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1.
Mol Ecol Resour. 2018 Mar;18(2):179-190. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12767. Epub 2018 Mar 3.

Genetic sex assignment in wild populations using genotyping-by-sequencing data: A statistical threshold approach.

Author information

1
Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
2
Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Abstract

Establishing the sex of individuals in wild systems can be challenging and often requires genetic testing. Genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) and other reduced-representation DNA sequencing (RRS) protocols (e.g., RADseq, ddRAD) have enabled the analysis of genetic data on an unprecedented scale. Here, we present a novel approach for the discovery and statistical validation of sex-specific loci in GBS data sets. We used GBS to genotype 166 New Zealand fur seals (NZFS, Arctocephalus forsteri) of known sex. We retained monomorphic loci as potential sex-specific markers in the locus discovery phase. We then used (i) a sex-specific locus threshold (SSLT) to identify significantly male-specific loci within our data set; and (ii) a significant sex-assignment threshold (SSAT) to confidently assign sex in silico the presence or absence of significantly male-specific loci to individuals in our data set treated as unknowns (98.9% accuracy for females; 95.8% for males, estimated via cross-validation). Furthermore, we assigned sex to 86 individuals of true unknown sex using our SSAT and assessed the effect of SSLT adjustments on these assignments. From 90 verified sex-specific loci, we developed a panel of three sex-specific PCR primers that we used to ascertain sex independently of our GBS data, which we show amplify reliably in at least two other pinniped species. Using monomorphic loci normally discarded from large SNP data sets is an effective way to identify robust sex-linked markers for nonmodel species. Our novel pipeline can be used to identify and statistically validate monomorphic and polymorphic sex-specific markers across a range of species and RRS data sets.

KEYWORDS:

Y chromosome; genotyping-by-sequencing; next-generation sequencing; reduced-representation sequencing; sex-specific markers

PMID:
29443461
DOI:
10.1111/1755-0998.12767
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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2.
Parasitol Res. 2018 Apr;117(4):1079-1086. doi: 10.1007/s00436-018-5784-z. Epub 2018 Feb 12.

Digeneans of northern fur seals Callorhinus ursinus (Pinnipedia: Otariidae) from five subpopulations on St. Paul Island, Alaska.

Author information

1
I. I. Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology NAS of Ukraine, B. Khmelnitsky Street, 15, Kyiv, 01030, Ukraine. taniak@izan.kiev.ua.
2
Department of Biology, University of North Dakota, 10 Cornell Street, Grand Forks, ND, 58202-9019, USA.
3
W. Stefanski Institute of Parasitology, Polish Academy of Sciences, 51/55 Twarda Street, 00-818, Warsaw, Poland.
4
Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, College of Veterinary, Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80526, USA.
5
Department of Veterinary Science, Gluck Equine Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 40546-0099, USA.
6
I. I. Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology NAS of Ukraine, B. Khmelnitsky Street, 15, Kyiv, 01030, Ukraine.
7
Water Research Group, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, Potchefstroom, 2520, South Africa.
8
Nature Research Centre, Institute of Ecology, Akademijos, 2, 08412, Vilnius, Lithuania.

Abstract

A parasitological survey of 651 northern fur seals Callorhinus ursinus L. from five subpopulations was conducted on St. Paul Island, Alaska, during July-August 2012-2014. Digenean trematodes were found in 210 of 651 fur seals with a total prevalence of 32.3%. Intensity of infection varied from 1 to 1540 parasites with mean intensity 18.4 ± 111.1 SD and median intensity of 2 specimens per host. Significant differences in prevalence and intensity of infection in northern fur seals between separate rookeries was not observed (Mann-Whitney test; p > 0.05). Four species of digeneans belonging to the families Heterophyidae (Apophallus zalophi Price, 1932, Phocitrema fusiforme Goto and Ozaki, 1930, and Galactosomum ubelakeri (Dailey, 1969)) and Troglotrematidae (Nanophyetus salmincola (Chapin, 1926)) were found. Nanophyetus salmincola is reported from C. ursinus for the first time. We obtained partial 28S rDNA sequences for all digenean species and conducted molecular phylogenetic analysis to demonstrate their phylogenetic relationships.

KEYWORDS:

28S rDNA sequences; Callorhinus ursinus; Heterophyidae; Molecular phylogeny; Nanophyetus; Trematoda

PMID:
29435720
DOI:
10.1007/s00436-018-5784-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Icon for Springer
3.
J Wildl Dis. 2018 Apr;54(2):380-385. doi: 10.7589/2017-09-214. Epub 2018 Jan 25.

Respiratory Mites ( Orthohalarachne diminuata) and β-hemolytic Streptococci-Associated Bronchopneumonia Outbreak in South American Fur Seal Pups ( Arctocephalus australis).

Author information

1
1 Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, D. W. Brooks Dr., Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.
2
2 Instituto de Patología Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Isla Teja s/n, Valdivia 509000, Chile.
3
3 Programa de Investigación Aplicada en Fauna Silvestre, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Isla Teja s/n, Valdivia 509000, Chile.
4
4 Facultad de Ciencias, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 340 Bernardo O'Higgins Ave., Santiago 8320000, Chile.

Abstract

Although mites of the Orthohalarachne genus are common parasites of otariids, their role as agents of disease and in causing population-level mortality is unknown. In the austral summer of 2016, there was an increase in mortality among South American fur seal ( Arctocephalus australis) pups at Guafo Island, Northern Chilean Patagonia. Pups found dead or terminally ill had moderate to marked, multifocal, mucopurulent bronchopneumonia associated with large numbers of respiratory mites ( Orthohalarachne diminuata) and rare Gram-positive cocci. In lung areas less affected by bronchopneumonia, acute interstitial pneumonia with marked congestion and scant hemorrhage was evident. Bacteria from pups dying of bronchopneumonia were isolated and identified as Streptococcus marimammalium and Streptococcus canis. Respiratory mites obstructed airflow, disrupted airway epithelial lining, and likely facilitated the proliferation of pathogenic β-hemolytic streptococci, leading to severe bronchopneumonia and death of fur seal pups. An abrupt increase in sea surface temperature in Guafo Island corresponded to the timing of the bronchopneumonia outbreak. The potential role of environmental factors in the fur seal pup mortality warrants further study.

KEYWORDS:

Arctocephalus australis; Guafo Island; Orthohalarachne; Streptococcus; bronchopneumonia; marine mammals

PMID:
29369727
DOI:
10.7589/2017-09-214
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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4.
Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2018 Jan 1;255:78-89. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2017.10.007. Epub 2017 Oct 16.

Pairing ultrasonography with endocrinology to elucidate underlying mechanisms of successful pregnancy in the northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus).

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3101 Science Circle, Anchorage, AK 99508-4614, USA. Electronic address: mrshero@alaska.edu.
2
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, Basseterre 00265, Saint Kitts and Nevis. Electronic address: DBergfelt@rossvet.edu.kn.
3
National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115-6349, USA. Electronic address: ward.testa@noaa.gov.
4
Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada. Electronic address: gregg.adams@usask.ca.

Abstract

Reproductive success is one of the central tenets of conservation management programs, yet the inability to study underlying physiological processes in a minimally-invasive manner and the unpredictable nature of wild animal populations leaves large gaps in our knowledge of factors critical to successful reproduction in wild species. This study integrated ultrasonography of the reproductive tract and analysis of reproductive hormones in 172 northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) to identify intrinsic factors associated with reinitiating embryonic growth at the end of diapause. Within the first 3-4 weeks of active gestation, pregnant fur seals (n = 126) had a larger corpus luteum and fewer antral follicles than non-pregnant fur seals, or those still in diapause (n = 46). This suggests that the conceptus drives changes in ovarian status to convey its presence to the female. Morphological changes in the reproductive tract associated with pregnancy were not reflected in differences in endocrine profiles (estradiol, estrone, progesterone, and relaxin) between pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. Hormone concentrations correlated more strongly with calendar date than with the presence or size of the conceptus, demonstrating that none of these reproductive hormones were reliable markers for early pregnancy diagnosis. Instead, the northern fur seal's long diestrus may serve to reduce the probability of a temporal mismatch between corpus luteum regression and embryo implantation. Indeed, conception rates were high and confirmed rates of pregnancy loss were relatively low (11%). In this study, minimally-invasive ultrasonography was used in wild pinnipeds to detect very early pregnancy (embryonic vesicles >2 mm) in combination with ovarian and endocrine dynamics at the time of embryo implantation, shedding light on mechanisms for maternal recognition of pregnancy. This study is also the first to track whether these same animals carried the embryo to term, by observing fur seals during the birthing season the following year. Data do not support the notion that decreased pregnancy rates or higher pregnancy loss rates are major contributing factors to the northern fur seal's population decline.

KEYWORDS:

Diapause; Embryo; Pinniped; Pregnancy; Reproduction; Ultrasonography

PMID:
29051074
DOI:
10.1016/j.ygcen.2017.10.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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5.
PLoS One. 2017 Oct 5;12(10):e0183809. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183809. eCollection 2017.

From mammals back to birds: Host-switch of the acanthocephalan Corynosoma australe from pinnipeds to the Magellanic penguin Spheniscus magellanicus.

Author information

1
Centro de Investigación Aplicada y Transferencia Tecnológica en Recursos Marinos Almirante Storni (CIMAS-CCT CONICET-CENPAT) y Escuela Superior de Ciencias Marinas (ESCiMar), Universidad Nacional del Comahue, San Antonio Oeste, Río Negro, Argentina.
2
Departamento de Parasitologia Animal, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Seropédica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
3
Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice, Czech Republic.
4
Instituto Cavanilles de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva, Parque Científico, Universidad de Valencia, Paterna, Valencia, Spain.
5
Centro para el Estudio de Sistemas Marinos CESIMAR, CENPAT-CONICET, Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina.
6
Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco UNPSJB, Sede Puerto Madryn, Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina.

Abstract

Trophically-transmitted parasites are regularly exposed to potential new hosts through food web interactions. Successful colonization, or switching, to novel hosts, occur readily when 'donor' and 'target' hosts are phylogenetically related, whereas switching between distantly related hosts is rare and may result from stochastic factors (i.e. rare favourable mutations). This study investigates a host-switching event between a marine acanthocephalan specific to pinnipeds that is apparently able to reproduce in Magellanic penguins Spheniscus magellanicus from Brazil. Detailed analysis of morphological and morphometrical data from acanthocephalans from penguins indicates that they belong to Corynosoma australe Johnston, 1937. Partial fragments of the 28S rRNA and mitochondrial cox1 genes were amplified from isolates from penguins and two pinniped species (i.e. South American sea lion Otaria flavescens and South American fur seal Arctocephalus australis) to confirm this identification. Infection parameters clearly differ between penguins and the two pinniped species, which were significantly lower in S. magellanicus. The sex ratio of C. australe also differed between penguins and pinnipeds; in S. magellanicus was strongly biased against males, while in pinnipeds it was close to 1:1. Females of C. australe from O. flavescens were smaller than those from S. magellanicus and A. australis. However, fecundity (i.e. the proportion of fully developed eggs) was lower and more variable in females collected from S. magellanicus. At first glance, the occurrence of reproductive individuals of C. australe in Magellanic penguins could be interpreted as an adaptive colonization of a novel avian host through favourable mutations. However, it could also be considered, perhaps more likely, as an example of ecological fitting through the use of a plesimorphic (host) resource, since the ancestors of Corynosoma infected aquatic birds.

PMID:
28981550
PMCID:
PMC5628790
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0183809
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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6.
Zoo Biol. 2017 Sep;36(5):345-350. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21376. Epub 2017 Sep 14.

Normal hematology and serum chemistry of northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) in captivity.

Author information

1
Izu Mito Sea Paradise, Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan.
2
Cooperative Department of Veterinary Medicine, Gifu University, Gifu, Japan.
3
The United Graduate School of Veterinary Sciences, Gifu University, Gifu, Japan.
4
Education and Research Center for Food Animal Health, Gifu University (GeFAH), Gifu, Japan.

Abstract

Northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) are endemic to the North Pacific Ocean. They were hunted for their fur and became endangered in the late 1800s, but their populations recovered following the introduction of protection laws. Recently, populations have been decreasing again, although the reasons are unclear. For individuals that are bred and reared in captivity as part of ex situ conservation projects, details of blood characteristics are essential to ensure good health. However, the normal ranges of hematology and serum chemistry of captive northern fur seals have not been defined. This study determined the normal ranges of hematology and serum chemistry of captive fur seals. Blood samples were collected every month for 2 years from four captive northern fur seals in Japan (three born in an aquarium and one kept in the same aquarium following rescue). Fifteen blood characteristics and 29 serum chemistry properties were compared with those previously reported for wild northern fur seals in the USA. Several parameters were not within the normal ranges reported previously in wild northern fur seals. In particular, levels of alkaline phosphatase was outside of the normal ranges previously reported. The hematological and serum chemistry ranges in this study can help provide a guideline for understanding the health of northern fur seals in captivity.

KEYWORDS:

blood characteristics; captivity; hematology; northern fur seal; serum chemistry

PMID:
28906018
DOI:
10.1002/zoo.21376
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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7.
Sci Total Environ. 2018 Jan 1;610-611:1310-1320. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.08.204. Epub 2017 Aug 30.

Utility of fur as a biomarker for persistent organic pollutants in Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus).

Author information

1
Sydney School of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia.
2
Melbourne Zoo, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.
3
Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
4
Australian Ultra Trace Laboratory, National Measurement Institute, North Ryde, NSW 2113, Australia.
5
Sydney School of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia. Electronic address: rachael.gray@sydney.edu.au.

Abstract

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) can cause toxic effects in many species which include endocrine dysfunction, immunotoxicity, developmental defects and neoplasia. Species dominating the upper trophic level are vulnerable to these effects due to bioaccumulation. In Bass Strait, the Australian fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) is an important top order predator and sentinel species for ecosystem health. An alopecia syndrome is seen at high prevalence in juvenile, female Australian fur seals at Lady Julia Percy Island, Victoria, Australia. Previous investigations suggest causality could be due to an endocrine-like toxicant. The alopecia syndrome has significance for thermoregulation and is a likely risk factor for mortality. Fur collected from case (alopecic) and control (unaffected) seals sampled at Lady Julia Percy Island were analysed for POPs. To investigate the utility of fur for monitoring POPs concentrations in pinnipeds, a comparison of POPs concentrations in the fur and blubber of Australian fur seals stranded along the Victorian coast was undertaken. The concentration of selected POPs including polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (dl-PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluorooctane sulfonate/perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOS/PFOA) were determined in fur using either High Resolution Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry or Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. Results indicate detectable, and in some individuals, elevated levels of dl-PCBs, PCDD/Fs and PBDEs in juvenile fur seals sampled on Lady Julia Percy Island, with significantly higher levels of dl-PCBs in case compared to control seals. Elevated levels of dl-PCBs and PCDD/Fs were found in blubber samples collected from stranded fur seals with significant correlations between blubber and fur concentrations seen, particularly for dl-PCBs. This study discusses the significance of POPs concentrations in relation to the causality of an alopecia syndrome in the Australian fur seal, and assesses the utility of fur as a non-invasive biomarker to monitor POPs exposure in this sentinel species.

KEYWORDS:

Alopecia; Bioaccumulation; Disease; Endocrine; Persistent organic pollutants; Pinniped

PMID:
28851151
DOI:
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.08.204
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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8.
J Vet Med Sci. 2017 Oct 7;79(10):1664-1666. doi: 10.1292/jvms.16-0642. Epub 2017 Aug 27.

Discovery of fur seal feces-associated circular DNA virus in swine feces in Japan.

Author information

1
Research and Education Center for Prevention of Global Infectious Diseases of Animals, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, 3-5-8 Saiwai-cho, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo 183-8509, Japan.
2
The United Graduate School of Veterinary Sciences, Gifu University, 1-1 Yanagito, Gifu-shi, Gifu 501-1193, Japan.
3
Center for Infection and Immunity, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, U.S.A.
4
Laboratory of Epizootiology, Department of Veterinary Medicine Faculty and Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Saiwai-cho, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo 183-8509, Japan.

Abstract

Fur seal feces-associated circular ssDNA virus (FSfaCV) was discovered in a pig for the first time in Japan using a next-generation sequencer with duplex-specific nuclease. Full genome of the virus showed approximately 92% similarity to FSfaCVs from New Zealand fur seals. Furthermore, we investigated the prevalence of the ssDNA virus in 85 piglets in Japan, and 65 piglets were positive (76%) for the virus.

KEYWORDS:

duplex-specific nuclease; fur seal feces-associated circular ssDNA virus; next-generation sequencer; pig; ssDNA

PMID:
28845022
PMCID:
PMC5658556
DOI:
10.1292/jvms.16-0642
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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9.
PLoS One. 2017 Aug 10;12(8):e0182725. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182725. eCollection 2017.

The commercial harvest of ice-associated seals in the Sea of Okhotsk, 1972-1994.

Author information

1
Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.
2
Marine Mammal Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.
3
Laboratory of coastal resources, Magadan Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (MagadanNIRO), Magadan, Russia.
4
Laboratory of marine mammals, Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO), Moscow, Russia.
5
Kamchatka Branch of the Pacific Geographical Institute Far East Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia.

Abstract

Sealing log books from 75 out of 79 commercial harvest cruises carried out between 1972 and 1994 in the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia, were analyzed to describe spatial and temporal allocation of ice-associated seal harvest effort, species composition of catches, total harvest rates, and related parameters for species including ringed (Pusa hispida), ribbon (Histriophoca fasciata), bearded (Erignathus barbatus) and spotted (Phoca largha) seal. Variations in catch per unit effort were explored in relation to year, sea ice conditions, day of the year, and geographic location. In most years, the harvest was predominantly represented by ringed seals (mean = 0.43, range 0.25-0.67), followed by ribbon (mean = 0.31, range 0.15-0.43), spotted (mean = 0.19, range 0.11-0.35) and bearded seals (mean = 0.07, range 0.03-0.14). The struck-and-lost percentages were as high as 30-35% for ringed, bearded and spotted seals and 15-20% for ribbon seals. Catch per unit effort (number of seals/skiff*day) for ringed, ribbon, and spotted seals had a similar seasonal pattern with a distinct spike in catches for spotted seals in the first week of May, for ribbon seals in the last week of May, and for ringed seals in the second week of June. Catches of bearded seals showed a less pronounced temporal structure with a gradual increase toward the end of the harvest season in the majority of years. Spatial distribution of harvest effort followed closely with seal distribution obtained from aerial surveys. These data could be used as a source of information on seal herd location throughout the breeding and molting seasons and for more complex demographic or life-table models. We did not find any evidence of the decline of catch per unit effort over the study period. Timely introduction of state regulations and efficient harvest management apparently prevented severe depletion of ice-associated seal populations in the Sea of Okhotsk during the periods of their intense exploitation.

PMID:
28796843
PMCID:
PMC5552157
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0182725
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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10.
Mar Pollut Bull. 2017 Sep 15;122(1-2):420-425. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.07.013. Epub 2017 Jul 8.

Marine debris ingestion by the South American Fur Seal from the Southwest Atlantic Ocean.

Author information

1
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (UNMdP) - Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Dean Funes 3350, Mar del Plata 7600, Argentina; Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Funes 3350, Mar del Plata B7602AYL, Argentina. Electronic address: pdenunci@mdp.edu.ar.
2
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (UNMdP) - Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Dean Funes 3350, Mar del Plata 7600, Argentina; Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Funes 3350, Mar del Plata B7602AYL, Argentina.
3
Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Funes 3350, Mar del Plata B7602AYL, Argentina.
4
Grupo de Estudos de Mamíferos Aquáticos do Rio Grande do Sul, Rua Machado de Assis, 1456, Osório, RS 95520-000, Brazil; Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia Animal, Av. Bento Gonçalves n° 9500, Bloco IV, Prédio 43435, Porto Alegre, RS 91501-970, Brazil; Grupo de Tecnologia e Ciência Pesqueira, Departamento de Engenharia de Pesca, Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina (UDESC), Rua Cel. Fernandes Martins n° 270, Laguna, SC 88790-000, Brazil.
5
Grupo de Estudos de Mamíferos Aquáticos do Rio Grande do Sul, Rua Machado de Assis, 1456, Osório, RS 95520-000, Brazil; Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação de Organismos e Ambientes Aquáticos, Universidade Estadual do Rio Grande do Sul, Unidade do Litoral Norte, Rua Machado de Assis, 1456, Osório, RS 95520-000, Brazil.
6
Grupo de Estudos de Mamíferos Aquáticos do Rio Grande do Sul, Rua Machado de Assis, 1456, Osório, RS 95520-000, Brazil; Laboratório de Ecologia de Mamíferos, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, sala E04237, São Leopoldo, RS 93022-000, Brazil.

Abstract

In this paper, we examined the ingestion of marine debris (MD) in South American fur seals (SAFS), Arctocephalus australis, found dead in coastal beaches of northern Argentina and southern Brazil. Seven percent of 133 SAFS analyzed presented marine debris in their stomach (n=10), with no differences between sampling countries (Brazil n=7, Argentina n=3) and sexes (female=3; male=6). However, significant differences were observed between ages classes, with MD exclusively present in stomach contents of young specimens. Plastics represents 90% of MD ingested by the SAFS, whereas regarding the source, fishery-related items (e.g. monofilament lines) were the main MD (70%), with a lesser proportion of packaging (e.g. pieces of bags). Low numbers but large size pieces of MD were found in each stomach affected. Negative effects on the individuals could not be fully evaluated. Therefore, the potential impacts of the marine debris to the SAFS deserve further elucidation.

KEYWORDS:

Arctocephalus australis; Marine pollution; Monofilament lines; Plastic bags; South America

PMID:
28693811
DOI:
10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.07.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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11.
Zoo Biol. 2017 May;36(3):237-242. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21365. Epub 2017 May 23.

An investigation of the impact of Melbourne Zoo's "Seal-the-Loop" donate call-to-action on visitor satisfaction and behavior.

Author information

1
Conservation Psychology and Applied Animal Behavior Center, School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
2
Research, Wildlife Conservation and Science, Zoos Victoria, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

Modern zoos are uniquely positioned to educate the public about environmental issues and promote conservation action. This report investigates the introduction of a donation request during an interactive fur seal presentation (as part of Melbourne Zoo's "Seal-the-Loop" initiative) on visitor satisfaction, perceptions of donation as a way to help wild fur seals, and donation behaviors. Comparisons are made between three groups surveyed upon exit: (1) viewed the interactive fur seal presentation prior to the donation request implementation (pledge-presentation: N = 86; see Mellish, Pearson, Sanders, and Litchfield []; International Zoo Yearbook 129:129-154); (2) viewed the interactive fur seal presentation including the donation request (donate-presentation: N = 82); and (3) viewed the fur seal exhibit and donation point but not the presentation and were not directly asked to make a donation (donate-exhibit: N = 82). Findings demonstrate visitor satisfaction with the interactive fur seal presentation was not negatively impacted following the implementation of the donate request (with >92% of pledge-presentation and donate-presentation visitors providing a "satisfied" or "very satisfied" rating). Only the donate-presentation visitors reported donation as a conservation action to help wild fur seals (19.18%; 0% for pledge-presentation visitors). While both donate-exhibit (39.51%) and donate-presentation visitors (60.75%) self-reported making donations or intending to do so, donation behavior was significantly increased for visitors who had viewed the fur seal presentation. Findings provide preliminary support that zoos may utilize interactive educational presentations to effectively ask visitors for donations to support specific conservation projects, without negatively impacting on satisfaction and with a relatively high level of visitor engagement.

KEYWORDS:

conservation; donate; marine debris; marine wildlife entanglement; zoo

PMID:
28543832
DOI:
10.1002/zoo.21365
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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12.
Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2017 Jun;44:144-151. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2017.04.009. Epub 2017 May 12.

Sleep in the northern fur seal.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and Brain Research Institute, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States; Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, RAS, Moscow, Russia; Utrish Dolphinarium Ltd., Moscow, Russia.
2
Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, RAS, Moscow, Russia; Utrish Dolphinarium Ltd., Moscow, Russia.
3
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and Brain Research Institute, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States; Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, RAS, Moscow, Russia. Electronic address: jsiegel@ucla.edu.

Abstract

The pattern of sleep in the fur seal, a semiaquatic pinniped, has several striking behavioral and physiological adaptations that allow this species to inhabit both the land and water environment. These features include unihemispheric slow wave sleep (USWS, also being unihemispheric waking), the ability to maintain movement for stabilization of the sleep posture and to briefly open one eye while having a sleep electroencephalogram (EEG) in one hemisphere. In vivo microdialysis studies suggest that acetylcholine release is required for cortical activation during USWS, and that monoamines are not required for USWS. The need to breathe, to maintain efficient thermoregulation, and to avoid predation have shaped the sleep patterns in semiaquatic fur seals as in fully aquatic cetaceans.

PMID:
28505502
PMCID:
PMC5609733
DOI:
10.1016/j.conb.2017.04.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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13.
PLoS One. 2017 Apr 28;12(4):e0174001. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174001. eCollection 2017.

Reproductive success is energetically linked to foraging efficiency in Antarctic fur seals.

Author information

1
Marine Mammal Research Unit, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
2
Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, CNRS, Villiers en Bois, France.
3
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC, Australia.

Abstract

The efficiency with which individuals extract energy from their environment defines their survival and reproductive success, and thus their selective contribution to the population. Individuals that forage more efficiently (i.e., when energy gained exceeds energy expended) are likely to be more successful at raising viable offspring than individuals that forage less efficiently. Our goal was to test this prediction in large long-lived mammals under free-ranging conditions. To do so, we equipped 20 lactating Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) breeding on Kerguelen Island in the Southern Ocean with tags that recorded GPS locations, depth and tri-axial acceleration to determine at-sea behaviours and detailed time-activity budgets during their foraging trips. We also simultaneously measured energy spent at sea using the doubly-labeled water (DLW) method, and estimated the energy acquired while foraging from 1) type and energy content of prey species present in scat remains, and 2) numbers of prey capture attempts determined from head acceleration. Finally, we followed the growth of 36 pups from birth until weaning (of which 20 were the offspring of our 20 tracked mothers), and used the relative differences in body mass of pups at weaning as an index of first year survival and thus the reproductive success of their mothers. Our results show that females with greater foraging efficiencies produced relatively bigger pups at weaning. These mothers achieved greater foraging efficiency by extracting more energy per minute of diving rather than by reducing energy expenditure. This strategy also resulted in the females spending less time diving and less time overall at sea, which allowed them to deliver higher quality milk to their pups, or allowed their pups to suckle more frequently, or both. The linkage we demonstrate between reproductive success and the quality of individuals as foragers provides an individual-based quantitative framework to investigate how changes in the availability and accessibility of prey can affect fitness of animals.

PMID:
28453563
PMCID:
PMC5409505
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0174001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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14.
PLoS One. 2017 Mar 29;12(3):e0173797. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0173797. eCollection 2017.

Breeding success of a marine central place forager in the context of climate change: A modeling approach.

Author information

1
Université Côte d'Azur, Nice, France.
2
Université Côte d'Azur, INRA, CNRS, ISA, Valbonne-Sophia Antipolis, France.
3
Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, CNRS, Villiers en Bois, France.

Abstract

In response to climate warming, a southward shift in productive frontal systems serving as the main foraging sites for many top predator species is likely to occur in Subantarctic areas. Central place foragers, such as seabirds and pinnipeds, are thus likely to cope with an increase in the distance between foraging locations and their land-based breeding colonies. Understanding how central place foragers should modify their foraging behavior in response to changes in prey accessibility appears crucial. A spatially explicit individual-based simulation model (Marine Central Place Forager Simulator (MarCPFS)), including bio-energetic components, was built to evaluate effects of possible changes in prey resources accessibility on individual performances and breeding success. The study was calibrated on a particular example: the Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella), which alternates between oceanic areas in which females feed and the land-based colony in which they suckle their young over a 120 days rearing period. Our model shows the importance of the distance covered to feed and prey aggregation which appeared to be key factors to which animals are highly sensitive. Memorization and learning abilities also appear to be essential breeding success traits. Females were found to be most successful for intermediate levels of prey aggregation and short distance to the resource, resulting in optimal female body length. Increased distance to resources due to climate warming should hinder pups' growth and survival while female body length should increase.

PMID:
28355282
PMCID:
PMC5371308
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0173797
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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15.
J Anim Ecol. 2017 Jul;86(4):766-780. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12666. Epub 2017 May 3.

Isotopic niche partitioning between two apex predators over time.

Author information

1
Departamento de Ecología & Evolución, Centro Universitario Regional Este (CURE), Universidad de la República, Tacuarembó s/n, 20000, Maldonado, Uruguay.
2
IRBio y Departamento de Biología Evolutiva, Ecología y Ciencias Ambientales, Universidad de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 643, 08028, Barcelona, España.
3
Departamento de Ecología & Evolución, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Iguá 4225, 11400, Montevideo, Uruguay.
4
Laboratorio de Mamíferos Marinos, Centro para el Estudio de Sistemas Marinos (CESIMAR - CCT CONICET-CENPAT), Blvd. Brown 2915, U9120ACD, Puerto Madryn, Argentina.
5
Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia, Blvd. Brown 3600, U9120ACD, Puerto Madryn, Argentina.
6
Investigaciones Arqueológicas y Paleontológicas del Cuaternario Pampeano (INCUAPA-CONICET), Universidad Nacional del Centro, Av. Del Valle 5737, B7400JWI, Olavarría, Argentina.
7
Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, 25 de Mayo 582, 11000, Montevideo, Uruguay.

Abstract

Stable isotope analyses have become an important tool in reconstructing diets, analysing resource use patterns, elucidating trophic relations among predators and understanding the structure of food webs. Here, we use stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in bone collagen to reconstruct and compare the isotopic niches of adult South American fur seals (Arctocephalus australis; n = 86) and sea lions (Otaria flavescens; n = 49) - two otariid species with marked morphological differences - in the Río de la Plata estuary (Argentina - Uruguay) and the adjacent Atlantic Ocean during the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. Samples from the middle Holocene (n = 7 fur seals and n = 5 sea lions) are also included in order to provide a reference point for characterizing resource partitioning before major anthropogenic modifications of the environment. We found that the South American fur seals and South American sea lions had distinct isotopic niches during the middle Holocene. Isotopic niche segregation was similar at the beginning of the second half of the 20th century, but has diminished over time. The progressive convergence of the isotopic niches of these two otariids during the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century is most likely due to the increased reliance of South American fur seals on demersal prey. This recent dietary change in South American fur seals can be explained by at least two non-mutually exclusive mechanisms: (i) the decrease in the abundance of sympatric South American sea lions as a consequence of small colony size and high pup mortality resulting from commercial sealing; and (ii) the decrease in the average size of demersal fishes due to intense fishing of the larger class sizes, which may have increased their accessibility to those eared seals with a smaller mouth gape, that is, South American fur seals of both sexes and female South American sea lions.

KEYWORDS:

marine mammals; pinnipeds; stable isotopes; standard ellipse area; trophic ecology

PMID:
28326539
DOI:
10.1111/1365-2656.12666
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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16.
Yakugaku Zasshi. 2017;137(3):257-263. doi: 10.1248/yakushi.16-00230-2.

Characterization of Species Differences in Xenobiotic Metabolism in Non-experimental Animals.

[Article in Japanese]

Author information

1
Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University.

Abstract

The ability to metabolize xenobiotics in organisms has a wide degree of variation among organisms. This is caused by differences in the pattern of xenobiotic bioaccumulation among organisms, which affects their tolerance. It has been reported in the veterinary field that glucuronidation (UGT) activity in cats, acetylation activity in dogs and sulfation (SULT) activity in pigs are sub-vital in these species, respectively, and require close attention when prescribing the medicine. On the other hand, information about species differences in xenobiotics metabolism remains insufficient, especially in non-experimental animals. In the present study, we tried to elucidate xenobiotic metabolism ability, especially in phase II UGT conjugation of various non-experimental animals, by using newly constructed in vivo, in vitro and genomic techniques. The results indicated that marine mammals (Steller sea lion, northern fur seal, and Caspian seal) showed UGT activity as low as that in cats, which was significantly lower than in rats and dogs. Furthermore, UGT1A6 pseudogenes were found in the Steller sea lion and Northern fur seal; all Otariidae species are thought to have the UGT1A6 pseudogene as well. Environmental pollutants and drugs conjugated by UGT are increasing dramatically in the modern world, and their dispersal into the environment can be of great consequence to Carnivora species, whose low xenobiotic glucuronidation capacity makes them highly sensitive to these compounds.

PMID:
28250318
DOI:
10.1248/yakushi.16-00230-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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17.
Vet Pathol. 2017 Mar;54(2):288-297. doi: 10.1177/0300985816677151. Epub 2016 Dec 14.

Hookworm Infection in South American Fur Seal ( Arctocephalus australis) Pups.

Author information

1
1 Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA.
2
2 Instituto de Patología Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.

Abstract

Tissues of South American fur seal pups naturally infected with hookworms ( Uncinaria sp) were examined. Hookworm infection was found in nearly all pups examined (132/140, 94%), and hookworm enteritis with secondary bacteremia was considered the cause of death in 46 (35%) pups. Common findings in these pups included severe hemorrhagic enteritis and numerous (mean intensity = 761.8) hookworms in the jejunum. Hookworms were recovered from the abdominal cavity in 12 of 55 pups (22%) examined through peritoneal wash; these pups had an average of 1343.3 intestinal hookworms and marked fibrinohemorrhagic peritonitis. In all pups that died as a consequence of hookworm infection, the intestinal villi were short, blunt, and fused, and there were variable numbers of free and intrahistiocytic gram-negative bacteria in submucosal hookworm feeding tracks, mesenteric lymph nodes, spleen, blood vessels, and liver sinusoids. Pups that died of causes unrelated to the hookworm infection (trauma) had hookworm feeding tracks confined to the apical portions of the mucosa, and moderate to marked catarrhal eosinophilic enteritis. The number of hookworms was negatively correlated with intestinal villous length and number of leukocytes in the intestine. Pups with hookworm peritoneal penetration had nematodes with little or no blood in the hookworm intestine, suggesting that lack of food for the nematode could be associated with peritoneal penetration. Findings suggest that the initial burden of larval infection, the level of the host tissue response, or a combination determine the number of nematodes in the intestine, the severity of hookworm tissue damage, and pup mortality.

KEYWORDS:

Uncinaria sp; hookworms; intestinal diseases; marine mammals; pathology; pinnipeds

PMID:
28207376
DOI:
10.1177/0300985816677151
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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18.
Dis Aquat Organ. 2017 Jan 24;122(3):185-193. doi: 10.3354/dao03073.

Colony-level assessment of Brucella and Leptospira in the Guadalupe fur seal, Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.

Author information

1
Departamento de Biología de la Conservación and Departamento de Oceanología Biológica, Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, Carretera Ensenada-Tijuana No. 3918, Zona Playitas, 22860 Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.

Abstract

The relatively small population size and restricted distribution of the Guadalupe fur seal Arctocephalus townsendi could make it highly vulnerable to infectious diseases. We performed a colony-level assessment in this species of the prevalence and presence of Brucella spp. and Leptospira spp., pathogenic bacteria that have been reported in several pinniped species worldwide. Forty-six serum samples were collected in 2014 from pups at Isla Guadalupe, the only place where the species effectively reproduces. Samples were tested for Brucella using 3 consecutive serological tests, and for Leptospira using the microscopic agglutination test. For each bacterium, a Bayesian approach was used to estimate prevalence to exposure, and an epidemiological model was used to test the null hypothesis that the bacterium was present in the colony. No serum sample tested positive for Brucella, and the statistical analyses concluded that the colony was bacterium-free with a 96.3% confidence level. However, a Brucella surveillance program would be highly recommendable. Twelve samples were positive (titers 1:50) to 1 or more serovars of Leptospira. The prevalence was calculated at 27.1% (95% credible interval: 15.6-40.3%), and the posterior analyses indicated that the colony was not Leptospira-free with a 100% confidence level. Serovars Icterohaemorrhagiae, Canicola, and Bratislava were detected, but only further research can unveil whether they affect the fur seal population.

KEYWORDS:

Arctocephalus townsendi; Bayesian approach; Epidemiology; Infectious diseases; Introduced species; Isla Guadalupe; Serology

PMID:
28117297
DOI:
10.3354/dao03073
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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19.
PLoS One. 2017 Jan 13;12(1):e0170132. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170132. eCollection 2017.

Identifying Risk: Concurrent Overlap of the Antarctic Krill Fishery with Krill-Dependent Predators in the Scotia Sea.

Author information

1
Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, La Jolla, California, United States of America.

Abstract

Mitigating direct and indirect interactions between marine predators and fisheries is a motivating factor for ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM), especially where predators and fisheries compete for a shared resource. One difficulty in advancing EBFM is parameterizing clear functional responses of predators to indices of prey availability. Alternative characterizations of fishery-predator interactions may therefore benefit the implementation of EBFM. Telemetry data identify foraging areas used by predators and, therefore, represent critical information to mitigate potential competition between predators and fisheries. We analyzed six years (2009-2014) of telemetry data collected at Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island and Admiralty Bay, King George Island, Antarctica, on three species of Pygoscelid penguins and female Antarctic fur seals. In this region, all four species are primarily dependent on Antarctic krill. The tracking data demonstrate local movements near breeding colonies during the austral summer and dispersal from breeding colonies during the winter. We then assessed overlap between predators and the Antarctic krill fishery on a suite of spatiotemporal scales to examine how different data aggregations affect the extent and location of overlap. Concurrent overlap was observed on all spatiotemporal scales considered throughout the Antarctic Peninsula and South Orkney Islands region, including near tagging locations and in distant areas where recent fishing activity has concentrated. Overlap occurred at depths where mean krill densities were relatively high. Our results demonstrate that direct overlap of krill-dependent predators with the krill fishery on small spatiotemporal scales is relatively common throughout the Antarctic Peninsula region. As the krill fishery continues to develop and efforts to implement ecosystem-based management mature, indices of overlap may provide a useful metric for indicating where the risks of fishing are highest. A precautionary approach to allocating krill catches in space would be to avoid large increases in catch where overlap on small spatiotemporal scales is common.

PMID:
28085943
PMCID:
PMC5234819
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0170132
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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20.
PLoS One. 2016 Dec 21;11(12):e0166898. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0166898. eCollection 2016.

Seeing It All: Evaluating Supervised Machine Learning Methods for the Classification of Diverse Otariid Behaviours.

Author information

1
Marine Predator Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, New South Wales, Australia.
2
Digital Network, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
3
Taronga Conservation Society Australia, Bradley's Head Road, Mosman, New South Wales, Australia.
4
School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
5
Geosciences, Museum Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.

Abstract

Constructing activity budgets for marine animals when they are at sea and cannot be directly observed is challenging, but recent advances in bio-logging technology offer solutions to this problem. Accelerometers can potentially identify a wide range of behaviours for animals based on unique patterns of acceleration. However, when analysing data derived from accelerometers, there are many statistical techniques available which when applied to different data sets produce different classification accuracies. We investigated a selection of supervised machine learning methods for interpreting behavioural data from captive otariids (fur seals and sea lions). We conducted controlled experiments with 12 seals, where their behaviours were filmed while they were wearing 3-axis accelerometers. From video we identified 26 behaviours that could be grouped into one of four categories (foraging, resting, travelling and grooming) representing key behaviour states for wild seals. We used data from 10 seals to train four predictive classification models: stochastic gradient boosting (GBM), random forests, support vector machine using four different kernels and a baseline model: penalised logistic regression. We then took the best parameters from each model and cross-validated the results on the two seals unseen so far. We also investigated the influence of feature statistics (describing some characteristic of the seal), testing the models both with and without these. Cross-validation accuracies were lower than training accuracy, but the SVM with a polynomial kernel was still able to classify seal behaviour with high accuracy (>70%). Adding feature statistics improved accuracies across all models tested. Most categories of behaviour -resting, grooming and feeding-were all predicted with reasonable accuracy (52-81%) by the SVM while travelling was poorly categorised (31-41%). These results show that model selection is important when classifying behaviour and that by using animal characteristics we can strengthen the overall accuracy.

PMID:
28002450
PMCID:
PMC5176164
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0166898
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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