up to 56 km. The error in range measurements was 3.8 km using hyperbolic localization, and 3.4 km using multipath arrivals. Both species produced high-intensity calls; the average blue whale call source level was 189+/-3 dB re:1 microPa-1 m over 25-29 Hz, and the average fin whale call source level was 189+/-4 dB re:1 microPa-1 m over 15-28 Hz. Blue and fin whale populations in the Southern Ocean have remained at low numbers for decades since they became protected; using source level and detection range from passive acoustic recordings can help in calculating the relative density of calling whales. PMID:17672667

  6. Hippopotamus and whale phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Geisler, Jonathan H; Theodor, Jessica M

    2009-03-19

    Thewissen et al. describe new fossils from India that apparently support a phylogeny that places Cetacea (that is, whales, dolphins, porpoises) as the sister group to the extinct family Raoellidae, and Hippopotamidae as more closely related to pigs and peccaries (that is, Suina) than to cetaceans. However, our reanalysis of a modified version of the data set they used differs in retaining molecular characters and demonstrates that Hippopotamidae is the closest extant family to Cetacea and that raoellids are the closest extinct group, consistent with previous phylogenetic studies. This topology supports the view that the aquatic adaptations in hippopotamids and cetaceans are inherited from their common ancestor. PMID:19295550

  7. Click rates and silences of sperm whales at Kaikoura, New Zealand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Douglas, Lesley A.; Dawson, Stephen M.; Jaquet, Nathalie

    2005-07-01

    Analysis of the usual click rates of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) at Kaikoura, New Zealand, confirms the potential for assessing abundance via ``click counting.'' Usual click rates over three dive cycles each of three photographically identified whales showed that 5 min averages of usual click rate did not differ significantly within dives, among dives of the same whale or among whales. Over the nine dives (n=13 728 clicks) mean usual click rate was 1.272 clicks s-1 (95% CI=0.151). On average, individual sperm whales at Kaikoura spent 60% of their time usual clicking in winter and in summer. There was no evidence that whale identity or stage of the dive recorded affects significantly the percentage of time spent usual clicking. Differences in vocal behavior among sperm whale populations worldwide indicate that estimates of abundance that are based on click rates need to based on data from the population of interest, rather than from another population or some global average.

  8. Climate impacts on transocean dispersal and habitat in gray whales from the Pleistocene to 2100.

    PubMed

    Alter, S Elizabeth; Meyer, Matthias; Post, Klaas; Czechowski, Paul; Gravlund, Peter; Gaines, Cork; Rosenbaum, Howard C; Kaschner, Kristin; Turvey, Samuel T; van der Plicht, Johannes; Shapiro, Beth; Hofreiter, Michael

    2015-04-01

    Arctic animals face dramatic habitat alteration due to ongoing climate change. Understanding how such species have responded to past glacial cycles can help us forecast their response to today's changing climate. Gray whales are among those marine species likely to be strongly affected by Arctic climate change, but a thorough analysis of past climate impacts on this species has been complicated by lack of information about an extinct population in the Atlantic. While little is known about the history of Atlantic gray whales or their relationship to the extant Pacific population, the extirpation of the Atlantic population during historical times has been attributed to whaling. We used a combination of ancient and modern DNA, radiocarbon dating and predictive habitat modelling to better understand the distribution of gray whales during the Pleistocene and Holocene. Our results reveal that dispersal between the Pacific and Atlantic was climate dependent and occurred both during the Pleistocene prior to the last glacial period and the early Holocene immediately following the opening of the Bering Strait. Genetic diversity in the Atlantic declined over an extended interval that predates the period of intensive commercial whaling, indicating this decline may have been precipitated by Holocene climate or other ecological causes. These first genetic data for Atlantic gray whales, particularly when combined with predictive habitat models for the year 2100, suggest that two recent sightings of gray whales in the Atlantic may represent the beginning of the expansion of this species' habitat beyond its currently realized range. PMID:25753251

  9. 78 FR 21347 - Marine Mammals; File No. 17344

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-04-10

    ... for a permit to conduct research on killer whales (Orcinus orca). DATES: Written, telefaxed, or email... endangered and threatened species (50 CFR 222-226). The applicant requests a permit to study killer whales of.... Each year, the entire population of Southern Resident killer whales (currently estimated at...

  10. Blue whales respond to simulated mid-frequency military sonar

    PubMed Central

    Goldbogen, Jeremy A.; Southall, Brandon L.; DeRuiter, Stacy L.; Calambokidis, John; Friedlaender, Ari S.; Hazen, Elliott L.; Falcone, Erin A.; Schorr, Gregory S.; Douglas, Annie; Moretti, David J.; Kyburg, Chris; McKenna, Megan F.; Tyack, Peter L.

    2013-01-01

    Mid-frequency military (1–10 kHz) sonars have been associated with lethal mass strandings of deep-diving toothed whales, but the effects on endangered baleen whale species are virtually unknown. Here, we used controlled exposure experiments with simulated military sonar and other mid-frequency sounds to measure behavioural responses of tagged blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) in feeding areas within the Southern California Bight. Despite using source levels orders of magnitude below some operational military systems, our results demonstrate that mid-frequency sound can significantly affect blue whale behaviour, especially during deep feeding modes. When a response occurred, behavioural changes varied widely from cessation of deep feeding to increased swimming speed and directed travel away from the sound source. The variability of these behavioural responses was largely influenced by a complex interaction of behavioural state, the type of mid-frequency sound and received sound level. Sonar-induced disruption of feeding and displacement from high-quality prey patches could have significant and previously undocumented impacts on baleen whale foraging ecology, individual fitness and population health. PMID:23825206

  11. Blue whales respond to simulated mid-frequency military sonar.

    PubMed

    Goldbogen, Jeremy A; Southall, Brandon L; DeRuiter, Stacy L; Calambokidis, John; Friedlaender, Ari S; Hazen, Elliott L; Falcone, Erin A; Schorr, Gregory S; Douglas, Annie; Moretti, David J; Kyburg, Chris; McKenna, Megan F; Tyack, Peter L

    2013-08-22

    Mid-frequency military (1-10 kHz) sonars have been associated with lethal mass strandings of deep-diving toothed whales, but the effects on endangered baleen whale species are virtually unknown. Here, we used controlled exposure experiments with simulated military sonar and other mid-frequency sounds to measure behavioural responses of tagged blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) in feeding areas within the Southern California Bight. Despite using source levels orders of magnitude below some operational military systems, our results demonstrate that mid-frequency sound can significantly affect blue whale behaviour, especially during deep feeding modes. When a response occurred, behavioural changes varied widely from cessation of deep feeding to increased swimming speed and directed travel away from the sound source. The variability of these behavioural responses was largely influenced by a complex interaction of behavioural state, the type of mid-frequency sound and received sound level. Sonar-induced disruption of feeding and displacement from high-quality prey patches could have significant and previously undocumented impacts on baleen whale foraging ecology, individual fitness and population health. PMID:23825206

  12. A whale of a problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    While the Makah Indian tribe recently killed a gray whale off the coast of the U.S. state of Washington, and Japan and Norway have threatened to bolt from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) over disagreements about commercial catches, on May 26, the U.S. commissioner to the IWC told delegates about another, and far more widespread, threat affecting cetaceans.Global environmental changes could jeopardize whale stocks throughout the world, said Commissioner James Baker, who also serves as administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

  13. Natural killer cell deficiency

    PubMed Central

    Orange, Jordan S.

    2013-01-01

    Natural killer (NK) cells are part of the innate immune defense against infection and cancer, and are especially useful in combating certain viral pathogens. The utility of NK cells in human health has been underscored by a growing number of individuals who are deficient in NK cells and/or their functions. This can be in the context of a broader genetically-defined congenital immunodeficiency of which there are over forty presently known to impair NK cells. The abnormality of NK cells, however, in certain cases represents the majority immunological defect. In aggregate, these conditions are termed NK cell deficiency. Recent advances have added clarity to this diagnosis and identified defects in three different genes that can cause NK cell deficiency as well as some of the underlying biology. Appropriate consideration of these diagnoses and patients raises the potential for rational therapeutic options and further innovation. PMID:23993353

  14. Laser photogrammetry improves size and demographic estimates for whale sharks

    PubMed Central

    Richardson, Anthony J.; Prebble, Clare E.M.; Marshall, Andrea D.; Bennett, Michael B.; Weeks, Scarla J.; Cliff, Geremy; Wintner, Sabine P.; Pierce, Simon J.

    2015-01-01

    Whale sharks Rhincodon typus are globally threatened, but a lack of biological and demographic information hampers an accurate assessment of their vulnerability to further decline or capacity to recover. We used laser photogrammetry at two aggregation sites to obtain more accurate size estimates of free-swimming whale sharks compared to visual estimates, allowing improved estimates of biological parameters. Individual whale sharks ranged from 432–917 cm total length (TL) (mean ± SD = 673 ± 118.8 cm, N = 122) in southern Mozambique and from 420–990 cm TL (mean ± SD = 641 ± 133 cm, N = 46) in Tanzania. By combining measurements of stranded individuals with photogrammetry measurements of free-swimming sharks, we calculated length at 50% maturity for males in Mozambique at 916 cm TL. Repeat measurements of individual whale sharks measured over periods from 347–1,068 days yielded implausible growth rates, suggesting that the growth increment over this period was not large enough to be detected using laser photogrammetry, and that the method is best applied to estimating growth rates over longer (decadal) time periods. The sex ratio of both populations was biased towards males (74% in Mozambique, 89% in Tanzania), the majority of which were immature (98% in Mozambique, 94% in Tanzania). The population structure for these two aggregations was similar to most other documented whale shark aggregations around the world. Information on small (<400 cm) whale sharks, mature individuals, and females in this region is lacking, but necessary to inform conservation initiatives for this globally threatened species. PMID:25870776

  15. Laser photogrammetry improves size and demographic estimates for whale sharks.

    PubMed

    Rohner, Christoph A; Richardson, Anthony J; Prebble, Clare E M; Marshall, Andrea D; Bennett, Michael B; Weeks, Scarla J; Cliff, Geremy; Wintner, Sabine P; Pierce, Simon J

    2015-01-01

    Whale sharks Rhincodon typus are globally threatened, but a lack of biological and demographic information hampers an accurate assessment of their vulnerability to further decline or capacity to recover. We used laser photogrammetry at two aggregation sites to obtain more accurate size estimates of free-swimming whale sharks compared to visual estimates, allowing improved estimates of biological parameters. Individual whale sharks ranged from 432-917 cm total length (TL) (mean ± SD = 673 ± 118.8 cm, N = 122) in southern Mozambique and from 420-990 cm TL (mean ± SD = 641 ± 133 cm, N = 46) in Tanzania. By combining measurements of stranded individuals with photogrammetry measurements of free-swimming sharks, we calculated length at 50% maturity for males in Mozambique at 916 cm TL. Repeat measurements of individual whale sharks measured over periods from 347-1,068 days yielded implausible growth rates, suggesting that the growth increment over this period was not large enough to be detected using laser photogrammetry, and that the method is best applied to estimating growth rates over longer (decadal) time periods. The sex ratio of both populations was biased towards males (74% in Mozambique, 89% in Tanzania), the majority of which were immature (98% in Mozambique, 94% in Tanzania). The population structure for these two aggregations was similar to most other documented whale shark aggregations around the world. Information on small (<400 cm) whale sharks, mature individuals, and females in this region is lacking, but necessary to inform conservation initiatives for this globally threatened species. PMID:25870776

  16. Immunobiology of natural killer cells

    SciTech Connect

    Lotzova, E.; Herberman, R.B.

    1986-01-01

    This book combines research from many disciplines into a review of natural killer (NK) cell-mediated immunity in humans and experimental animal system. Topics for the volumes include: Volume I: Assays for NK Cell Cytotoxicity; Their Values and Pitfalls. Separation and Characterization of Phenotypically Distinct Subsets of NK Cells. Ultrastructure and Cytochemistry of the Human Large Granular Lymphocytes. Phylogeny and Ontogeny of NK Cells. Tissue and Organ distribution of NK Cells. Genetic Control of NK Cell Activity in Rodents. Phenotype, Functional Heterogeneity, and Lineage of Natural Killer Cells. Target Cell Structures, Recognition Sites, and the Mechanism of NK Cytotoxicity. Natural Killer Cytotoxic Factors (NKCF) Role in Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity. Characteristics of Cultured NK Cells. Lectin-Dependent Killer Cells. MLC-Induced Cytotoxicity as a Model for the Development and Regulation of NK Cytotoxicity. LGL Lymphoproliferative Diseases in Man and Experimental Animals: The Characteristics of These Cells and Their Potential Experimental Uses. Index.

  17. 75 FR 70903 - Eastern North Pacific Gray Whale; Notice of Extension of Public Comment Period on Marine Mammal...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-11-19

    ... on the petition (75 FR 68756). That Federal Register notice began NMFS' 15-day public comment period... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA018 Eastern North Pacific Gray Whale; Notice of... petition to designate the Eastern North Pacific population of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) as...

  18. The chemical forms of mercury and selenium in whale skeletal muscle

    PubMed Central

    George, Graham N.; MacDonald, Tracy C.; Korbas, Malgorzata; Singh, Satya P.; Myers, Gary J.; Watson, Gene E.; O'Donoghue, John L.; Pickering, Ingrid J.

    2013-01-01

    Human exposure to potentially neurotoxic methylmercury species is a public-health concern for many populations worldwide. Both fish and whale are known to contain varying amounts of methylmercury species. However studies of populations that consume large quantities of fish or whale have provided no clear consensus as to the extent of the risk. The toxicological profile of an element depends strongly on its chemical form. We have used X-ray absorption spectroscopy to investigate the comparative chemical forms of mercury and selenium in fish and whale skeletal muscle. The predominant chemical form of mercury in whale is found to closely resemble that found in fish. In the samples of skeletal muscle studied, no involvement of selenium in coordination of mercury is indicated in either whale or fish, with no significant inorganic HgSe or HgS type phases being detected. The selenium speciation in fish and whale shows that similar chemical types are present in each, but in significantly different proportions. Our results suggest that for equal amounts of Hg in skeletal muscle, the direct detrimental effects arising from the mercury content from consuming skeletal muscle from whale and fish should be similar if the effects of interactions with other components in the meat are not considered. PMID:21935544

  19. A spatially explicit estimate of the prewhaling abundance of the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

    PubMed

    Monsarrat, Sophie; Pennino, M Grazia; Smith, Tim D; Reeves, Randall R; Meynard, Christine N; Kaplan, David M; Rodrigues, Ana S L

    2016-08-01

    The North Atlantic right whale (NARW) (Eubalaena glacialis) is one of the world's most threatened whales. It came close to extinction after nearly a millennium of exploitation and currently persists as a population of only approximately 500 individuals. Setting appropriate conservation targets for this species requires an understanding of its historical population size, as a baseline for measuring levels of depletion and progress toward recovery. This is made difficult by the scarcity of records over this species' long whaling history. We sought to estimate the preexploitation population size of the North Atlantic right whale and understand how this species was distributed across its range. We used a spatially explicit data set on historical catches of North Pacific right whales (NPRWs) (Eubalaena japonica) to model the relationship between right whale relative density and the environment during the summer feeding season. Assuming the 2 right whale species select similar environments, we projected this model to the North Atlantic to predict how the relative abundance of NARWs varied across their range. We calibrated these relative abundances with estimates of the NPRW total prewhaling population size to obtain high and low estimates for the overall NARW population size prior to exploitation. The model predicted 9,075-21,328 right whales in the North Atlantic. The current NARW population is thus <6% of the historical North Atlantic carrying capacity and has enormous potential for recovery. According to the model, in June-September NARWs concentrated in 2 main feeding areas: east of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and in the Norwegian Sea. These 2 areas may become important in the future as feeding grounds and may already be used more regularly by this endangered species than is thought. PMID:26632250

  20. Beaked whales echolocate on prey.

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Mark; Madsen, Peter T; Zimmer, Walter M X; de Soto, Natacha Aguilar; Tyack, Peter L

    2004-01-01

    Beaked whales (Cetacea: Ziphiidea) of the genera Ziphius and Mesoplodon are so difficult to study that they are mostly known from strandings. How these elusive toothed whales use and react to sound is of concern because they mass strand during naval sonar exercises. A new non-invasive acoustic ording tag was attached to four beaked whales(two Mesoplodon densirostris and two Ziphius cavirostris) and recorded high-frequency clicks during deep dives. The tagged whales only clicked at depths below 200 m, down to a maximum depth of 1267 m. Both species produced a large number of short, directional, ultrasonic clicks with significant energy below 20 kHz. The tags recorded echoes from prey items; to our knowledge, a first for any animal echolocating in the wild. As far as we are aware, these echoes provide the first direct evidence on how free-ranging toothed whales use echolocation in foraging. The strength of these echoes suggests that the source level of Mesoplodon clicks is in the range of 200-220 dB re 1 microPa at 1 m.This paper presents conclusive data on the normal vocalizations of these beaked whale species, which may enable acoustic monitoring to mitigate exposure to sounds intense enough to harm them. PMID:15801582

  1. Echolocation in wild toothed whales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tyack, Peter L.; Johnson, Mark; Madsen, Peter Teglberg; Zimmer, Walter M. X.

    2001-05-01

    Don Griffin showed more than 50 years ago that bats echolocate for orientation and to capture prey. Experiments also demonstrated that captive dolphins can echolocate; more recent work parallels Griffin's work with bats in the wild. Digital acoustic recording tags were attached to sperm and beaked whales, Ziphius cavirostris and Mesoplodon densirostris, to record outgoing clicks and incoming echoes. The sperm whale data show echoes from the sea surface and seafloor, which are probably used for orientation and obstacle avoidance. When diving, sperm whales adjust their interclick interval as they change their pitch angle, consistent with the hypothesis that they are echolocating on a horizontal layer at the depth at which they will feed. This suggests that they may be listening for volume reverberation to select a prey patch. The beam pattern of sperm whales includes a narrow, forward-directed high-frequency beam probably used for prey detection, and a broader, backward-directed lower-frequency beam probably used for orientation. Beaked whales produce directional clicks with peak frequencies in the 25-40-kHz region. Echoes from individual prey items have been detected from clicks of beaked whales. This opens a new window into the study of how animals use echolocation to forage in the wild.

  2. Beaked whales echolocate on prey.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Mark; Madsen, Peter T; Zimmer, Walter M X; de Soto, Natacha Aguilar; Tyack, Peter L

    2004-12-01

    Beaked whales (Cetacea: Ziphiidea) of the genera Ziphius and Mesoplodon are so difficult to study that they are mostly known from strandings. How these elusive toothed whales use and react to sound is of concern because they mass strand during naval sonar exercises. A new non-invasive acoustic ording tag was attached to four beaked whales(two Mesoplodon densirostris and two Ziphius cavirostris) and recorded high-frequency clicks during deep dives. The tagged whales only clicked at depths below 200 m, down to a maximum depth of 1267 m. Both species produced a large number of short, directional, ultrasonic clicks with significant energy below 20 kHz. The tags recorded echoes from prey items; to our knowledge, a first for any animal echolocating in the wild. As far as we are aware, these echoes provide the first direct evidence on how free-ranging toothed whales use echolocation in foraging. The strength of these echoes suggests that the source level of Mesoplodon clicks is in the range of 200-220 dB re 1 microPa at 1 m. This paper presents conclusive data on the normal vocalizations of these beaked whale species, which may enable acoustic monitoring to mitigate exposure to sounds intense enough to harm them. PMID:15801582

  3. The giant bite of a new raptorial sperm whale from the Miocene epoch of Peru.

    PubMed

    Lambert, Olivier; Bianucci, Giovanni; Post, Klaas; de Muizon, Christian; Salas-Gismondi, Rodolfo; Urbina, Mario; Reumer, Jelle

    2010-07-01

    The modern giant sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus, one of the largest known predators, preys upon cephalopods at great depths. Lacking a functional upper dentition, it relies on suction for catching its prey; in contrast, several smaller Miocene sperm whales (Physeteroidea) have been interpreted as raptorial (versus suction) feeders, analogous to the modern killer whale Orcinus orca. Whereas very large physeteroid teeth have been discovered in various Miocene localities, associated diagnostic cranial remains have not been found so far. Here we report the discovery of a new giant sperm whale from the Middle Miocene of Peru (approximately 12-13 million years ago), Leviathan melvillei, described on the basis of a skull with teeth and mandible. With a 3-m-long head, very large upper and lower teeth (maximum diameter and length of 12 cm and greater than 36 cm, respectively), robust jaws and a temporal fossa considerably larger than in Physeter, this stem physeteroid represents one of the largest raptorial predators and, to our knowledge, the biggest tetrapod bite ever found. The appearance of gigantic raptorial sperm whales in the fossil record coincides with a phase of diversification and size-range increase of the baleen-bearing mysticetes in the Miocene. We propose that Leviathan fed mostly on high-energy content medium-size baleen whales. As a top predator, together with the contemporaneous giant shark Carcharocles megalodon, it probably had a profound impact on the structuring of Miocene marine communities. The development of a vast supracranial basin in Leviathan, extending on the rostrum as in Physeter, might indicate the presence of an enlarged spermaceti organ in the former that is not associated with deep diving or obligatory suction feeding. PMID:20596020

  4. Dividing up the pie: Whales, fish, and humans as competitors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruzicka, James J.; Steele, John H.; Ballerini, Tosca; Gaichas, Sarah K.; Ainley, David G.

    2013-09-01

    Similarly structured food web models of four coastal ecosystems (Northern California Current, Central Gulf of Alaska, Georges Bank, southwestern Antarctic Peninsula) were used to investigate competition among whales, fishes, pinnipeds, and humans. Two analysis strategies simulated the effects of historic baleen and odontocete whale abundances across all trophic levels: food web structure scenarios and time-dynamic scenarios. Direct competition between whales and commercial fisheries is small at current whale abundances; whales and fisheries each take similar proportions of annual pelagic fish production (4-7%). Scenarios show that as whale populations grow, indirect competition between whales and fish for zooplankton would more likely impact fishery production than would direct competition for fish between whales and commercial fisheries. Increased baleen whale abundance would have greater and broader indirect effects on upper trophic levels and fisheries than a similar increase in odontocete abundance. Time-dynamic scenarios, which allow for the evolution of compensatory mechanisms, showed more modest impacts than structural scenarios, which show the immediate impacts of altered energy pathways. Structural scenarios show that in terms of energy availability, there is potential for large increases in whale abundance without major changes to existing food web structures and without substantial reduction of fishery production. For each ecosystem, a five-fold increase in baleen whale abundance could be supported with minor disruptions to existing energy flow pathways. However, such an increase would remain below historical population levels for many cetaceans. A larger expansion (20X) could be accommodated only with large reductions in energy flow to competitor groups. The scope for odontocete expansion varies between ecosystems but may be more restricted than the scope for baleen expansion because they feed at higher, less productive trophic levels. Egestion

  5. Surface-Piercing Activities of the Humpback Whale, Megaptera, Related to Parasites and Mechanics}

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Galvin, C.

    2006-12-01

    Humpback whales leap out of the water (breach), strike the water surface with their long fins (flipper), strike the water surface with their tail (lobtail), and hold motionless in a vertical position with their heads above water (spyhop). These four surface-piercing activities were known to early whalers, but their explanations remain uncertain. A whale breaches by swimming from depth toward the water surface at an oblique angle, propelling himself into the air at an angle to the water's surface (0 to 70 degrees), rotating about his long axis, and landing on his back, belly up to the sky. Rotation requires applying angular momentum to the whale's trunk, which photographs suggest comes from flinging out the flipper on the side rotating upward, and keeping the downward-rotating flipper closer to the trunk. The humpback has unusually long flippers (long moment arms) up to 30 percent of trunk length. Its generic name, Megaptera, can translate as `long flipper'. Continued use of one flipper as the moment arm raises the possibility of right-handed or left-handed whales, but Whitehead's (1985) data do not support that result. Parasites as a cause of breaching is a hypothesis at least as old as Beale (1839), but in the last half of the 20th century, breaching, flippering, and lobtailing came to be understood as social activities of whales. Whitehead's work in the 1980s provides much data on humpback activities, as well as a prevailing social interpretation of the data. External parasites (loosely defined) include whale lice (fingernail-sized crablike animals) and barnacles (both fixed shell and flexible goosenecked species). Thousands of these animals may inhabit a single whale. Whale lice populate crevices of the jaws and eyes, the pleats in the throat pouch under the jaw, and shelter at fixed barnacles. Fixed barnacles thrive on exposed bumps on the whale's head and flippers. Gooseneck barnacles appear in photos attached to trailing edges of fins and tail. Some parasites

  6. Dynamics of whale shark occurrence at their fringe oceanic habitat.

    PubMed

    Afonso, Pedro; McGinty, Niall; Machete, Miguel

    2014-01-01

    Studies have shown that the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), a vulnerable large filter feeder, seasonally aggregates at highly productive coastal sites and that individuals can perform large, trans-boundary migrations to reach these locations. Yet, the whereabouts of the whale shark when absent from these sites and the potential oceanographic and biological drivers involved in shaping their present and future habitat use, including that located at the fringes of their suitable oceanic habitat, are largely unknown. We analysed a 16-year (1998-2013) observer dataset from the pole-and-line tuna fishery across the Azores (mid-North Atlantic) and used GAM models to investigate the spatial and temporal patterns of whale shark occurrence in relation to oceanographic features. Across this period, the whale shark became a regular summer visitor to the archipelago after a sharp increase in sighting frequency seen in 2008. We found that SST helps predicting their occurrence in the region associated to the position of the seasonal 22°C isotherm, showing that the Azores are at a thermal boundary for this species and providing an explanation for the post 2007 increase. Within the region, whale shark detections were also higher in areas of increased bathymetric slope and closer to the seamounts, coinciding with higher chl-a biomass, a behaviour most probably associated to increased feeding opportunities. They also showed a tendency to be clustered around the southernmost island of Santa Maria. This study shows that the region integrates the oceanic habitat of adult whale shark and suggests that an increase in its relative importance for the Atlantic population might be expected in face of climate change. PMID:25028929

  7. Dynamics of Whale Shark Occurrence at Their Fringe Oceanic Habitat

    PubMed Central

    Afonso, Pedro; McGinty, Niall; Machete, Miguel

    2014-01-01

    Studies have shown that the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), a vulnerable large filter feeder, seasonally aggregates at highly productive coastal sites and that individuals can perform large, trans-boundary migrations to reach these locations. Yet, the whereabouts of the whale shark when absent from these sites and the potential oceanographic and biological drivers involved in shaping their present and future habitat use, including that located at the fringes of their suitable oceanic habitat, are largely unknown. We analysed a 16-year (1998–2013) observer dataset from the pole-and-line tuna fishery across the Azores (mid-North Atlantic) and used GAM models to investigate the spatial and temporal patterns of whale shark occurrence in relation to oceanographic features. Across this period, the whale shark became a regular summer visitor to the archipelago after a sharp increase in sighting frequency seen in 2008. We found that SST helps predicting their occurrence in the region associated to the position of the seasonal 22°C isotherm, showing that the Azores are at a thermal boundary for this species and providing an explanation for the post 2007 increase. Within the region, whale shark detections were also higher in areas of increased bathymetric slope and closer to the seamounts, coinciding with higher chl-a biomass, a behaviour most probably associated to increased feeding opportunities. They also showed a tendency to be clustered around the southernmost island of Santa Maria. This study shows that the region integrates the oceanic habitat of adult whale shark and suggests that an increase in its relative importance for the Atlantic population might be expected in face of climate change. PMID:25028929

  8. Counting whales in a challenging, changing environment.

    PubMed

    Williams, R; Kelly, N; Boebel, O; Friedlaender, A S; Herr, H; Kock, K-H; Lehnert, L S; Maksym, T; Roberts, J; Scheidat, M; Siebert, U; Brierley, A S

    2014-01-01

    Estimating abundance of Antarctic minke whales is central to the International Whaling Commission's conservation and management work and understanding impacts of climate change on polar marine ecosystems. Detecting abundance trends is problematic, in part because minke whales are frequently sighted within Antarctic sea ice where navigational safety concerns prevent ships from surveying. Using icebreaker-supported helicopters, we conducted aerial surveys across a gradient of ice conditions to estimate minke whale density in the Weddell Sea. The surveys revealed substantial numbers of whales inside the sea ice. The Antarctic summer sea ice is undergoing rapid regional change in annual extent, distribution, and length of ice-covered season. These trends, along with substantial interannual variability in ice conditions, affect the proportion of whales available to be counted by traditional shipboard surveys. The strong association between whales and the dynamic, changing sea ice requires reexamination of the power to detect trends in whale abundance or predict ecosystem responses to climate change. PMID:24622821

  9. Counting whales in a challenging, changing environment

    PubMed Central

    Williams, R.; Kelly, N.; Boebel, O.; Friedlaender, A. S.; Herr, H.; Kock, K.-H.; Lehnert, L. S.; Maksym, T.; Roberts, J.; Scheidat, M.; Siebert, U.; Brierley, A. S.

    2014-01-01

    Estimating abundance of Antarctic minke whales is central to the International Whaling Commission's conservation and management work and understanding impacts of climate change on polar marine ecosystems. Detecting abundance trends is problematic, in part because minke whales are frequently sighted within Antarctic sea ice where navigational safety concerns prevent ships from surveying. Using icebreaker-supported helicopters, we conducted aerial surveys across a gradient of ice conditions to estimate minke whale density in the Weddell Sea. The surveys revealed substantial numbers of whales inside the sea ice. The Antarctic summer sea ice is undergoing rapid regional change in annual extent, distribution, and length of ice-covered season. These trends, along with substantial interannual variability in ice conditions, affect the proportion of whales available to be counted by traditional shipboard surveys. The strong association between whales and the dynamic, changing sea ice requires reexamination of the power to detect trends in whale abundance or predict ecosystem responses to climate change. PMID:24622821

  10. Techniques development for whale migration tracking

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goodman, R. M.; Norris, K. S.; Gibson, R. J.; Gentry, R.; Dougherty, E.; Hobbs, L.

    1973-01-01

    Effort leading to the completion of development and fabrication of expansible whale harnesses and whale-carried instrument pods is described, along with details of the gear. Early preparative effort for a January-February 1974 field expedition is reported.

  11. Discovery of a blue whale feeding and nursing ground in southern Chile.

    PubMed

    Hucke-Gaete, Rodrigo; Osman, Layla P; Moreno, Carlos A; Findlay, Ken P; Ljungblad, Don K

    2004-05-01

    After the extensive exploitation that reduced the Southern Hemisphere blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) populations to less than 3% of its original numbers, studies on its recovery have been compounded by the inaccessibility of most populations and the extensive migrations between low and high latitudes, thus ensuring that knowledge about blue whale ecology and status remains limited. We report the recent discovery of, arguably, the most important blue whale feeding and nursing ground known to date in the Southern Hemisphere, which is located near the fjords off southern Chile. Through aerial and marine surveys (n = 7) 47 groups, comprising 153 blue whales including at least 11 mother-calf pairs, were sighted during the austral summer and early autumn of 2003. The implications of this discovery on the biological understanding and conservation of this endangered species are discussed. PMID:15252974

  12. Discovery of a blue whale feeding and nursing ground in southern Chile.

    PubMed Central

    Hucke-Gaete, Rodrigo; Osman, Layla P; Moreno, Carlos A; Findlay, Ken P; Ljungblad, Don K

    2004-01-01

    After the extensive exploitation that reduced the Southern Hemisphere blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) populations to less than 3% of its original numbers, studies on its recovery have been compounded by the inaccessibility of most populations and the extensive migrations between low and high latitudes, thus ensuring that knowledge about blue whale ecology and status remains limited. We report the recent discovery of, arguably, the most important blue whale feeding and nursing ground known to date in the Southern Hemisphere, which is located near the fjords off southern Chile. Through aerial and marine surveys (n = 7) 47 groups, comprising 153 blue whales including at least 11 mother-calf pairs, were sighted during the austral summer and early autumn of 2003. The implications of this discovery on the biological understanding and conservation of this endangered species are discussed. PMID:15252974

  13. Mercury-induced micronuclei in skin fibroblasts of beluga whales

    SciTech Connect

    Gauthier, J.M.; Dubeau, H.; Rassart, E.

    1998-12-01

    Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) inhabiting the St. Lawrence estuary are highly contaminated with environmental pollutants and have a high incidence of cancer. Environmental contaminants may be partly responsible for the high incidence of cancer observed in this population. DNA damage plays an important role in the development of cancer. The micronuclei assay was used to test the genotoxic potential of mercury compounds in skin fibroblasts of an Arctic beluga whale. Both mercuric chloride (Hg) and methylmercury (MeHg) induced a highly significant dose-response increase of micronucleated cells. Statistically significant increases in micronucleated cells were observed for 0.5, 5, and 20 {micro}g/ml Hg and 0.05, 0.5, and 2 {micro}g/ml MeHg when compared to control cultures. Concentrations of 0.5, 5, and 20 {micro}g/ml Hg induced a two-, three- and fourfold increase of micronucleated cells, respectively. Treatment with MeHg was one order of magnitude more potent in inducing micronuclei and in inhibiting cell proliferation than Hg. Although results of this in vitro study do not imply that mercury compounds are involved in the etiology of cancer in St. Lawrence beluga whales, significant increases in micronuclei frequency were found at low concentrations of MeHg that are believed to be comparable to concentrations present in certain whales of this population.

  14. Humpback whale song: A new review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frankel, Adam S.

    2003-04-01

    The humpback whale song has been described and investigated since the early 1970s. Much has been learned about the humpback whale social structure, but the understanding of the song and its function remains elusive. The hierarchical nature of the song structure was described early on: Songs can be sung for a long period, apparently by males, and primarily during the mating season. However, singers also become physically competitive, suggesting alternative mating strategies. There are a number of unique structural features of song. Its structure evolves over time and combination. The nature of song evolution strongly implies cultural transmission. Song structure appears to be shared within an entire population, even though there appears to be little interchange of individuals between sub populations. Despite over thirty years of inquiry there are still numerous unanswered questions: Why is the song structure so complex? Is song a sexual advertisement, an acoustic space mediation mechanism, or both? How do females choose mates, or do they? What drives song evolution, and why is there so much variation in the rate of change? Are there nonreproductive functions of song? What prompts a male to begin or end singing? Our current understanding and the outstanding questions yet to be answered will be reviewed.

  15. Natural killer cells: remembrances of things past.

    PubMed

    Raulet, David H

    2009-04-14

    Recent work has revealed that natural killer cells exhibit a form of memory, previously considered an exclusive property of adaptive immunity. While protective, natural killer cell memory is probably hazier and more fleeting than T cell memory. PMID:19368874

  16. Spatial and Seasonal Distribution of American Whaling and Whales in the Age of Sail

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Tim D.; Reeves, Randall R.; Josephson, Elizabeth A.; Lund, Judith N.

    2012-01-01

    American whalemen sailed out of ports on the east coast of the United States and in California from the 18th to early 20th centuries, searching for whales throughout the world’s oceans. From an initial focus on sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) and right whales (Eubalaena spp.), the array of targeted whales expanded to include bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus). Extensive records of American whaling in the form of daily entries in whaling voyage logbooks contain a great deal of information about where and when the whalemen found whales. We plotted daily locations where the several species of whales were observed, both those caught and those sighted but not caught, on world maps to illustrate the spatial and temporal distribution of both American whaling activity and the whales. The patterns shown on the maps provide the basis for various inferences concerning the historical distribution of the target whales prior to and during this episode of global whaling. PMID:22558102

  17. Building Whales in Sand and Mind.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Warner, Carolyn

    1980-01-01

    Describes two-week summer workshops on evolution, adaptation, and behavior of whales, conducted for children by Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum (New York), and culminating in creation of life-size sand sculptures of whales. Provides selected list of periodicals, teaching materials, identification guides, records, and societies devoted to whales…

  18. Biological characterization of a whale-fall near Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lundsten, Lonny; Paull, Charles K.; Schlining, Kyra L.; McGann, Mary; Ussler, William, III

    2010-07-01

    Video analysis of a whale-fall discovered in the northeast Pacific Ocean, off Vancouver Island at a depth of 1288 m during ROV diving operations has identified 26 taxa of deep-sea benthic organisms inhabiting the seafloor immediately surrounding remnants of the whale skeleton. A photo-mosaic derived from high-definition video provides a quantitative visual record of the present condition of the site, the species richness, and substrate preference. Only the skull and caudal vertebrae remains of this large whale skeleton are estimated to have been approximately 16.5 m in length. Most organisms identified near the whale-fall are common benthic deep-sea fauna, typical of this water depth and seafloor composition. Much of this species richness comes from sessile suspension feeding cnidarians attached to the numerous glacial dropstones found throughout the area rather than the presence of the whale skeleton. Seep and bone specialists are rare (4 taxa) and may be, in part, a remnant population from a sulphophilic stage of whale-fall decomposition. Evidence of past colonization by Osedax sp. is visible on the remaining bones and we conclude that rapid degradation of the missing bones has occurred at this site as has been observed at whale-falls off central California in Monterey Canyon.

  19. Calling behavior of blue and fin whales off California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oleson, Erin Marie

    Passive acoustic monitoring is an effective means for evaluating cetacean presence in remote regions and over long time periods, and may become an important component of cetacean abundance surveys. To use passive acoustic recordings for abundance estimation, an understanding of the behavioral ecology of cetacean calling is crucial. In this dissertation, I develop a better understanding of how blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin (B. physalus ) whales use sound with the goal of evaluating passive acoustic techniques for studying their populations. Both blue and fin whales produce several different call types, though the behavioral and environmental context of these calls have not been widely investigated. To better understand how calling is used by these whales off California I have employed both new technologies and traditional techniques, including acoustic recording tags, continuous long-term autonomous acoustic recordings, and simultaneous shipboard acoustic and visual surveys. The outcome of these investigations has led to several conclusions. The production of blue whale calls varies with sex, behavior, season, location, and time of day. Each blue whale call type has a distinct behavioral context, including a male-only bias in the production of song, a call type thought to function in reproduction, and the production of some calls by both sexes. Long-term acoustic records, when interpreted using all call types, provide a more accurate measure of the local seasonal presence of whales, and how they use the region annually, seasonally and daily. The relative occurrence of different call types may indicate prime foraging habitat and the presence of different segments of the population. The proportion of animals heard calling changes seasonally and geographically relative to the number seen, indicating the calibration of acoustic and visual surveys is complex and requires further study on the motivations behind call production and the behavior of calling whales

  20. Killer toxin from several food-derived Debaryomyces hansenii strains effective against pathogenic Candida yeasts.

    PubMed

    Banjara, Nabaraj; Nickerson, Kenneth W; Suhr, Mallory J; Hallen-Adams, Heather E

    2016-04-01

    Candida yeasts are the dominant fungi in the healthy human microbiome, but are well-known for causing disease following a variety of perturbations. Evaluation of fungal populations from the healthy human gut revealed a significant negative correlation between the foodborne yeast, Debaryomyces hansenii, and Candida species. D. hansenii is reported to produce killer toxins (mycocins) effective against other yeast species. In order to better understand this phenomenon, a collection of 42 D. hansenii isolates was obtained from 22 cheeses and evaluated for killer activity against Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis over a range of temperatures and pH values. Twenty three strains demonstrated killer activity against both C. albicans and C. tropicalis, which was pH- and temperature-dependent, with no killer activity observed for any strain at pH6.5 or higher, or at ≥35°C (physiological conditions in the human gastrointestinal tract). A cell-free mycocin preparation showed transient killer activity against C. albicans at 35°C and a cheese sample containing a killer D. hansenii strain demonstrated sustained killer activity against both C. albicans and C. tropicalis. Together, these observations raise the possibility that D. hansenii could influence Candida populations in the gut. PMID:26828815

  1. 50 CFR 230.5 - Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... whaling. 230.5 Section 230.5 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WHALING WHALING PROVISIONS § 230.5 Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling. (a) A license is hereby issued to whaling captains identified by the...

  2. 50 CFR 230.5 - Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... whaling. 230.5 Section 230.5 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WHALING WHALING PROVISIONS § 230.5 Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling. (a) A license is hereby issued to whaling captains identified by the...

  3. 50 CFR 230.5 - Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... whaling. 230.5 Section 230.5 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WHALING WHALING PROVISIONS § 230.5 Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling. (a) A license is hereby issued to whaling captains identified by the...

  4. 50 CFR 230.5 - Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... whaling. 230.5 Section 230.5 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WHALING WHALING PROVISIONS § 230.5 Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling. (a) A license is hereby issued to whaling captains identified by the...

  5. Evidence for acoustic communication among bottom foraging humpback whales

    PubMed Central

    Parks, Susan E.; Cusano, Dana A.; Stimpert, Alison K.; Weinrich, Mason T.; Friedlaender, Ari S.; Wiley, David N.

    2014-01-01

    Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), a mysticete with a cosmopolitan distribution, demonstrate marked behavioural plasticity. Recent studies show evidence of social learning in the transmission of specific population level traits ranging from complex singing to stereotyped prey capturing behaviour. Humpback whales have been observed to employ group foraging techniques, however details on how individuals coordinate behaviour in these groups is challenging to obtain. This study investigates the role of a novel broadband patterned pulsed sound produced by humpback whales engaged in bottom-feeding behaviours, referred to here as a ‘paired burst' sound. Data collected from 56 archival acoustic tag deployments were investigated to determine the functional significance of these signals. Paired burst sound production was associated exclusively with bottom feeding under low-light conditions, predominantly with evidence of associated conspecifics nearby suggesting that the sound likely serves either as a communicative signal to conspecifics, a signal to affect prey behaviour, or possibly both. This study provides additional evidence for individual variation and phenotypic plasticity of foraging behaviours in humpback whales and provides important evidence for the use of acoustic signals among foraging individuals in this species. PMID:25512188

  6. Evidence for acoustic communication among bottom foraging humpback whales.

    PubMed

    Parks, Susan E; Cusano, Dana A; Stimpert, Alison K; Weinrich, Mason T; Friedlaender, Ari S; Wiley, David N

    2014-01-01

    Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), a mysticete with a cosmopolitan distribution, demonstrate marked behavioural plasticity. Recent studies show evidence of social learning in the transmission of specific population level traits ranging from complex singing to stereotyped prey capturing behaviour. Humpback whales have been observed to employ group foraging techniques, however details on how individuals coordinate behaviour in these groups is challenging to obtain. This study investigates the role of a novel broadband patterned pulsed sound produced by humpback whales engaged in bottom-feeding behaviours, referred to here as a 'paired burst' sound. Data collected from 56 archival acoustic tag deployments were investigated to determine the functional significance of these signals. Paired burst sound production was associated exclusively with bottom feeding under low-light conditions, predominantly with evidence of associated conspecifics nearby suggesting that the sound likely serves either as a communicative signal to conspecifics, a signal to affect prey behaviour, or possibly both. This study provides additional evidence for individual variation and phenotypic plasticity of foraging behaviours in humpback whales and provides important evidence for the use of acoustic signals among foraging individuals in this species. PMID:25512188

  7. Recurring patterns in the songs of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).

    PubMed

    Green, Sean R; Mercado, Eduardo; Pack, Adam A; Herman, Louis M

    2011-02-01

    Humpback whales, unlike most mammalian species, learn new songs as adults. Populations of singers progressively and collectively change the sounds and patterns within their songs throughout their lives and across generations. In this study, humpback whale songs recorded in Hawaii from 1985 to 1995 were analyzed using self-organizing maps (SOMs) to classify the sounds within songs, and to identify sound patterns that were present across multiple years. These analyses supported the hypothesis that recurring, persistent patterns exist within whale songs, and that these patterns are defined at least in part by acoustic relationships between adjacent sounds within songs. Sound classification based on acoustic differences between adjacent sounds yielded patterns within songs that were more consistent from year to year than classifications based on the properties of single sounds. Maintenance of fixed ratios of acoustic modulation across sounds, despite large variations in individual sounds, suggests intrinsic constraints on how sounds change within songs. Such acoustically invariant cues may enable whales to recognize and assess variations in songs despite propagation-related distortion of individual sounds and yearly changes in songs. PMID:21215306

  8. Characterizing a Foraging Hotspot for Short-Finned Pilot Whales and Blainville’s Beaked Whales Located off the West Side of Hawai‘i Island by Using Tagging and Oceanographic Data

    PubMed Central

    Abecassis, Melanie; Polovina, Jeffrey; Baird, Robin W.; Copeland, Adrienne; Drazen, Jeffrey C.; Domokos, Reka; Oleson, Erin; Jia, Yanli; Schorr, Gregory S.; Webster, Daniel L.; Andrews, Russel D.

    2015-01-01

    Satellite tagging data for short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) were used to identify core insular foraging regions off the Kona (west) Coast of Hawai‘i Island. Ship-based active acoustic surveys and oceanographic model output were used in generalized additive models (GAMs) and mixed models to characterize the oceanography of these regions and to examine relationships between whale density and the environment. The regions of highest density for pilot whales and Blainville’s beaked whales were located between the 1000 and 2500 m isobaths and the 250 and 2000 m isobaths, respectively. Both species were associated with slope waters, but given the topography of the area, the horizontal distribution of beaked whales was narrower and located in shallower waters than that of pilot whales. The key oceanographic parameters characterizing the foraging regions were bathymetry, temperature at depth, and a high density of midwater micronekton scattering at 70 kHz in 400–650 m depths that likely represent the island-associated deep mesopelagic boundary community and serve as prey for the prey of the whales. Thus, our results suggest that off the Kona Coast, and potentially around other main Hawaiian Islands, the deep mesopelagic boundary community is key to a food web that supports insular cetacean populations. PMID:26605917

  9. Characterizing a Foraging Hotspot for Short-Finned Pilot Whales and Blainville's Beaked Whales Located off the West Side of Hawai'i Island by Using Tagging and Oceanographic Data.

    PubMed

    Abecassis, Melanie; Polovina, Jeffrey; Baird, Robin W; Copeland, Adrienne; Drazen, Jeffrey C; Domokos, Reka; Oleson, Erin; Jia, Yanli; Schorr, Gregory S; Webster, Daniel L; Andrews, Russel D

    2015-01-01

    Satellite tagging data for short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and Blainville's beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) were used to identify core insular foraging regions off the Kona (west) Coast of Hawai'i Island. Ship-based active acoustic surveys and oceanographic model output were used in generalized additive models (GAMs) and mixed models to characterize the oceanography of these regions and to examine relationships between whale density and the environment. The regions of highest density for pilot whales and Blainville's beaked whales were located between the 1000 and 2500 m isobaths and the 250 and 2000 m isobaths, respectively. Both species were associated with slope waters, but given the topography of the area, the horizontal distribution of beaked whales was narrower and located in shallower waters than that of pilot whales. The key oceanographic parameters characterizing the foraging regions were bathymetry, temperature at depth, and a high density of midwater micronekton scattering at 70 kHz in 400-650 m depths that likely represent the island-associated deep mesopelagic boundary community and serve as prey for the prey of the whales. Thus, our results suggest that off the Kona Coast, and potentially around other main Hawaiian Islands, the deep mesopelagic boundary community is key to a food web that supports insular cetacean populations. PMID:26605917

  10. The evolution of satellite-monitored radio tags for large whales: One laboratory's experience

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mate, Bruce; Mesecar, Roderick; Lagerquist, Barbara

    2007-02-01

    Despite several centuries of whaling and directed research, there are only a few whale stocks whose year-round whereabouts are reasonably well known. For the vast majority of depleted populations, the link between seasonal feeding and breeding concentrations remains unknown. This lack of information on range, seasonal distribution, stock structure, and migration routes makes it difficult to design and implement effective conservation measures to promote recovery. The use of such information would have been valuable to develop stock-specific quotas for whaling, but now it may be even more important for recovery of depleted stocks and identifying anthropogenic threats throughout a depleted stock's range. Building upon the preliminary findings of Discovery tags and more recent photo identification studies, satellite-monitored radio tags are now providing range and seasonal distribution information for many stocks of depleted large whales. These parameters are important to better estimate population abundance, characterize habitats, identify threats to recovery, and design effective protection measures when needed. This paper traces one laboratory's experience with the development of satellite-monitored radio tag technology for large whales, including attachment mechanisms and delivery systems, in the hope that others will profit from our successes and our mistakes. Selected examples are used to demonstrate how such tags contribute to new insights about whales' habitats, migrations, behaviour, and management.

  11. The Biogeochemical Role of Antarctic Krill and Baleen Whales in Southern Ocean Nutrient Cycling.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ratnarajah, L.

    2015-12-01

    Iron limits primary productivity in large areas of the Southern Ocean. It has been suggested that baleen whales form a crucial part of biogeochemical cycling processes through the consumption of nutrient-rich krill and subsequent defecation, but evidence on their contribution is scarce. We analysed the concentration of iron in Antarctic krill and baleen whale faeces and muscle. Iron concentrations in Antarctic krill were over 1 million times higher, and whale faecal matter were almost 10 million times higher than typical Southern Ocean High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll seawater concentrations. This suggests that Antarctic krill act as a reservoir of in in Southern Ocean surface waters, and that baleen whales play an important role in converting this fixed iron into a liquid form in their faeces. We developed an exploratory model to examine potential contribution of blue, fin and humpback whales to the Southern Ocean iron cycle to explore the effect of the recovery of great whales to historical levels. Our results suggest that pre-exploitation populations of blue whales and, to a lesser extent fin and humpback whales, could have contributed to the more effective recycling of iron in surface waters, resulting in enhanced phytoplankton production. This enhanced primary productivity is estimated to be: 8.3 x 10-5 to 15 g C m-2 yr-1 (blue whales), 7 x 10-5 to 9 g C m-2 yr-1 (fin whales), and 10-5 to 1.7 g C m-2 yr-1 (humpback whales). To put these into perspective, current estimates of primary production in the Southern Ocean from remotely sensed ocean colour are in the order of 57 g C m-2 yr-1 (south of 50°). The high degree of uncertainty around the magnitude of these increases in primary productivity is mainly due to our limited quantitative understanding of key biogeochemical processes including iron content in krill, krill consumption rates by whales, persistence of iron in the photic zone, bioavailability of retained iron, and carbon-to-iron ratio of phytoplankton

  12. Cross-reactivity between immunoglobulin G antibodies of whales and dolphins correlates with evolutionary distance.

    PubMed

    Nollens, Hendrik H; Ruiz, Carolina; Walsh, Michael T; Gulland, Frances M D; Bossart, Gregory; Jensen, Eric D; McBain, James F; Wellehan, James F X

    2008-10-01

    Growing morphological and molecular evidence indicates that the porpoises, dolphins, and whales evolved within the even-toed ungulates, formerly known as Artiodactyla. These animals are now grouped in the Cetartiodactyla. We evaluated the antigenic similarity of the immunoglobulin G (IgG) molecules of 15 cetacean species and the domestic cow. The similarity was scored using three distinct antibodies raised against bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) IgG in a Western blot, an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and a competitive ELISA format. A score was generated for the genetic distance between each species and T. truncatus using the cytochrome b sequence. Each antibody displayed a distinct pattern of reactivity with the IgG antibodies of the various species. The monoclonal antibody (MAb) specific for the gamma heavy chain of T. truncatus was reactive with all monodontids, delphinids, and phocoenids. The light-chain-specific MAb reacted with IgG of delphinoid and phocoenid species and one of the two mysticete species tested. The polyclonal antibody was broadly cross-reactive across all cetaceans and the domestic cow. Using the MAb specific for the gamma heavy chain, the degree of IgG cross-reactivity ranged from less than 17% for the mysticetes to 106% for killer whale Orcinus orca. The IgG in beaked whale and baleen whale sera was significantly less cross-reactive with bottlenose dolphin IgG than sera from other toothed whales. A strong negative correlation was demonstrated between antigenic cross-reactivity of IgG molecules and the genetic distance of their hosts. The data generated will be useful for the development of clinical serodiagnostics in diverse cetacean species. PMID:18768672

  13. Estimating historical eastern North Pacific blue whale catches using spatial calling patterns.

    PubMed

    Monnahan, Cole C; Branch, Trevor A; Stafford, Kathleen M; Ivashchenko, Yulia V; Oleson, Erin M

    2014-01-01

    Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) were exploited extensively around the world and remain endangered. In the North Pacific their population structure is unclear and current status unknown, with the exception of a well-studied eastern North Pacific (ENP) population. Despite existing abundance estimates for the ENP population, it is difficult to estimate pre-exploitation abundance levels and gauge their recovery because historical catches of the ENP population are difficult to separate from catches of other populations in the North Pacific. We collated previously unreported Soviet catches and combined these with known catches to form the most current estimates of North Pacific blue whale catches. We split these conflated catches using recorded acoustic calls from throughout the North Pacific, the knowledge that the ENP population produces a different call than blue whales in the western North Pacific (WNP). The catches were split by estimating spatiotemporal occurrence of blue whales with generalized additive models fitted to acoustic call patterns, which predict the probability a catch belonged to the ENP population based on the proportion of calls of each population recorded by latitude, longitude, and month. When applied to the conflated historical catches, which totaled 9,773, we estimate that ENP blue whale catches totaled 3,411 (95% range 2,593 to 4,114) from 1905-1971, and amounted to 35% (95% range 27% to 42%) of all catches in the North Pacific. Thus most catches in the North Pacific were for WNP blue whales, totaling 6,362 (95% range 5,659 to 7,180). The uncertainty in the acoustic data influence the results substantially more than uncertainty in catch locations and dates, but the results are fairly insensitive to the ecological assumptions made in the analysis. The results of this study provide information for future studies investigating the recovery of these populations and the impact of continuing and future sources of anthropogenic mortality. PMID

  14. Estimating Historical Eastern North Pacific Blue Whale Catches Using Spatial Calling Patterns

    PubMed Central

    Monnahan, Cole C.; Branch, Trevor A.; Stafford, Kathleen M.; Ivashchenko, Yulia V.; Oleson, Erin M.

    2014-01-01

    Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) were exploited extensively around the world and remain endangered. In the North Pacific their population structure is unclear and current status unknown, with the exception of a well-studied eastern North Pacific (ENP) population. Despite existing abundance estimates for the ENP population, it is difficult to estimate pre-exploitation abundance levels and gauge their recovery because historical catches of the ENP population are difficult to separate from catches of other populations in the North Pacific. We collated previously unreported Soviet catches and combined these with known catches to form the most current estimates of North Pacific blue whale catches. We split these conflated catches using recorded acoustic calls from throughout the North Pacific, the knowledge that the ENP population produces a different call than blue whales in the western North Pacific (WNP). The catches were split by estimating spatiotemporal occurrence of blue whales with generalized additive models fitted to acoustic call patterns, which predict the probability a catch belonged to the ENP population based on the proportion of calls of each population recorded by latitude, longitude, and month. When applied to the conflated historical catches, which totaled 9,773, we estimate that ENP blue whale catches totaled 3,411 (95% range 2,593 to 4,114) from 1905–1971, and amounted to 35% (95% range 27% to 42%) of all catches in the North Pacific. Thus most catches in the North Pacific were for WNP blue whales, totaling 6,362 (95% range 5,659 to 7,180). The uncertainty in the acoustic data influence the results substantially more than uncertainty in catch locations and dates, but the results are fairly insensitive to the ecological assumptions made in the analysis. The results of this study provide information for future studies investigating the recovery of these populations and the impact of continuing and future sources of anthropogenic mortality. PMID

  15. Killer-sensitive coexistence in metapopulations of micro-organisms.

    PubMed Central

    Czárán, Tamás L; Hoekstra, Rolf F

    2003-01-01

    Many micro-organisms are known to produce efficient toxic substances against conspecifics and closely related species. The widespread coexistence of killer (toxin producer) and sensitive (non-producer) strains is a puzzle calling for a theoretical explanation. Based on stochastic cellular automaton simulations and the corresponding semi-analytical configuration-field approximation models, we suggest that metapopulation dynamics offers a plausible rationale for the maintenance of polymorphism in killer-sensitive systems. A slight trade-off between toxin production and population growth rate is sufficient to maintain the regional coexistence of toxic and sensitive strains, if toxic killing is a local phenomenon restricted to small habitat patches and local populations regularly go extinct and are renewed via recolonizations from neighbouring patches. Pattern formation on the regional scale does not play a decisive part in this mechanism, but the local manner of interactions is essential. PMID:12965028

  16. Measuring Hearing in Wild Beluga Whales.

    PubMed

    Mooney, T Aran; Castellote, Manuel; Quakenbush, Lori; Hobbs, Roderick; Goertz, Caroline; Gaglione, Eric

    2016-01-01

    We measured the hearing abilities of seven wild beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) during a collection-and-release experiment in Bristol Bay, AK. Here we summarize the methods and initial data from one animal and discuss the implications of this experiment. Audiograms were collected from 4 to 150 kHz. The animal with the lowest threshold heard best at 80 kHz and demonstrated overall good hearing from 22 to 110 kHz. The robustness of the methodology and data suggest that the auditory evoked potential audiograms can be incorporated into future collection-and-release health assessments. Such methods may provide high-quality results for multiple animals, facilitating population-level audiograms and hearing measures in new species. PMID:26611025

  17. Epigenetic estimation of age in humpback whales.

    PubMed

    Polanowski, Andrea M; Robbins, Jooke; Chandler, David; Jarman, Simon N

    2014-09-01

    Age is a fundamental aspect of animal ecology, but is difficult to determine in many species. Humpback whales exemplify this as they have a lifespan comparable to humans, mature sexually as early as 4 years and have no reliable visual age indicators after their first year. Current methods for estimating humpback age cannot be applied to all individuals and populations. Assays for human age have recently been developed based on age-induced changes in DNA methylation of specific genes. We used information on age-associated DNA methylation in human and mouse genes to identify homologous gene regions in humpbacks. Humpback skin samples were obtained from individuals with a known year of birth and employed to calibrate relationships between cytosine methylation and age. Seven of 37 cytosines assayed for methylation level in humpback skin had significant age-related profiles. The three most age-informative cytosine markers were selected for a humpback epigenetic age assay. The assay has an R(2) of 0.787 (P = 3.04e-16) and predicts age from skin samples with a standard deviation of 2.991 years. The epigenetic method correctly determined which of parent-offspring pairs is the parent in more than 93% of cases. To demonstrate the potential of this technique, we constructed the first modern age profile of humpback whales off eastern Australia and compared the results to population structure 5 decades earlier. This is the first epigenetic age estimation method for a wild animal species and the approach we took for developing it can be applied to many other nonmodel organisms. PMID:24606053

  18. Super-Aggregations of Krill and Humpback Whales in Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctic Peninsula

    PubMed Central

    Nowacek, Douglas P.; Friedlaender, Ari S.; Halpin, Patrick N.; Hazen, Elliott L.; Johnston, David W.; Read, Andrew J.; Espinasse, Boris; Zhou, Meng; Zhu, Yiwu

    2011-01-01

    Ecological relationships of krill and whales have not been explored in the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), and have only rarely been studied elsewhere in the Southern Ocean. In the austral autumn we observed an extremely high density (5.1 whales per km2) of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) feeding on a super-aggregation of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) in Wilhelmina Bay. The krill biomass was approximately 2 million tons, distributed over an area of 100 km2 at densities of up to 2000 individuals m−3; reports of such ‘super-aggregations’ of krill have been absent in the scientific literature for >20 years. Retentive circulation patterns in the Bay entrained phytoplankton and meso-zooplankton that were grazed by the krill. Tagged whales rested during daylight hours and fed intensively throughout the night as krill migrated toward the surface. We infer that the previously unstudied WAP embayments are important foraging areas for whales during autumn and, furthermore, that meso-scale variation in the distribution of whales and their prey are important features of this system. Recent decreases in the abundance of Antarctic krill around the WAP have been linked to reductions in sea ice, mediated by rapid climate change in this area. At the same time, baleen whale populations in the Southern Ocean, which feed primarily on krill, are recovering from past exploitation. Consideration of these features and the effects of climate change on krill dynamics are critical to managing both krill harvests and the recovery of baleen whales in the Southern Ocean. PMID:21556153

  19. Super-aggregations of krill and humpback whales in Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctic Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Nowacek, Douglas P; Friedlaender, Ari S; Halpin, Patrick N; Hazen, Elliott L; Johnston, David W; Read, Andrew J; Espinasse, Boris; Zhou, Meng; Zhu, Yiwu

    2011-01-01

    Ecological relationships of krill and whales have not been explored in the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), and have only rarely been studied elsewhere in the Southern Ocean. In the austral autumn we observed an extremely high density (5.1 whales per km(2)) of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) feeding on a super-aggregation of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) in Wilhelmina Bay. The krill biomass was approximately 2 million tons, distributed over an area of 100 km(2) at densities of up to 2000 individuals m(-3); reports of such 'super-aggregations' of krill have been absent in the scientific literature for >20 years. Retentive circulation patterns in the Bay entrained phytoplankton and meso-zooplankton that were grazed by the krill. Tagged whales rested during daylight hours and fed intensively throughout the night as krill migrated toward the surface. We infer that the previously unstudied WAP embayments are important foraging areas for whales during autumn and, furthermore, that meso-scale variation in the distribution of whales and their prey are important features of this system. Recent decreases in the abundance of Antarctic krill around the WAP have been linked to reductions in sea ice, mediated by rapid climate change in this area. At the same time, baleen whale populations in the Southern Ocean, which feed primarily on krill, are recovering from past exploitation. Consideration of these features and the effects of climate change on krill dynamics are critical to managing both krill harvests and the recovery of baleen whales in the Southern Ocean. PMID:21556153

  20. Declining Abundance of Beaked Whales (Family Ziphiidae) in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Moore, Jeffrey E.; Barlow, Jay P.

    2013-01-01

    Beaked whales are among the most diverse yet least understood groups of marine mammals. A diverse set of mostly anthropogenic threats necessitates improvement in our ability to assess population status for this cryptic group. The Southwest Fisheries Science Center (NOAA) conducted six ship line-transect cetacean abundance surveys in the California Current off the contiguous western United States between 1991 and 2008. We used a Bayesian hidden-process modeling approach to estimate abundance and population trends of beaked whales using sightings data from these surveys. We also compiled records of beaked whale stranding events (3 genera, at least 8 species) on adjacent beaches from 1900 to 2012, to help assess population status of beaked whales in the northern part of the California Current. Bayesian posterior summaries for trend parameters provide strong evidence of declining beaked whale abundance in the study area. The probability of negative trend for Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) during 1991–2008 was 0.84, with 1991 and 2008 estimates of 10771 (CV = 0.51) and ≈7550 (CV = 0.55), respectively. The probability of decline for Mesoplodon spp. (pooled across species) was 0.96, with 1991 and 2008 estimates of 2206 (CV = 0.46) and 811 (CV = 0.65). The mean posterior estimates for average rate of decline were 2.9% and 7.0% per year. There was no evidence of abundance trend for Baird's beaked whale (Berardius bairdii), for which annual abundance estimates in the survey area ranged from ≈900 to 1300 (CV≈1.3). Stranding data were consistent with the survey results. Causes of apparent declines are unknown. Direct impacts of fisheries (bycatch) can be ruled out, but impacts of anthropogenic sound (e.g., naval active sonar) and ecosystem change are plausible hypotheses that merit investigation. PMID:23341907

  1. Learning and extinction of conditioned hearing sensation change in the beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas).

    PubMed

    Nachtigall, Paul E; Supin, Alexander Ya; Estaban, Jose-Antonio; Pacini, Aude F

    2016-02-01

    Ice-dwelling beluga whales are increasingly being exposed to anthropogenic loud sounds. Beluga's hearing sensitivity measured during a warning sound just preceding a loud sound was tested using pip-train stimuli and auditory evoked potential recording. When the test/warning stimulus with a frequency of 32 or 45 kHz preceded the loud sound with a frequency of 32 kHz and a sound pressure level of 153 dB re 1 μPa, 2 s, hearing thresholds before the loud sound increased relative to the baseline. The threshold increased up to 15 dB for the test frequency of 45 kHz and up to 13 dB for the test frequency of 32 kHz. These threshold increases were observed during two sessions of 36 trials each. Extinction tests revealed no change during three experimental sessions followed by a jump-like return to baseline thresholds. The low exposure level producing the hearing-dampening effect (156 dB re 1 µPa(2)s in each trial), and the manner of extinction, may be considered as evidence that the observed hearing threshold increases were a demonstration of conditioned dampening of hearing when the whale anticipated the quick appearance of a loud sound in the same way demonstrated in the false killer whale and bottlenose dolphin. PMID:26659822

  2. The temporal characteristics of humpback whale songs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Au, Whitlow W. L.; Lammers, Marc O.; Stimpert, Alison; Schotten, Michiel

    2005-09-01

    Songs sung by male humpback whales consist of distinct, pulsed sounds that are designated as units. Units are produced in some sequence to form a phrase, a repeated set of phrases forms a theme, and repeated themes form a song. A song can last from minutes to hours. The songs of eight humpback whales were recorded with a vertical array of five hydrophones spaced 7 m apart with the array located within 100 m of the whales. At least seven distinct units were identified aurally from this data set obtained during the 2002 winter humpback whale session in Hawaii. Four distinct recurring themes were found in the songs, and for each whale at least two themes were recorded. The average duration of each unit sampled and the silent interval following the unit were determined in order to describe the temporal characteristics of the songs. From the data the temporal consistency and cadence control of unit production by each humpback whale and between whales were determined. Understanding the temporal and spectral characteristics of units within songs and how these units vary between whales could ultimately help in the design of computer algorithms to automatically identify individual whales.

  3. Natural born killers.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, C W

    1998-09-01

    This year, 30 million acres of the corn, cotton, and potatoes planted in the United States will have been genetically engineered to produce an endotoxin normally found in the microbe Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a self-contained pesticide that will be toxic only to target insects. Transgenic pest-resistant crops are a cost-effective alternative to chemical pesticides, and may offer a way to help feed the world's growing population with minimal environmental impact. PMID:9721262

  4. Natural born killers.

    PubMed Central

    Schmidt, C W

    1998-01-01

    This year, 30 million acres of the corn, cotton, and potatoes planted in the United States will have been genetically engineered to produce an endotoxin normally found in the microbe Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a self-contained pesticide that will be toxic only to target insects. Transgenic pest-resistant crops are a cost-effective alternative to chemical pesticides, and may offer a way to help feed the world's growing population with minimal environmental impact. PMID:9721262

  5. Synchronous seasonal change in fin whale song in the North Pacific.

    PubMed

    Oleson, Erin M; Širović, Ana; Bayless, Alexandra R; Hildebrand, John A

    2014-01-01

    Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) song consists of down-swept pulses arranged into stereotypic sequences that can be characterized according to the interval between successive pulses. As in blue (B. musculus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), these song sequences may be geographically distinct and may correlate with population boundaries in some regions. We measured inter-pulse intervals of fin whale songs within year-round acoustic datasets collected between 2000 and 2006 in three regions of the eastern North Pacific: Southern California, the Bering Sea, and Hawaii. A distinctive song type that was recorded in all three regions is characterized by singlet and doublet inter-pulse intervals that increase seasonally, then annually reset to the same shorter intervals at the beginning of each season. This song type was recorded in the Bering Sea and off Southern California from September through May and off Hawaii from December through April, with the song interval generally synchronized across all monitoring locations. The broad geographic and seasonal occurrence of this particular fin whale song type may represent a single population broadly distributed throughout the eastern Pacific with no clear seasonal migratory pattern. Previous studies attempting to infer population structure of fin whales in the North Pacific using synchronous individual song samples have been unsuccessful, likely because they did not account for the seasonal lengthening in song intervals observed here. PMID:25521493

  6. Synchronous Seasonal Change in Fin Whale Song in the North Pacific

    PubMed Central

    Oleson, Erin M.; Širović, Ana; Bayless, Alexandra R.; Hildebrand, John A.

    2014-01-01

    Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) song consists of down-swept pulses arranged into stereotypic sequences that can be characterized according to the interval between successive pulses. As in blue (B. musculus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), these song sequences may be geographically distinct and may correlate with population boundaries in some regions. We measured inter-pulse intervals of fin whale songs within year-round acoustic datasets collected between 2000 and 2006 in three regions of the eastern North Pacific: Southern California, the Bering Sea, and Hawaii. A distinctive song type that was recorded in all three regions is characterized by singlet and doublet inter-pulse intervals that increase seasonally, then annually reset to the same shorter intervals at the beginning of each season. This song type was recorded in the Bering Sea and off Southern California from September through May and off Hawaii from December through April, with the song interval generally synchronized across all monitoring locations. The broad geographic and seasonal occurrence of this particular fin whale song type may represent a single population broadly distributed throughout the eastern Pacific with no clear seasonal migratory pattern. Previous studies attempting to infer population structure of fin whales in the North Pacific using synchronous individual song samples have been unsuccessful, likely because they did not account for the seasonal lengthening in song intervals observed here. PMID:25521493

  7. Bony outgrowths on the jaws of an extinct sperm whale support macroraptorial feeding in several stem physeteroids.

    PubMed

    Lambert, Olivier; Bianucci, Giovanni; Beatty, Brian L

    2014-06-01

    Several extinct sperm whales (stem Physeteroidea) were recently proposed to differ markedly in their feeding ecology from the suction-feeding modern sperm whales Kogia and Physeter. Based on cranial, mandibular, and dental morphology, these Miocene forms were tentatively identified as macroraptorial feeders, able to consume proportionally large prey using their massive teeth and robust jaws. However, until now, no corroborating evidence for the use of teeth during predation was available. We report on a new specimen of the stem physeteroid Acrophyseter, from the late middle to early late Miocene of Peru, displaying unusual bony outgrowths along some of the upper alveoli. Considering their position and outer shape, these are identified as buccal maxillary exostoses. More developed along posterior teeth and in tight contact with the high portion of the dental root outside the bony alveoli, the exostoses are hypothesized to have developed during powerful bites; they may have worked as buttresses, strengthening the teeth when facing intense occlusal forces. These buccal exostoses further support a raptorial feeding technique for Acrophyseter and, indirectly, for other extinct sperm whales with a similar oral apparatus (Brygmophyseter, Livyatan, Zygophyseter). With a wide size range, these Miocene stem physeteroids were major marine macropredators, occupying ecological niches nowadays mostly taken by killer whales. PMID:24821119

  8. Bony outgrowths on the jaws of an extinct sperm whale support macroraptorial feeding in several stem physeteroids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lambert, Olivier; Bianucci, Giovanni; Beatty, Brian L.

    2014-06-01

    Several extinct sperm whales (stem Physeteroidea) were recently proposed to differ markedly in their feeding ecology from the suction-feeding modern sperm whales Kogia and Physeter. Based on cranial, mandibular, and dental morphology, these Miocene forms were tentatively identified as macroraptorial feeders, able to consume proportionally large prey using their massive teeth and robust jaws. However, until now, no corroborating evidence for the use of teeth during predation was available. We report on a new specimen of the stem physeteroid Acrophyseter, from the late middle to early late Miocene of Peru, displaying unusual bony outgrowths along some of the upper alveoli. Considering their position and outer shape, these are identified as buccal maxillary exostoses. More developed along posterior teeth and in tight contact with the high portion of the dental root outside the bony alveoli, the exostoses are hypothesized to have developed during powerful bites; they may have worked as buttresses, strengthening the teeth when facing intense occlusal forces. These buccal exostoses further support a raptorial feeding technique for Acrophyseter and, indirectly, for other extinct sperm whales with a similar oral apparatus ( Brygmophyseter, Livyatan, Zygophyseter). With a wide size range, these Miocene stem physeteroids were major marine macropredators, occupying ecological niches nowadays mostly taken by killer whales.

  9. Conservation markets for wildlife management with case studies from whaling.

    PubMed

    Gerber, Leah R; Costello, Christopher; Gaines, Steven D

    2014-01-01

    Although market-based incentives have helped resolve many environmental challenges, conservation markets still play a relatively minor role in wildlife management. Establishing property rights for environmental goods and allowing trade between resource extractors and resource conservationists may offer a path forward in conserving charismatic species like whales, wolves, turtles, and sharks. In this paper, we provide a conceptual model for implementing a conservation market for wildlife and evaluate how such a market could be applied to three case studies for whales (minke [Balaenoptera acutorostrata], bowhead [Balaena mysticetus], and gray [Eschrictius robustus]). We show that, if designed and operated properly, such a market could ensure persistence of imperiled populations, while simultaneously improving the welfare of resource harvesters. PMID:24640529

  10. Detection of baleen whales on an ocean-bottom seismometer array in the Lau Basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brodie, D.; Dunn, R.

    2011-12-01

    Long-term deployment of ocean-bottom seismometer arrays provides a unique opportunity for identifying and tracking whales in a manner not usually possible in biological studies. Large baleen whales emit low frequency (>5Hz) sounds called 'calls' or 'songs' that can be detected on either the hydrophone or vertical channel of the instrument at distances in excess of 50 km. The calls are distinct to individual species and even geographical groups among species, and are thought to serve a variety of purposes. Distinct repeating calls can be automatically identified using matched-filter processing, and whales can be located in a manner similar to that of earthquakes. Many baleen whale species are endangered, and little is known about their geographic distribution, population dynamics, and basic behaviors. The Lau back-arc basin, a tectonically active, elongated basin bounded by volcanic shallows, lies in the southwestern Pacific Ocean between Fiji and Tonga. Although whales are known to exist around Fiji and Tonga, little is understood about the population dynamics and migration patterns throughout the basin. Twenty-nine broadband ocean-bottom seismometers deployed in the basin recorded data for approximately ten months during the years 2009-2010. To date, four species of whales have been identified in the data: Blue (one call type), Humpback (two call types, including long-lasting 'songs'), Bryde's (one call type), and Fin whales (three call types). Three as-yet-unknown call types have also been identified. After the calls were identified, idealized spectrograms of the known calls were matched against the entire data set using an auto-detection algorithm. The auto-detection output provides the number of calls and times of year when each call type was recorded. Based on the results, whales migrate seasonally through the basin with some overlapping of species. Initial results also indicate that different species of whales are more common in some parts of the basin than

  11. Effect of different levels of alcohol consumption on natural killer and lymphokine activated killer cells

    SciTech Connect

    Klassen, L.W.; DeVasure, J.M.; Lemley-Gillespie, S.D.; Thiele, G.M. Omaha VA Hospital, NE )

    1991-03-11

    The effect of alcohol consumption on natural killer (NK) cell activity is controversial as both increased and decreased levels have been reported. It was the purpose of this study to determine the effects of feeding BDF1 mice different levels of alcohol on NK and lymphokine activated killer (LAK) cell activity. After four-six weeks of chronic alcohol feeding, mice were sacrificed, spleen cells obtained and assayed for NK and IL-2 boosted NK activity against YAC-1 cells in a traditional {sup 51}chromium release assay. Cells were also cultured in the presence of IL-2 for five days and tested for cytolytic activity using P815 cells as targets. Cells from each group were passed over a nylon wool column and the adherent (AD) and nonadherent (NAD) populations collected and tested as above. Increased NK, 24 hour IL-2 boosted NK and 5 day LAK activity were observed only in the spleen cells obtained from mice on 20% alcohol. Also, NAD populations had a 2-4 fold higher lytic unit values (LU{sub 20}) at all levels of alcohol consumption and in all assays, as compared with the unseparated spleen cells. Analysis of cell surface markers on these three populations of cells show that there were differences in MAC-2, Asialo GM-1, Thy 1.2, B220 and NK 1.1 that may correlate with the differences observed in the cytolytic assays. These data suggest that different levels of alcohol affect the cytolytic activity of NK and LAK cells and may result from alterations in the cell subset populations.

  12. Baird's beaked whale echolocation signals.

    PubMed

    Baumann-Pickering, Simone; Yack, Tina M; Barlow, Jay; Wiggins, Sean M; Hildebrand, John A

    2013-06-01

    Echolocation signals from Baird's beaked whales were recorded during visual and acoustic shipboard surveys of cetaceans in the California Current ecosystem and with autonomous, long-term recorders in the Southern California Bight. The preliminary measurement of the visually validated Baird's beaked whale echolocation signals from towed array data were used as a basis for identifying Baird's signals in the autonomous recorder data. Two distinct signal types were found, one being a beaked whale-like frequency modulated (FM) pulse, the other being a dolphin-like broadband click. The median FM inter-pulse interval was 230 ms. Both signal types showed a consistent multi-peak structure in their spectra with peaks at ~9, 16, 25, and 40 kHz. Depending on signal type, as well as recording aspect and distance to the hydrophone, these peaks varied in relative amplitude. The description of Baird's echolocation signals will allow for studies of their distribution and abundance using towed array data without associated visual sightings and from autonomous seafloor hydrophones. PMID:23742381

  13. Can whales mix the ocean?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lavery, T. J.; Roudnew, B.; Seuront, L.; Mitchell, J. G.; Middleton, J.

    2012-07-01

    Ocean mixing influences global climate and enhances primary productivity by transporting nutrient rich water into the euphotic zone. The contribution of the swimming biosphere to diapycnal mixing in the ocean has been hypothesised to occur on scales similar to that of tides or winds, however, the extent to which this contributes to nutrient transport and stimulates primary productivity has not been explored. Here, we introduce a novel method to estimate the diapycnal diffusivity that occurs as a result of a sperm whale swimming through a pycnocline. Nutrient profiles from the Hawaiian Ocean are used to further estimate the amount of nitrogen transported into the euphotic zone and the primary productivity stimulated as a result. We estimate that the 80 sperm whales that travel through an area of 104 km2 surrounding Hawaii increase diapycnal diffusivity by 10-6 m2 s-1 which results in the flux of 105 kg of nitrogen into the euphotic zone each year. This nitrogen input subsequently stimulates 6 × 105 kg of carbon per year. The nutrient input of swimming sperm whales is modest compared to dominant modes of nutrient transport such as nitrogen fixation but occurs more consistently and thus may provide the nutrients necessary to enable phytoplankton growth and survival in the absence of other seasonal and daily nutrient inputs.

  14. Saving Whales and Dolphins through Petroglyphs and Activist Artworks

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bae, Jaehan

    2013-01-01

    Whaling emerged in ancient times, when whales served as a source of food, fuel, and other everyday resources that were vital for human civilizations. Prehistoric images of whales are found on rocks in a few areas throughout the world, most notably the famous petroglyphs at the Bangudae cliffs in Ulsan, South Korea, which depict whales and other…

  15. 36 CFR 13.1174 - Whale water restrictions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Whale water restrictions. 13... Vessel Operating Restrictions § 13.1174 Whale water restrictions. (a) May 15 through September 30, the... designated as temporary whale waters in accordance with § 1.7 of this chapter. (c) Violation of a whale...

  16. 36 CFR 13.1174 - Whale water restrictions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Whale water restrictions. 13... Vessel Operating Restrictions § 13.1174 Whale water restrictions. (a) May 15 through September 30, the... designated as temporary whale waters in accordance with § 1.7 of this chapter. (c) Violation of a whale...

  17. 36 CFR 13.1174 - Whale water restrictions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Whale water restrictions. 13... Vessel Operating Restrictions § 13.1174 Whale water restrictions. (a) May 15 through September 30, the... designated as temporary whale waters in accordance with § 1.7 of this chapter. (c) Violation of a whale...

  18. 36 CFR 13.1174 - Whale water restrictions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Whale water restrictions. 13... Vessel Operating Restrictions § 13.1174 Whale water restrictions. (a) May 15 through September 30, the... designated as temporary whale waters in accordance with § 1.7 of this chapter. (c) Violation of a whale...

  19. Whales in Depth: An Interdisciplinary Unit of Study.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sunal, Cynthia Szymanski; Pritchard, Gail; Sunal, Dennis W.

    2000-01-01

    Provides background information on whales focusing on their biological characteristics, the use and regulation of whaling, and the conservation of marine mammals. Offers ideas for teaching about whales. Includes a resource section of books, audio books, music tapes, and Web sites about whales for students and teachers. (CMK)

  20. Morbillivirus and Pilot Whale Deaths, Mediterranean Sea

    PubMed Central

    Esperón, Fernando; Herraéz, Pedro; de los Monteros, Antonio Espinosa; Clavel, Cristina; Bernabé, Antonio; Sánchez-Vizcaino, J. Manuel; Verborgh, Philippe; DeStephanis, Renaud; Toledano, Francisco; Bayón, Alejandro

    2008-01-01

    An outbreak of a lethal morbillivirus infection of long-finned pilot whales occurred in the Mediterranean Sea from the end of October 2006 through April 2007. Sequence analysis of a 426-bp conserved fragment of the morbillivirus phosphoprotein gene indicates that the virus is more closely related to dolphin morbillivirus than to pilot whale morbillivirus. PMID:18439363

  1. Whale Watching in the Gulf of Maine.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Carkin, Clayton A.

    1985-01-01

    Describes a variety of teaching strategies to prepare a class for a whale watching field trip. Guidelines for recording a sighting, pictures and statistics for commonly and/or occasionally seen whales, and hints for avoiding sea sickness are included. (DH)

  2. Using energetic models to investigate the survival and reproduction of beaked whales (family Ziphiidae).

    PubMed

    New, Leslie F; Moretti, David J; Hooker, Sascha K; Costa, Daniel P; Simmons, Samantha E

    2013-01-01

    Mass stranding of several species of beaked whales (family Ziphiidae) associated with exposure to anthropogenic sounds has raised concern for the conservation of these species. However, little is known about the species' life histories, prey or habitat requirements. Without this knowledge, it becomes difficult to assess the effects of anthropogenic sound, since there is no way to determine whether the disturbance is impacting the species' physical or environmental requirements. Here we take a bioenergetics approach to address this gap in our knowledge, as the elusive, deep-diving nature of beaked whales has made it hard to study these effects directly. We develop a model for Ziphiidae linking feeding energetics to the species' requirements for survival and reproduction, since these life history traits would be the most likely to be impacted by non-lethal disturbances. Our models suggest that beaked whale reproduction requires energy dense prey, and that poor resource availability would lead to an extension of the inter-calving interval. Further, given current information, it seems that some beaked whale species require relatively high quality habitat in order to meet their requirements for survival and reproduction. As a result, even a small non-lethal disturbance that results in displacement of whales from preferred habitats could potentially impact a population if a significant proportion of that population was affected. We explored the impact of varying ecological parameters and model assumptions on survival and reproduction, and find that calf and fetus survival appear more readily affected than the survival of adult females. PMID:23874737

  3. Using Energetic Models to Investigate the Survival and Reproduction of Beaked Whales (family Ziphiidae)

    PubMed Central

    New, Leslie F.; Moretti, David J.; Hooker, Sascha K.; Costa, Daniel P.; Simmons, Samantha E.

    2013-01-01

    Mass stranding of several species of beaked whales (family Ziphiidae) associated with exposure to anthropogenic sounds has raised concern for the conservation of these species. However, little is known about the species’ life histories, prey or habitat requirements. Without this knowledge, it becomes difficult to assess the effects of anthropogenic sound, since there is no way to determine whether the disturbance is impacting the species’ physical or environmental requirements. Here we take a bioenergetics approach to address this gap in our knowledge, as the elusive, deep-diving nature of beaked whales has made it hard to study these effects directly. We develop a model for Ziphiidae linking feeding energetics to the species’ requirements for survival and reproduction, since these life history traits would be the most likely to be impacted by non-lethal disturbances. Our models suggest that beaked whale reproduction requires energy dense prey, and that poor resource availability would lead to an extension of the inter-calving interval. Further, given current information, it seems that some beaked whale species require relatively high quality habitat in order to meet their requirements for survival and reproduction. As a result, even a small non-lethal disturbance that results in displacement of whales from preferred habitats could potentially impact a population if a significant proportion of that population was affected. We explored the impact of varying ecological parameters and model assumptions on survival and reproduction, and find that calf and fetus survival appear more readily affected than the survival of adult females. PMID:23874737

  4. Turning Cancer Cells into Cancer Killers.

    PubMed

    2016-01-01

    Researchers have changed leukemia cells into natural killer cells by adding a specific antibody to bone marrow cells from patients with acute myeloblastic leukemia. The induced natural killer cells killed leukemia cells in culture. The antibody does not trigger the same conversion in bone marrow from healthy patients. PMID:26621762

  5. Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) sounds from the North Atlantic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mellinger, David K.; Clark, Christopher W.

    2003-08-01

    Sounds of blue whales were recorded from U.S. Navy hydrophone arrays in the North Atlantic. The most common signals were long, patterned sequences of very-low-frequency sounds in the 15-20 Hz band. Sounds within a sequence were hierarchically organized into phrases consisting of one or two different sound types. Sequences were typically composed of two-part phrases repeated every 73 s: a constant-frequency tonal ``A'' part lasting approximately 8 s, followed 5 s later by a frequency-modulated ``B'' part lasting approximately 11 s. A common sequence variant consisted only of repetitions of part A. Sequences were separated by silent periods averaging just over four minutes. Two other sound types are described: a 2-5 s tone at 9 Hz, and a 5-7s inflected tone that swept up in frequency to ca. 70 Hz and then rapidly down to 25 Hz. The general characteristics of repeated sequences of simple combinations of long-duration, very-low-frequency sound units repeated every 1-2 min are typical of blue whale sounds recorded in other parts of the world. However, the specific frequency, duration, and repetition interval features of these North Atlantic sounds are different than those reported from other regions, lending further support to the notion that geographically separate blue whale populations have distinctive acoustic displays.

  6. Detection and Classification of Whale Acoustic Signals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xian, Yin

    This dissertation focuses on two vital challenges in relation to whale acoustic signals: detection and classification. In detection, we evaluated the influence of the uncertain ocean environment on the spectrogram-based detector, and derived the likelihood ratio of the proposed Short Time Fourier Transform detector. Experimental results showed that the proposed detector outperforms detectors based on the spectrogram. The proposed detector is more sensitive to environmental changes because it includes phase information. In classification, our focus is on finding a robust and sparse representation of whale vocalizations. Because whale vocalizations can be modeled as polynomial phase signals, we can represent the whale calls by their polynomial phase coefficients. In this dissertation, we used the Weyl transform to capture chirp rate information, and used a two dimensional feature set to represent whale vocalizations globally. Experimental results showed that our Weyl feature set outperforms chirplet coefficients and MFCC (Mel Frequency Cepstral Coefficients) when applied to our collected data. Since whale vocalizations can be represented by polynomial phase coefficients, it is plausible that the signals lie on a manifold parameterized by these coefficients. We also studied the intrinsic structure of high dimensional whale data by exploiting its geometry. Experimental results showed that nonlinear mappings such as Laplacian Eigenmap and ISOMAP outperform linear mappings such as PCA and MDS, suggesting that the whale acoustic data is nonlinear. We also explored deep learning algorithms on whale acoustic data. We built each layer as convolutions with either a PCA filter bank (PCANet) or a DCT filter bank (DCTNet). With the DCT filter bank, each layer has different a time-frequency scale representation, and from this, one can extract different physical information. Experimental results showed that our PCANet and DCTNet achieve high classification rate on the whale

  7. Initial characterization of novel beaked whale morbillivirus in Hawaiian cetaceans.

    PubMed

    Jacob, Jessica M; West, Kristi L; Levine, Gregg; Sanchez, Susan; Jensen, Brenda A

    2016-01-13

    Cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) is a causative factor in epizootics that have resulted in thousands of deaths throughout the Atlantic and Mediterranean since 1987, but less is known of its presence and significance in the Pacific. The first case of CeMV reported in Hawai'i was in a Longman's beaked whale that stranded in 2010. The initial CeMV sequence from this individual indicated the possibility of a novel strain. To address this, archived samples from cetaceans that stranded in Hawai'i between 1997 and 2014 were screened for CeMV. The beaked whale morbillivirus (BWMV) was detected in 15 individuals representing 12 different species (24% of Code 1 and 2 stranded cetaceans). The earliest detected case was a humpback whale that stranded in 1998. Sequence comparisons of a 2.2 kb sequence spanning the phosphoprotein (P) and nucleocapsid (N) genes strongly suggest that the BWMV represents a novel strain of CeMV present in Hawai'i and the Central Pacific. In contrast to recently reported isolates from Brazil and Australia that may represent a distinct clade, BWMV appears to be more closely related to known strains of CeMV (dolphin morbillivirus; porpoise morbillivirus; and pilot whale morbillivirus). Detection rates with repeat sampling of positive lymph nodes were between 2 and 61%, illustrating the extreme heterogeneity that can occur in affected tissues. Taken together, these results suggest that BWMV may be common and established in Hawaiian cetacean populations. BWMV will be important for understanding CeMV and health threats in the relatively understudied cetaceans of the Pacific. PMID:26758655

  8. Disruptive effects of persistent organohalogen contaminants on thyroid function in white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from Svalbard.

    PubMed

    Villanger, G D; Lydersen, C; Kovacs, K M; Lie, E; Skaare, J U; Jenssen, B M

    2011-06-01

    whales. The impact this might have on individual and population health is unknown. PMID:21497377

  9. Annual Acoustic Presence of Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) Offshore Eastern Sicily, Central Mediterranean Sea.

    PubMed

    Sciacca, Virginia; Caruso, Francesco; Beranzoli, Laura; Chierici, Francesco; De Domenico, Emilio; Embriaco, Davide; Favali, Paolo; Giovanetti, Gabriele; Larosa, Giuseppina; Marinaro, Giuditta; Papale, Elena; Pavan, Gianni; Pellegrino, Carmelo; Pulvirenti, Sara; Simeone, Francesco; Viola, Salvatore; Riccobene, Giorgio

    2015-01-01

    In recent years, an increasing number of surveys have definitively confirmed the seasonal presence of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in highly productive regions of the Mediterranean Sea. Despite this, very little is yet known about the routes that the species seasonally follows within the Mediterranean basin and, particularly, in the Ionian area. The present study assesses for the first time fin whale acoustic presence offshore Eastern Sicily (Ionian Sea), throughout the processing of about 10 months of continuous acoustic monitoring. The recording of fin whale vocalizations was made possible by the cabled deep-sea multidisciplinary observatory, "NEMO-SN1", deployed 25 km off the Catania harbor at a depth of about 2,100 meters. NEMO-SN1 is an operational node of the European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water-column Observatory (EMSO) Research Infrastructure. The observatory was equipped with a low-frequency hydrophone (bandwidth: 0.05 Hz-1 kHz, sampling rate: 2 kHz) which continuously acquired data from July 2012 to May 2013. About 7,200 hours of acoustic data were analyzed by means of spectrogram display. Calls with the typical structure and patterns associated to the Mediterranean fin whale population were identified and monitored in the area for the first time. Furthermore, a background noise analysis within the fin whale communication frequency band (17.9-22.5 Hz) was conducted to investigate possible detection-masking effects. The study confirms the hypothesis that fin whales are present in the Ionian Sea throughout all seasons, with peaks in call detection rate during spring and summer months. The analysis also demonstrates that calls were more frequently detected in low background noise conditions. Further analysis will be performed to understand whether observed levels of noise limit the acoustic detection of the fin whales vocalizations, or whether the animals vocalize less in the presence of high background noise. PMID:26581104

  10. Low Diversity in the Mitogenome of Sperm Whales Revealed by Next-Generation Sequencing

    PubMed Central

    Alexander, Alana; Steel, Debbie; Slikas, Beth; Hoekzema, Kendra; Carraher, Colm; Parks, Matthew; Cronn, Richard; Baker, C. Scott

    2013-01-01

    Large population sizes and global distributions generally associate with high mitochondrial DNA control region (CR) diversity. The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is an exception, showing low CR diversity relative to other cetaceans; however, diversity levels throughout the remainder of the sperm whale mitogenome are unknown. We sequenced 20 mitogenomes from 17 sperm whales representative of worldwide diversity using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies (Illumina GAIIx, Roche 454 GS Junior). Resequencing of three individuals with both NGS platforms and partial Sanger sequencing showed low discrepancy rates (454-Illumina: 0.0071%; Sanger-Illumina: 0.0034%; and Sanger-454: 0.0023%) confirming suitability of both NGS platforms for investigating low mitogenomic diversity. Using the 17 sperm whale mitogenomes in a phylogenetic reconstruction with 41 other species, including 11 new dolphin mitogenomes, we tested two hypotheses for the low CR diversity. First, the hypothesis that CR-specific constraints have reduced diversity solely in the CR was rejected as diversity was low throughout the mitogenome, not just in the CR (overall diversity π = 0.096%; protein-coding 3rd codon = 0.22%; CR = 0.35%), and CR phylogenetic signal was congruent with protein-coding regions. Second, the hypothesis that slow substitution rates reduced diversity throughout the sperm whale mitogenome was rejected as sperm whales had significantly higher rates of CR evolution and no evidence of slow coding region evolution relative to other cetaceans. The estimated time to most recent common ancestor for sperm whale mitogenomes was 72,800 to 137,400 years ago (95% highest probability density interval), consistent with previous hypotheses of a bottleneck or selective sweep as likely causes of low mitogenome diversity. PMID:23254394

  11. Annual Acoustic Presence of Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) Offshore Eastern Sicily, Central Mediterranean Sea

    PubMed Central

    Sciacca, Virginia; Caruso, Francesco; Beranzoli, Laura; Chierici, Francesco; De Domenico, Emilio; Embriaco, Davide; Favali, Paolo; Giovanetti, Gabriele; Larosa, Giuseppina; Marinaro, Giuditta; Papale, Elena; Pavan, Gianni; Pellegrino, Carmelo; Pulvirenti, Sara; Simeone, Francesco; Viola, Salvatore; Riccobene, Giorgio

    2015-01-01

    In recent years, an increasing number of surveys have definitively confirmed the seasonal presence of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in highly productive regions of the Mediterranean Sea. Despite this, very little is yet known about the routes that the species seasonally follows within the Mediterranean basin and, particularly, in the Ionian area. The present study assesses for the first time fin whale acoustic presence offshore Eastern Sicily (Ionian Sea), throughout the processing of about 10 months of continuous acoustic monitoring. The recording of fin whale vocalizations was made possible by the cabled deep-sea multidisciplinary observatory, “NEMO-SN1”, deployed 25 km off the Catania harbor at a depth of about 2,100 meters. NEMO-SN1 is an operational node of the European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water-column Observatory (EMSO) Research Infrastructure. The observatory was equipped with a low-frequency hydrophone (bandwidth: 0.05 Hz–1 kHz, sampling rate: 2 kHz) which continuously acquired data from July 2012 to May 2013. About 7,200 hours of acoustic data were analyzed by means of spectrogram display. Calls with the typical structure and patterns associated to the Mediterranean fin whale population were identified and monitored in the area for the first time. Furthermore, a background noise analysis within the fin whale communication frequency band (17.9–22.5 Hz) was conducted to investigate possible detection-masking effects. The study confirms the hypothesis that fin whales are present in the Ionian Sea throughout all seasons, with peaks in call detection rate during spring and summer months. The analysis also demonstrates that calls were more frequently detected in low background noise conditions. Further analysis will be performed to understand whether observed levels of noise limit the acoustic detection of the fin whales vocalizations, or whether the animals vocalize less in the presence of high background noise. PMID:26581104

  12. Developing an acoustic method for reducing North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) ship strike mortality along the United States eastern seaboard

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mullen, Kaitlyn Allen

    North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis ) are among the world's most endangered cetaceans. Although protected from commercial whaling since 1949, North Atlantic right whales exhibit little to no population growth. Ship strike mortality is the leading known cause of North Atlantic right whale mortality. North Atlantic right whales exhibit developed auditory systems, and vocalize in the frequency range that dominates ship acoustic signatures. With no behavioral audiogram published, current literature assumes these whales should be able to acoustically detect signals in the same frequencies they vocalize. Recorded ship acoustic signatures occur at intensities that are similar or higher to those recorded by vocalizing North Atlantic right whales. If North Atlantic right whales are capable of acoustically detecting oncoming ship, why are they susceptible to ship strike mortality? This thesis models potential acoustic impediments to North Atlantic right whale detection of oncoming ships, and concludes the presence of modeled and observed bow null effect acoustic shadow zones, located directly ahead of oncoming ships, are likely to impair the ability of North Atlantic right whales to detect and/or localize oncoming shipping traffic. This lack of detection and/or localization likely leads to a lack of ship strike avoidance, and thus contributes to the observed high rates of North Atlantic right whale ship strike mortality. I propose that North Atlantic right whale ship strike mortality reduction is possible via reducing and/or eliminating the presence of bow null effect acoustic shadow zones. This thesis develops and tests one method for bow null effect acoustic shadow zone reduction on five ships. Finally, I review current United States policy towards North Atlantic right whale ship strike mortality in an effort to determine if the bow null effect acoustic shadow zone reduction method developed is a viable method for reducing North Atlantic right whale ship

  13. Designing an effective mark-recapture study of Antarctic blue whales.

    PubMed

    Peel, David; Bravington, Mark; Kelly, Natalie; Double, Michael C

    2015-06-01

    To properly conserve and manage wild populations, it is important to have information on abundance and population dynamics. In the case of rare and cryptic species, especially in remote locations, surveys can be difficult and expensive, and run the risk of not producing sample sizes large enough to produce precise estimates. Therefore, it is crucial to conduct preliminary analysis to determine if the study will produce useable estimates. The focus of this paper is a proposed mark-recapture study of Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia). Antarctic blue whales were hunted to near extinction up until the mid- 1960s, when commercial exploitation of this species ended. Current abundance estimates are a decade old. Furthermore, at present, there are no formal circumpolar-level cetacean surveys operating in Antarctic waters and, specifically, there is no strategy to monitor the potential recovery of Antarctic blue whales. Hence the work in this paper was motivated by the need to inform decisions on strategies for future monitoring of Antarctic blue whale population. The paper describes a model to predict the precision and bias of estimates from a proposed survey program. The analysis showed that mark-recapture is indeed a suitable method to provide a circumpolar abundance estimate of Antarctic blue whales, with precision of the abundance, at the midpoint of the program, predicted to be between 0.2 and 0.3. However, this was only if passive acoustic tracking was utilized to increase the encounter rate. The analysis also provided guidance on general design for an Antarctic blue whale program, showing that it requires a 12-year duration; although surveys do not necessarily need to be run every year if multiple vessels are available to clump effort. Mark-recapture is based on a number of assumptions; it was evident from the analysis that ongoing analysis and monitoring of the data would be required to check such assumptions hold (e.g., test for

  14. Bowhead whale springtime song off West Greenland.

    PubMed

    Stafford, Kathleen M; Moore, Sue E; Laidre, Kristin L; Heide-Jørgensen, M P

    2008-11-01

    Three songs were recorded from bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in Disko Bay, West Greenland, during 59 h of recordings via sonobuoys deployed on seven days between 5 and 14 April 2007. Song elements were defined by units following the protocol of previous description of bowhead whale song. The two most prominent songs were loud, complex, and repeated in long bouts on multiple recording days while the third song was much simpler and recorded on only one day. Bowhead whale simple calls and faint song elements were also recorded using digital audio tape recorders and a dipping hydrophone deployed from the sea ice approximately 100-150 km southwest of Disko Bay on three separate days suggesting that song is also produced in the central portion of Baffin Bay in winter. Songs recorded in Disko Bay are from an area where approximately 85% of the whales have been determined to be adult females. Although it is not known which sex was singing, we speculate that, as in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), male bowhead whales may sing to mediate sexual competition or mate selection behaviors. This is the first detailed description of springtime songs for bowhead whales in the eastern Arctic. PMID:19045814

  15. Species-specific beaked whale echolocation signals.

    PubMed

    Baumann-Pickering, Simone; McDonald, Mark A; Simonis, Anne E; Solsona Berga, Alba; Merkens, Karlina P B; Oleson, Erin M; Roch, Marie A; Wiggins, Sean M; Rankin, Shannon; Yack, Tina M; Hildebrand, John A

    2013-09-01

    Beaked whale echolocation signals are mostly frequency-modulated (FM) upsweep pulses and appear to be species specific. Evolutionary processes of niche separation may have driven differentiation of beaked whale signals used for spatial orientation and foraging. FM pulses of eight species of beaked whales were identified, as well as five distinct pulse types of unknown species, but presumed to be from beaked whales. Current evidence suggests these five distinct but unidentified FM pulse types are also species-specific and are each produced by a separate species. There may be a relationship between adult body length and center frequency with smaller whales producing higher frequency signals. This could be due to anatomical and physiological restraints or it could be an evolutionary adaption for detection of smaller prey for smaller whales with higher resolution using higher frequencies. The disadvantage of higher frequencies is a shorter detection range. Whales echolocating with the highest frequencies, or broadband, likely lower source level signals also use a higher repetition rate, which might compensate for the shorter detection range. Habitat modeling with acoustic detections should give further insights into how niches and prey may have shaped species-specific FM pulse types. PMID:23967959

  16. Long-term bowhead whale abundance data collected near Point Barrow Alaska (1978-2011) and postmortem examination data (1974-2012)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    George, J.; Suydam, R.

    2012-12-01

    Primarily in response to concerns about the sustainability of the subsistence bowhead whale harvest along the Alaskan coast, population surveys were initiated by NOAA in 1978, and were conducted by the North Slope Borough from 1981 to present. The surveys of migrating bowhead whales were made from pressure ridges on the landfast sea ice margin in the vicinity of Point Barrow, Alaska. Surveys were conducted 24 hr/day from about 15 April and 1 June depending on weather and ice conditions. Specific observation data include: (for each whale sighting) date, time, location, whale group size, species, migration speed and direction, (every 2 hrs) ice floe speed and direction (surrogate for current data), weather, pressure ridge height, bird observations and other data. Full-time acoustic surveillance during the survey has been conducted from 1984 to present. A statistically significant positive trend (3.5% year; 95% CI=2.2-4.8%) in bowhead whale population size is evident over this time period. The more recent abundance estimate was 12,631 (CV 0.2442) whales for year 2004. Over a more extensive time period, postmortem examinations of bowhead whales landed by Inupiat Eskimos have been made at Barrow and other whale hunting villages. We have detailed whale examination data from 1974-present with sporadic harvest data dating to the 1800s. The older records lack the detail of current examinations. These "harvest data" are connected with estimates of Yankee commercial whaling takes from 1848 to 1915 compiled by other researchers. Together they provide a continuous record of anthropogenic takes of bowhead whales for more than 150 years. These datasets have been essential in estimating sustainable harvest levels by the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee, NOAA and the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. The records are also used for modeling environmental effects on bowheads, oil and gas leasing decisions, and many other scientific projects and policy matters. The

  17. Whale contribution to long time series of low-frequency oceanic ambient sound

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andrew, Rex K.; Howe, Bruce M.; Mercer, James A.

    2002-05-01

    It has long been known that baleen (mainly blue and fin) whale vocalizations are a component of oceanic ambient sound. Urick reports that the famous ``20-cycle pulses'' were observed even from the first Navy hydrophone installations in the early 1950's. As part of the Acoustic Thermometry Ocean Climate (ATOC) and the North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory (NPAL) programs, more than 6 years of nearly continuous ambient sound data have been collected from Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) sites in the northeast Pacific. These records now show that the average level of the ambient sound has risen by as much as 10 dB since the 1960's. Although much of this increase is probably attributable to manmade sources, the whale call component is still prominent. The data also show that the whale signal is clearly seasonal: in coherent averages of year-long records, the whale call signal is the only feature that stands out, making strong and repeatable patterns as the whale population migrates past the hydrophone systems. This prominent and sometimes dominant component of ambient sound has perhaps not been fully appreciated in current ambient noise models. [Work supported by ONR.

  18. Protandric hermaphroditism in the whale-fall bivalve mollusc Idas washingtonia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tyler, Paul A.; Marsh, Leigh; Baco-Taylor, Amy; Smith, Craig R.

    2009-09-01

    Whale falls provide abundant but relatively ephemeral, sulphide-rich habitat islands on the deep-sea floor. To explore life-history adaptations to whale-fall habitats, we examined the reproductive biology of Idas washingtonia, a bathymodiolin mussel occurring in abundance on sunken whale skeletons in the deep northeast Pacific Ocean. Analysis of the reproductive biology of I. washingtonia demonstrates strong evidence of protandric hermaphroditism. Developing males were recognised in individuals as small as 1.7 mm shell length and spermatogenesis continued until ˜7 mm length. At >6.5 mm, males were generally spent and the first previtellogenic oocytes were observed. Although developing females were found as small as 4.5 mm shell length, most well-developed females were >6 mm shell length. Overall, females only formed ˜12% of the population. As with other modiolid bivalves, fecundity was high and the egg size <50 μm, indicative of planktotrophic development. The occurrence of protandric hermaphroditism, high fecundity and planktotrophic dispersal may be an adaptation to the ephemeral nature of their habitat. The success of this adaptation is shown by the rapid colonisation of whale falls even though these may have been severely reduced in abundance since the peak of commercial whaling activity in the 20th century.

  19. 75 FR 81584 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the Sperm Whale

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-12-28

    ... endangered species under the ESA on December 2, 1970 (35 FR 18319). Sperm whales have a global distribution... comments from the public on July 6, 2006 (71 FR 38385). A summary of comments and NMFS responses to... of extinction in 100 years) and the global population has at least 1,500 mature,...

  20. Deficient natural killer cell function in preeclampsia

    SciTech Connect

    Alanen, A.; Lassila, O.

    1982-11-01

    Natural killer cell activity of peripheral blood lymphocytes was measured against K-562 target cells with a 4-hour /sup 51/Cr release assay in 15 primigravid women with preeclamptic symptoms. Nineteen primigravid women with an uncomplicated pregnancy and 18 nonpregnant women served as controls. The natural killer cell activity of preeclamptic women was observed to be significantly lower than that of both control groups. Natural killer cells in preeclamptic women responded normally to augmentation caused by interferon. These findings give further evidence for the participation of the maternal immune system in this pregnancy disorder.

  1. Critically endangered western gray whales migrate to the eastern North Pacific

    PubMed Central

    Mate, Bruce R.; Ilyashenko, Valentin Yu.; Bradford, Amanda L.; Vertyankin, Vladimir V.; Tsidulko, Grigory A.; Rozhnov, Vyacheslav V.; Irvine, Ladd M.

    2015-01-01

    Western North Pacific gray whales (WGWs), once considered extinct, are critically endangered with unknown migratory routes and reproductive areas. We attached satellite-monitored tags to seven WGWs on their primary feeding ground off Sakhalin Island, Russia, three of which subsequently migrated to regions occupied by non-endangered eastern gray whales (EGWs). A female with the longest-lasting tag visited all three major EGW reproductive areas off Baja California, Mexico, before returning to Sakhalin Island the following spring. Her 22 511 km round-trip is the longest documented mammal migration and strongly suggests that some presumed WGWs are actually EGWs foraging in areas historically attributed to WGWs. The observed migration routes provide evidence of navigational skills across open water that break the near-shore north–south migratory paradigm of EGWs. Despite evidence of genetic differentiation, these tagging data indicate that the population identity of whales off Sakhalin Island needs further evaluation. PMID:25878049

  2. Critically endangered western gray whales migrate to the eastern North Pacific.

    PubMed

    Mate, Bruce R; Ilyashenko, Valentin Yu; Bradford, Amanda L; Vertyankin, Vladimir V; Tsidulko, Grigory A; Rozhnov, Vyacheslav V; Irvine, Ladd M

    2015-04-01

    Western North Pacific gray whales (WGWs), once considered extinct, are critically endangered with unknown migratory routes and reproductive areas. We attached satellite-monitored tags to seven WGWs on their primary feeding ground off Sakhalin Island, Russia, three of which subsequently migrated to regions occupied by non-endangered eastern gray whales (EGWs). A female with the longest-lasting tag visited all three major EGW reproductive areas off Baja California, Mexico, before returning to Sakhalin Island the following spring. Her 22 511 km round-trip is the longest documented mammal migration and strongly suggests that some presumed WGWs are actually EGWs foraging in areas historically attributed to WGWs. The observed migration routes provide evidence of navigational skills across open water that break the near-shore north-south migratory paradigm of EGWs. Despite evidence of genetic differentiation, these tagging data indicate that the population identity of whales off Sakhalin Island needs further evaluation. PMID:25878049

  3. Insights into the Evolution of Longevity from the Bowhead Whale Genome

    PubMed Central

    Keane, Michael; Semeiks, Jeremy; Webb, Andrew E.; Li, Yang I.; Quesada, Víctor; Craig, Thomas; Madsen, Lone Bruhn; van Dam, Sipko; Brawand, David; Marques, Patrícia I.; Michalak, Pawel; Kang, Lin; Bhak, Jong; Yim, Hyung-Soon; Grishin, Nick V.; Nielsen, Nynne Hjort; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Oziolor, Elias M.; Matson, Cole W.; Church, George M.; Stuart, Gary W.; Patton, John C.; George, J. Craig; Suydam, Robert; Larsen, Knud; López-Otín, Carlos; O’Connell, Mary J.; Bickham, John W.; Thomsen, Bo; de Magalhães, João Pedro

    2015-01-01

    Summary The bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) is estimated to live over 200 years and is possibly the longest-living mammal. These animals should possess protective molecular adaptations relevant to age-related diseases, particularly cancer. Here, we report the sequencing and comparative analysis of the bowhead whale genome and two transcriptomes from different populations. Our analysis identifies genes under positive selection and bowhead-specific mutations in genes linked to cancer and aging. In addition, we identify gene gain and loss involving genes associated with DNA repair, cell-cycle regulation, cancer, and aging. Our results expand our understanding of the evolution of mammalian longevity and suggest possible players involved in adaptive genetic changes conferring cancer resistance. We also found potentially relevant changes in genes related to additional processes, including thermoregulation, sensory perception, dietary adaptations, and immune response. Our data are made available online (http://www.bowhead-whale.org) to facilitate research in this long-lived species. PMID:25565328

  4. Insights into the evolution of longevity from the bowhead whale genome.

    PubMed

    Keane, Michael; Semeiks, Jeremy; Webb, Andrew E; Li, Yang I; Quesada, Víctor; Craig, Thomas; Madsen, Lone Bruhn; van Dam, Sipko; Brawand, David; Marques, Patrícia I; Michalak, Pawel; Kang, Lin; Bhak, Jong; Yim, Hyung-Soon; Grishin, Nick V; Nielsen, Nynne Hjort; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Oziolor, Elias M; Matson, Cole W; Church, George M; Stuart, Gary W; Patton, John C; George, J Craig; Suydam, Robert; Larsen, Knud; López-Otín, Carlos; O'Connell, Mary J; Bickham, John W; Thomsen, Bo; de Magalhães, João Pedro

    2015-01-01

    The bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) is estimated to live over 200 years and is possibly the longest-living mammal. These animals should possess protective molecular adaptations relevant to age-related diseases, particularly cancer. Here, we report the sequencing and comparative analysis of the bowhead whale genome and two transcriptomes from different populations. Our analysis identifies genes under positive selection and bowhead-specific mutations in genes linked to cancer and aging. In addition, we identify gene gain and loss involving genes associated with DNA repair, cell-cycle regulation, cancer, and aging. Our results expand our understanding of the evolution of mammalian longevity and suggest possible players involved in adaptive genetic changes conferring cancer resistance. We also found potentially relevant changes in genes related to additional processes, including thermoregulation, sensory perception, dietary adaptations, and immune response. Our data are made available online (http://www.bowhead-whale.org) to facilitate research in this long-lived species. PMID:25565328

  5. 76 FR 52940 - Draft 2011 Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-08-24

    ... false killer whale (75 FR 2853, 19 January 2010). Details on the Take Reduction Plan and its proposed implementation were published in 2011 (76 FR 42082, 18 July 2011). New information on a population viability...) stocks include all the large whale stocks except sperm whales and blue whales, and those small...

  6. Toward the social and acoustic ecology of social foraging humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hanser, Sean Frederick Thurman

    The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is an endangered species of baleen whale found throughout the world. A subset of the Polynesian population of humpbacks that migrates to Southeast Alaska participates in the group foraging activity known as "bubble-net feeding." We applied social network analysis to eight years of observations of co-occurrence to understand the social organization of bubble-net feeding whales. Results indicate that there are two large communities in Southeast Alaska that inhabit geographically distinct areas. Among social foraging humpbacks, there is a high degree of preference for affiliating with individuals from the same community. There are three types of whales in the communities: (1) "core" members who eat herring consistently, (2) intermittent members that were observed participating irregularly, and (3) one-season participators. One of the specialized roles that some whales assume during bubble-net feeding is that of the whale who vocalizes to manipulate prey. We focused on the vocalizations produced by there task-specialists to see if we could classify distinct types of feeding calls. Classification and regression trees confirmed that most feeding calls were classifiable based on stable acoustic differences among the calls. The acoustic features that played the largest role in classifying calls were the mean and standard deviation of call formants, also known as harmonies. Formants are acoustic features that are stable within individual vocalizers. This indicates that the classification technique may provide a reliable method for identifying individual whales acoustically. Humpback vocal behavior is integral to bubble-net feeding and could be affected by vessel noise during social foraging. We subjected feeding humpbacks to moderate levels of vessel noise from small boats. The humpbacks increased the length of spaces between individual vocalizations but did rot increase the overall length of vocal bouts. Contrary to expectations

  7. Natural Killer Cells for Therapy of Leukemia.

    PubMed

    Suck, Garnet; Linn, Yeh Ching; Tonn, Torsten

    2016-03-01

    Clinical application of natural killer (NK) cells against leukemia is an area of intense investigation. In human leukocyte antigen-mismatched allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (HSCT), alloreactive NK cells exert powerful anti-leukemic activity in preventing relapse in the absence of graft-versus-host disease, particularly in acute myeloid leukemia patients. Adoptive transfer of donor NK cells post-HSCT or in non-transplant scenarios may be superior to the currently widely used unmanipulated donor lymphocyte infusion. This concept could be further improved through transfusion of activated NK cells. Significant progress has been made in good manufacturing practice (GMP)-compliant large-scale production of stimulated effectors. However, inherent limitations remain. These include differing yields and compositions of the end-product due to donor variability and inefficient means for cryopreservation. Moreover, the impact of the various novel activation strategies on NK cell biology and in vivo behavior are barely understood. In contrast, reproduction of the third-party NK-92 drug from a cryostored GMP-compliant master cell bank is straightforward and efficient. Safety for the application of this highly cytotoxic cell line was demonstrated in first clinical trials. This novel 'off-the-shelf' product could become a treatment option for a broad patient population. For specific tumor targeting chimeric-antigen-receptor-engineered NK-92 cells have been designed. PMID:27226791

  8. Natural Killer Cells for Therapy of Leukemia

    PubMed Central

    Suck, Garnet; Linn, Yeh Ching; Tonn, Torsten

    2016-01-01

    Summary Clinical application of natural killer (NK) cells against leukemia is an area of intense investigation. In human leukocyte antigen-mismatched allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (HSCT), alloreactive NK cells exert powerful anti-leukemic activity in preventing relapse in the absence of graft-versus-host disease, particularly in acute myeloid leukemia patients. Adoptive transfer of donor NK cells post-HSCT or in non-transplant scenarios may be superior to the currently widely used unmanipulated donor lymphocyte infusion. This concept could be further improved through transfusion of activated NK cells. Significant progress has been made in good manufacturing practice (GMP)-compliant large-scale production of stimulated effectors. However, inherent limitations remain. These include differing yields and compositions of the end-product due to donor variability and inefficient means for cryopreservation. Moreover, the impact of the various novel activation strategies on NK cell biology and in vivo behavior are barely understood. In contrast, reproduction of the third-party NK-92 drug from a cryostored GMP-compliant master cell bank is straightforward and efficient. Safety for the application of this highly cytotoxic cell line was demonstrated in first clinical trials. This novel ‘off-the-shelf’ product could become a treatment option for a broad patient population. For specific tumor targeting chimeric-antigen-receptor-engineered NK-92 cells have been designed. PMID:27226791

  9. REPLICATIVE POTENTIAL OF HUMAN NATURAL KILLER CELLS

    PubMed Central

    Fujisaki, Hiroyuki; Kakuda, Harumi; Imai, Chihaya; Mullighan, Charles G.; Campana, Dario

    2009-01-01

    The replicative potential of human CD56+ CD3− natural killer (NK) cells is unknown. We found that by exposing NK cells to the leukemic cell line K562 genetically modified to express 4-1BB ligand and interleukin 15 (K562-mb15-41BBL), they expanded for up to 30 population doublings, achieving numbers that ranged from 1.6 × 105 to 1.2 × 1011 percent (median, 5.9 × 106 percent; n = 7) of those originally seeded. However, NK cells eventually became unresponsive to stimulation and died. Their demise could be suppressed by enforcing the expression of the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene. TERT-overexpressing NK cells continued to proliferate in response to K562-mb15-41BBL stimulation for more than 1 year of culture, while maintaining a normal karyotype and genotype. Long-lived NK cells had high cytotoxicity against myeloid and T-lineage leukemic cells. They remained susceptible to genetic manipulation, becoming highly cytotoxic to B-lineage leukemic cells after expression of anti-CD19 signaling receptors. Thus, human NK cells have a replicative potential similar to that of T lymphocytes and their lifespan can be significantly prolonged by an increase in TERT activity. We suggest that the methods described here should have many applications in studies of NK cell biology and NK cell-based therapies. PMID:19344420

  10. Natural killer cell activity during measles.

    PubMed Central

    Griffin, D E; Ward, B J; Jauregui, E; Johnson, R T; Vaisberg, A

    1990-01-01

    Natural killer cells are postulated to play an important role in host anti-viral defences. We measured natural killer cell activity in 30 individuals with acute measles (73 +/- 21 lytic units (LU)/10(7) cells) and 16 individuals with other infectious diseases (149 +/- 95 LU) and found it reduced compared with values for adults (375 +/- 70 LU; P less than 0.001) or children (300 +/- 73 LU, P less than 0.01) without infection. Reduced natural killer cell activity was found in measles patients with (84 +/- 30 LU) and without (55 +/- 18 LU) complications and was present for at least 3 weeks after the onset of the rash. Activity was increased by in vitro exposure of cells to interleukin-2. Depressed natural killer cell activity parallels in time the suppression of other parameters of cell-mediated immunity that occurs during measles. PMID:1696863

  11. Bowhead whale, balaena mysticetus bibliography. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Setzler-Hamilton, E.M.; Oliver, G.W.

    1987-01-01

    This report categorizes the research literature on bowhead whales according to major research topics, issues of concern to Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas development, and geographic areas. The report has an extensive cross index.

  12. Juvenile morphology in baleen whale phylogeny

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Fordyce, R. Ewan

    2014-09-01

    Phylogenetic reconstructions are sensitive to the influence of ontogeny on morphology. Here, we use foetal/neonatal specimens of known species of living baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti) to show how juvenile morphology of extant species affects phylogenetic placement of the species. In one clade (sei whale, Balaenopteridae), the juvenile is distant from the usual phylogenetic position of adults, but in the other clade (pygmy right whale, Cetotheriidae), the juvenile is close to the adult. Different heterochronic processes at work in the studied species have different influences on juvenile morphology and on phylogenetic placement. This study helps to understand the relationship between evolutionary processes and phylogenetic patterns in baleen whale evolution and, more in general, between phylogeny and ontogeny; likewise, this study provides a proxy how to interpret the phylogeny when fossils that are immature individuals are included. Juvenile individuals in the peramorphic acceleration clades would produce misleading phylogenies, whereas juvenile individuals in the paedomorphic neoteny clades should still provide reliable phylogenetic signals.

  13. 19 CFR 12.30 - Whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-04-01

    ...)), or of any regulation issued under the Act (50 CFR part 351) is unlawful. Customs officers and... OF MERCHANDISE Wild Animals, Birds, and Insects § 12.30 Whaling. The importation and exportation...

  14. 19 CFR 12.30 - Whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-04-01

    ...)), or of any regulation issued under the Act (50 CFR part 351) is unlawful. Customs officers and... OF MERCHANDISE Wild Animals, Birds, and Insects § 12.30 Whaling. The importation and exportation...

  15. 19 CFR 12.30 - Whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-04-01

    ...)), or of any regulation issued under the Act (50 CFR part 351) is unlawful. Customs officers and... OF MERCHANDISE Wild Animals, Birds, and Insects § 12.30 Whaling. The importation and exportation...

  16. 19 CFR 12.30 - Whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-04-01

    ...)), or of any regulation issued under the Act (50 CFR part 351) is unlawful. Customs officers and... OF MERCHANDISE Wild Animals, Birds, and Insects § 12.30 Whaling. The importation and exportation...

  17. 19 CFR 12.30 - Whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-04-01

    ...)), or of any regulation issued under the Act (50 CFR part 351) is unlawful. Customs officers and... OF MERCHANDISE Wild Animals, Birds, and Insects § 12.30 Whaling. The importation and exportation...

  18. Juvenile morphology in baleen whale phylogeny

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Fordyce, R. Ewan

    2014-08-01

    Phylogenetic reconstructions are sensitive to the influence of ontogeny on morphology. Here, we use foetal/neonatal specimens of known species of living baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti) to show how juvenile morphology of extant species affects phylogenetic placement of the species. In one clade (sei whale, Balaenopteridae), the juvenile is distant from the usual phylogenetic position of adults, but in the other clade (pygmy right whale, Cetotheriidae), the juvenile is close to the adult. Different heterochronic processes at work in the studied species have different influences on juvenile morphology and on phylogenetic placement. This study helps to understand the relationship between evolutionary processes and phylogenetic patterns in baleen whale evolution and, more in general, between phylogeny and ontogeny; likewise, this study provides a proxy how to interpret the phylogeny when fossils that are immature individuals are included. Juvenile individuals in the peramorphic acceleration clades would produce misleading phylogenies, whereas juvenile individuals in the paedomorphic neoteny clades should still provide reliable phylogenetic signals.

  19. Potential Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) calls recorded in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Rice, Aaron N; Palmer, K J; Tielens, Jamey T; Muirhead, Charles A; Clark, Christopher W

    2014-05-01

    Several marine autonomous recording units (MARUs) were deployed in northeastern Gulf of Mexico from 2010–2012 to study the acoustic ecology of Bryde's whales (Balaenoptera edeni) following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. However, the acoustic repertoire of this sub-population is poorly documented, presently limiting the efficacy of acoustic monitoring applications. Numerous stereotyped, low-frequency signals from a putative biological sound source were found throughout the recordings. Sounds fell into three categories distinguished by spectral and temporal properties. Multiple calls overlapped temporally on individual MARUs, suggesting that multiple sources produced these sounds. The basic features are similar to those from other mysticetes, but they differ from any previously published sounds. Since Bryde's whales are the most common mysticete in the Gulf and have previously been observed within the recording area on multiple occasions, it is likely that Bryde's whales are the most probable source of these sounds. These results potentially identify a suite of previously undocumented calls from Bryde's whales, which could facilitate future passive acoustic monitoring efforts to better understand the population dynamics and status of this sub-population. PMID:24926502

  20. Movement Patterns of Juvenile Whale Sharks Tagged at an Aggregation Site in the Red Sea

    PubMed Central

    Berumen, Michael L.; Braun, Camrin D.; Cochran, Jesse E. M.; Skomal, Gregory B.; Thorrold, Simon R.

    2014-01-01

    Conservation efforts aimed at the whale shark, Rhincodon typus, remain limited by a lack of basic information on most aspects of its ecology, including global population structure, population sizes and movement patterns. Here we report on the movements of 47 Red Sea whale sharks fitted with three types of satellite transmitting tags from 2009–2011. Most of these sharks were tagged at a single aggregation site near Al-Lith, on the central coast of the Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Individuals encountered at this site were all juveniles based on size estimates ranging from 2.5–7 m total length with a sex ratio of approximately 1∶1. All other known aggregation sites for juvenile whale sharks are dominated by males. Results from tagging efforts showed that most individuals remained in the southern Red Sea and that some sharks returned to the same location in subsequent years. Diving data were recorded by 37 tags, revealing frequent deep dives to at least 500 m and as deep as 1360 m. The unique temperature-depth profiles of the Red Sea confirmed that several whale sharks moved out of the Red Sea while tagged. The wide-ranging horizontal movements of these individuals highlight the need for multinational, cooperative efforts to conserve R. typus populations in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. PMID:25076407

  1. Isotopic Evidence of a Wide Spectrum of Feeding Strategies in Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whale Baleen Records.

    PubMed

    Eisenmann, Pascale; Fry, Brian; Holyoake, Carly; Coughran, Douglas; Nicol, Steve; Bengtson Nash, Susan

    2016-01-01

    Our current understanding of Southern hemisphere humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) ecology assumes high-fidelity feeding on Antarctic krill in Antarctic waters during summer, followed by fasting during their annual migration to and from equatorial breeding grounds. An increase in the number of reported departures from this feeding/fasting model suggests that the current model may be oversimplified or, alternatively, undergoing contemporary change. Information about the feeding and fasting cycles of the two Australian breeding populations of humpback whales were obtained through stable isotope analysis of baleen plates from stranded adult individuals. Comparison of isotope profiles showed that individuals from the West Australian breeding population strongly adhered to the classical feeding model. By contrast, East Australian population individuals demonstrated greater heterogeneity in their feeding. On a spectrum from exclusive Antarctic feeding to exclusive feeding in temperate waters, three different strategies were assigned and discussed: classical feeders, supplemental feeders, and temperate zone feeders. Diversity in the inter-annual feeding strategies of humpback whales demonstrates the feeding plasticity of the species, but could also be indicative of changing dynamics within the Antarctic sea-ice ecosystem. This study presents the first investigation of trophodynamics in Southern hemisphere humpback whales derived from baleen plates, and further provides the first estimates of baleen plate elongation rates in the species. PMID:27244081

  2. Movement patterns of juvenile whale sharks tagged at an aggregation site in the Red Sea.

    PubMed

    Berumen, Michael L; Braun, Camrin D; Cochran, Jesse E M; Skomal, Gregory B; Thorrold, Simon R

    2014-01-01

    Conservation efforts aimed at the whale shark, Rhincodon typus, remain limited by a lack of basic information on most aspects of its ecology, including global population structure, population sizes and movement patterns. Here we report on the movements of 47 Red Sea whale sharks fitted with three types of satellite transmitting tags from 2009-2011. Most of these sharks were tagged at a single aggregation site near Al-Lith, on the central coast of the Saudi Arabian Red Sea. Individuals encountered at this site were all juveniles based on size estimates ranging from 2.5-7 m total length with a sex ratio of approximately 1∶1. All other known aggregation sites for juvenile whale sharks are dominated by males. Results from tagging efforts showed that most individuals remained in the southern Red Sea and that some sharks returned to the same location in subsequent years. Diving data were recorded by 37 tags, revealing frequent deep dives to at least 500 m and as deep as 1360 m. The unique temperature-depth profiles of the Red Sea confirmed that several whale sharks moved out of the Red Sea while tagged. The wide-ranging horizontal movements of these individuals highlight the need for multinational, cooperative efforts to conserve R. typus populations in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. PMID:25076407

  3. Isotopic Evidence of a Wide Spectrum of Feeding Strategies in Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whale Baleen Records

    PubMed Central

    Holyoake, Carly; Coughran, Douglas; Nicol, Steve

    2016-01-01

    Our current understanding of Southern hemisphere humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) ecology assumes high-fidelity feeding on Antarctic krill in Antarctic waters during summer, followed by fasting during their annual migration to and from equatorial breeding grounds. An increase in the number of reported departures from this feeding/fasting model suggests that the current model may be oversimplified or, alternatively, undergoing contemporary change. Information about the feeding and fasting cycles of the two Australian breeding populations of humpback whales were obtained through stable isotope analysis of baleen plates from stranded adult individuals. Comparison of isotope profiles showed that individuals from the West Australian breeding population strongly adhered to the classical feeding model. By contrast, East Australian population individuals demonstrated greater heterogeneity in their feeding. On a spectrum from exclusive Antarctic feeding to exclusive feeding in temperate waters, three different strategies were assigned and discussed: classical feeders, supplemental feeders, and temperate zone feeders. Diversity in the inter-annual feeding strategies of humpback whales demonstrates the feeding plasticity of the species, but could also be indicative of changing dynamics within the Antarctic sea-ice ecosystem. This study presents the first investigation of trophodynamics in Southern hemisphere humpback whales derived from baleen plates, and further provides the first estimates of baleen plate elongation rates in the species. PMID:27244081

  4. Pollen Killer Gene S35 Function Requires Interaction with an Activator That Maps Close to S24, Another Pollen Killer Gene in Rice

    PubMed Central

    Kubo, Takahiko; Yoshimura, Atsushi; Kurata, Nori

    2016-01-01

    Pollen killer genes disable noncarrier pollens, and are responsible for male sterility and segregation distortion in hybrid populations of distantly related plant species. The genetic networks and the molecular mechanisms underlying the pollen killer system remain largely unknown. Two pollen killer genes, S24 and S35, have been found in an intersubspecific cross of Oryza sativa ssp. indica and japonica. The effect of S24 is counteracted by an unlinked locus EFS. Additionally, S35 has been proposed to interact with S24 to induce pollen sterility. These genetic interactions are suggestive of a single S24-centric genetic pathway (EFS–S24–S35) for the pollen killer system. To examine this hypothetical genetic pathway, the S35 and the S24 regions were further characterized and genetically dissected in this study. Our results indicated that S35 causes pollen sterility independently of both the EFS and S24 genes, but is dependent on a novel gene close to the S24 locus, named incentive for killing pollen (INK). We confirmed the phenotypic effect of the INK gene separately from the S24 gene, and identified the INK locus within an interval of less than 0.6 Mb on rice chromosome 5. This study characterized the genetic effect of the two independent genetic pathways of INK–S35 and EFS–S24 in indica–japonica hybrid progeny. Our results provide clear evidence that hybrid male sterility in rice is caused by several pollen killer networks with multiple factors positively and negatively regulating pollen killer genes. PMID:27172610

  5. Pollen Killer Gene S35 Function Requires Interaction with an Activator That Maps Close to S24, Another Pollen Killer Gene in Rice.

    PubMed

    Kubo, Takahiko; Yoshimura, Atsushi; Kurata, Nori

    2016-01-01

    Pollen killer genes disable noncarrier pollens, and are responsible for male sterility and segregation distortion in hybrid populations of distantly related plant species. The genetic networks and the molecular mechanisms underlying the pollen killer system remain largely unknown. Two pollen killer genes, S24 and S35, have been found in an intersubspecific cross of Oryza sativa ssp. indica and japonica The effect of S24 is counteracted by an unlinked locus EFS Additionally, S35 has been proposed to interact with S24 to induce pollen sterility. These genetic interactions are suggestive of a single S24-centric genetic pathway (EFS-S24-S35) for the pollen killer system. To examine this hypothetical genetic pathway, the S35 and the S24 regions were further characterized and genetically dissected in this study. Our results indicated that S35 causes pollen sterility independently of both the EFS and S24 genes, but is dependent on a novel gene close to the S24 locus, named incentive for killing pollen (INK). We confirmed the phenotypic effect of the INK gene separately from the S24 gene, and identified the INK locus within an interval of less than 0.6 Mb on rice chromosome 5. This study characterized the genetic effect of the two independent genetic pathways of INK-S35 and EFS-S24 in indica-japonica hybrid progeny. Our results provide clear evidence that hybrid male sterility in rice is caused by several pollen killer networks with multiple factors positively and negatively regulating pollen killer genes. PMID:27172610

  6. Endo- and ectoparasites of large whales (Cetartiodactyla: Balaenopteridae, Physeteridae): Overcoming difficulties in obtaining appropriate samples by non- and minimally-invasive methods

    PubMed Central

    Hermosilla, Carlos; Silva, Liliana M.R.; Prieto, Rui; Kleinertz, Sonja; Taubert, Anja; Silva, Monica A.

    2015-01-01

    Baleen and sperm whales, belonging to the Order Cetartiodactyla, are the largest and heaviest existent mammals in the world, collectively known as large whales. Large whales have been subjected to a variety of conservation means, which could be better monitored and managed if physiological and pathophysiological information, such as pathogen infections, could already be gathered from free-swimming animals instead of carcasses. Parasitic diseases are increasingly recognized for their profound influences on individual, population, and even ecosystem health. Furthermore, a number of parasite species have gained importance as opportunistic neozoan infections in the marine environment. Nonetheless, traditional approaches to study parasitic diseases have been impractical for large whales, since there is no current routine method for the capture and handling of these large animals and there is presently no practical method to obtain blood samples remotely from free-ranging whales. Therefore, we here not only intend to review the endo- and ectoparasite fauna of large whales but also to provide new insights in current available methods for gathering parasitological data by using non- or minimally invasive sampling techniques. We focus on methods, which will allow detailed parasitological studies to gain a broader knowledge on parasitoses affecting wild, free-swimming large whale populations. PMID:26835249

  7. Endo- and ectoparasites of large whales (Cetartiodactyla: Balaenopteridae, Physeteridae): Overcoming difficulties in obtaining appropriate samples by non- and minimally-invasive methods.

    PubMed

    Hermosilla, Carlos; Silva, Liliana M R; Prieto, Rui; Kleinertz, Sonja; Taubert, Anja; Silva, Monica A

    2015-12-01

    Baleen and sperm whales, belonging to the Order Cetartiodactyla, are the largest and heaviest existent mammals in the world, collectively known as large whales. Large whales have been subjected to a variety of conservation means, which could be better monitored and managed if physiological and pathophysiological information, such as pathogen infections, could already be gathered from free-swimming animals instead of carcasses. Parasitic diseases are increasingly recognized for their profound influences on individual, population, and even ecosystem health. Furthermore, a number of parasite species have gained importance as opportunistic neozoan infections in the marine environment. Nonetheless, traditional approaches to study parasitic diseases have been impractical for large whales, since there is no current routine method for the capture and handling of these large animals and there is presently no practical method to obtain blood samples remotely from free-ranging whales. Therefore, we here not only intend to review the endo- and ectoparasite fauna of large whales but also to provide new insights in current available methods for gathering parasitological data by using non- or minimally invasive sampling techniques. We focus on methods, which will allow detailed parasitological studies to gain a broader knowledge on parasitoses affecting wild, free-swimming large whale populations. PMID:26835249

  8. Patterns of Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Humpback Whales at the Southern Limit of the Southeast Pacific Breeding Area

    PubMed Central

    Guidino, Chiara; Llapapasca, Miguel A.; Silva, Sebastian; Alcorta, Belen; Pacheco, Aldo S.

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the patterns of spatial and temporal distribution in threshold habitats of highly migratory and endangered species is important for understanding their habitat requirements and recovery trends. Herein, we present new data about the distribution of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in neritic waters off the northern coast of Peru: an area that constitutes a transitional path from cold, upwelling waters to warm equatorial waters where the breeding habitat is located. Data was collected during four consecutive austral winter/spring seasons from 2010 to 2013, using whale-watching boats as platforms for research. A total of 1048 whales distributed between 487 groups were sighted. The spatial distribution of humpbacks resembled the characteristic segregation of whale groups according to their size/age class and social context in breeding habitats; mother and calf pairs were present in very shallow waters close to the coast, while dyads, trios or more whales were widely distributed from shallow to moderate depths over the continental shelf break. Sea surface temperatures (range: 18.2–25.9°C) in coastal waters were slightly colder than those closer to the oceanic realm, likely due to the influence of cold upwelled waters from the Humboldt Current system. Our results provide new evidence of the southward extension of the breeding region of humpback whales in the Southeast Pacific. Integrating this information with the knowledge from the rest of the breeding region and foraging grounds would enhance our current understanding of population dynamics and recovery trends of this species. PMID:25391137

  9. Patterns of spatial and temporal distribution of humpback whales at the southern limit of the Southeast Pacific breeding area.

    PubMed

    Guidino, Chiara; Llapapasca, Miguel A; Silva, Sebastian; Alcorta, Belen; Pacheco, Aldo S

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the patterns of spatial and temporal distribution in threshold habitats of highly migratory and endangered species is important for understanding their habitat requirements and recovery trends. Herein, we present new data about the distribution of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in neritic waters off the northern coast of Peru: an area that constitutes a transitional path from cold, upwelling waters to warm equatorial waters where the breeding habitat is located. Data was collected during four consecutive austral winter/spring seasons from 2010 to 2013, using whale-watching boats as platforms for research. A total of 1048 whales distributed between 487 groups were sighted. The spatial distribution of humpbacks resembled the characteristic segregation of whale groups according to their size/age class and social context in breeding habitats; mother and calf pairs were present in very shallow waters close to the coast, while dyads, trios or more whales were widely distributed from shallow to moderate depths over the continental shelf break. Sea surface temperatures (range: 18.2-25.9°C) in coastal waters were slightly colder than those closer to the oceanic realm, likely due to the influence of cold upwelled waters from the Humboldt Current system. Our results provide new evidence of the southward extension of the breeding region of humpback whales in the Southeast Pacific. Integrating this information with the knowledge from the rest of the breeding region and foraging grounds would enhance our current understanding of population dynamics and recovery trends of this species. PMID:25391137

  10. Natural killer T cells: innate lymphocytes positioned as a bridge between acute and chronic inflammation?

    PubMed Central

    Fox, Lisa; Hegde, Subramanya

    2010-01-01

    Natural killer T cells are an innate population of T lymphocytes that recognize antigens derived from host lipids and glycolipids. In this review, we focus on how these unique T cells are positioned to influence both acute and chronic inflammatory processes through their early recruitment to sites of inflammation, interactions with myeloid antigen presenting cells, and recognition of lipids associated with inflammation. PMID:20850561

  11. A Novel Saccharomyces cerevisiae Killer Strain Secreting the X Factor Related to Killer Activity and Inhibition of S. cerevisiae K1, K2 and K28 Killer Toxins.

    PubMed

    Melvydas, Vytautas; Bružauskaitė, Ieva; Gedminienė, Genovaitė; Šiekštelė, Rimantas

    2016-09-01

    It was determined that Kx strains secrete an X factor which can inhibit all known Saccharomyces cerevisiae killer toxins (K1, K2, K28) and some toxins of other yeast species-the phenomenon not yet described in the scientific literature. It was shown that Kx type yeast strains posess a killer phenotype producing small but clear lysis zones not only on the sensitive strain α'1 but also on the lawn of S. cerevisiae K1, K2 and K28 type killer strains at temperatures between 20 and 30 °C. The pH at which killer/antikiller effect of Kx strain reaches its maximum is about 5.0-5.2. The Kx yeast were identified as to belong to S. cerevisiae species. Another newly identified S. cerevisiae killer strain N1 has killer activity but shows no antikilller properties against standard K1, K2 and K28 killer toxins. The genetic basis for Kx killer/antikiller phenotype was associated with the presence of M-dsRNA which is bigger than M-dsRNA of standard S. cerevisiae K1, K2, K28 type killer strains. Killer and antikiller features should be encoded by dsRNA. The phenomenon of antikiller (inhibition) properties was observed against some killer toxins of other yeast species. The molecular weight of newly identified killer toxins which produces Kx type strains might be about 45 kDa. PMID:27407298

  12. Immunotoxical evaluation of St. Lawrence beluga whales (Deiphinapterus leucas)

    SciTech Connect

    Guise, S. De; Fournier, M.; Martineau, D.; Beland, P.

    1995-12-31

    An isolated population of beluga whales live in the St. Lawrence estuary. From approximately 5,000 at the beginning of the century, they now number 500 and their number has not increased since the last 10 years. High concentrations of environmental contaminants including organohalogens (mostly PCBs and DDT), as well as heavy metals (mostly mercury and lead) and HAP exposure have been demonstrated in tissues of these animals. A high incidence of diverse and severe lesions including infections with mildly pathogenic bacteria and numerous tumors were found upon examination of carcasses from the same population. An immunotoxicological evaluation of St. Lawrence beluga whales compared to relatively unpolluted Arctic animals was undertaken to study the possibility of a contaminants induced immunosuppression which would explain the diversity and severity of those lesions. As a first step, several assays were developed to evaluate immune functions in beluga whales, and baseline data were established using Arctic animals. In vitro exposure of Arctic beluga lymphocytes to single contaminants present in St. Lawrence beluga blubber were also performed and showed a suppression of proliferation of lymphocytes with concentrations of mercury below those found in liver of adult St. Lawrence animals. Animal models were also developed to evaluate the immunotoxic potential of the mixture of contaminants found in blubber of St. Lawrence belugas. Rats were fed lipids from either St. Lawrence or Arctic belugas or a mixture of the two groups, and immune functions will be evaluated in these animals. Finally, the last step of the study will be to catch belugas in the St. Lawrence, evaluate their immune functions, compare them to those of Arctic animals and relate them to concentrations of the different contaminants measured in their blubber and plasma.

  13. Blue whales respond to anthropogenic noise.

    PubMed

    Melcón, Mariana L; Cummins, Amanda J; Kerosky, Sara M; Roche, Lauren K; Wiggins, Sean M; Hildebrand, John A

    2012-01-01

    Anthropogenic noise may significantly impact exposed marine mammals. This work studied the vocalization response of endangered blue whales to anthropogenic noise sources in the mid-frequency range using passive acoustic monitoring in the Southern California Bight. Blue whales were less likely to produce calls when mid-frequency active sonar was present. This reduction was more pronounced when the sonar source was closer to the animal, at higher sound levels. The animals were equally likely to stop calling at any time of day, showing no diel pattern in their sensitivity to sonar. Conversely, the likelihood of whales emitting calls increased when ship sounds were nearby. Whales did not show a differenti