81 research outputs found

    Morphological characterization of the blood cells in the endangered Sicilian endemic pond turtle,Emys trinacris(Testudines: Emydidae)

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    In this study, measurements of morphological parameters, sizes and frequencies of peripheral blood cells (erythrocytes, leukocytes, thrombocytes) on blood smear preparation devices stained with May-Grünwald stain were evaluated for both sexes in 20 Emys trinacris (Testudines: Emydidae) specimens. Erythrocytes were higher in male than in female specimens. The leukocyte of E. trinacris contains eosinophil, basophil, monocyte, heterophil and lymphocyte. The eosinophil was higher in males than in females whereas lymphocytes were higher in females than in males. The erythrocyte morphological parameters (EL [erythrocyte length], EW [erythrocyte width], L/W [length/width], ES [erythrocyte size]) were compared with the same data from Emys orbicularis s.l, and from species belonging to other chelonian genera. The erythrocyte size did not vary within the studied Palearctic Emys taxa, whereas it proved to differ from that observed in other chelonians

    Concurrent Exposure of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) to Multiple Algal Toxins in Sarasota Bay, Florida, USA

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    Sentinel species such as bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) can be impacted by large-scale mortality events due to exposure to marine algal toxins. In the Sarasota Bay region (Gulf of Mexico, Florida, USA), the bottlenose dolphin population is frequently exposed to harmful algal blooms (HABs) of Karenia brevis and the neurotoxic brevetoxins (PbTx; BTX) produced by this dinoflagellate. Live dolphins sampled during capture-release health assessments performed in this region tested positive for two HAB toxins; brevetoxin and domoic acid (DA). Over a ten-year study period (2000–2009) we have determined that bottlenose dolphins are exposed to brevetoxin and/or DA on a nearly annual basis (i.e., DA: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009; brevetoxin: 2000, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009) with 36% of all animals testing positive for brevetoxin (n = 118) and 53% positive for DA (n = 83) with several individuals (14%) testing positive for both neurotoxins in at least one tissue/fluid. To date there have been no previously published reports of DA in southwestern Florida marine mammals, however the May 2008 health assessment coincided with a Pseudo-nitzschia pseudodelicatissima bloom that was the likely source of DA observed in seawater and live dolphin samples. Concurrently, both DA and brevetoxin were observed in common prey fish. Although no Pseudo-nitzschia bloom was identified the following year, DA was identified in seawater, fish, sediment, snails, and dolphins. DA concentrations in feces were positively correlated with hematologic parameters including an increase in total white blood cell (p = 0.001) and eosinophil (p<0.001) counts. Our findings demonstrate that dolphins within Sarasota Bay are commonly exposed to two algal toxins, and provide the impetus to further explore the potential long-term impacts on bottlenose dolphin health

    Are we working towards global research priorities for management and conservation of sea turtles?

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    This is the final version. Available from Inter Research via the DOI in this recordThere is another ORE record for this publication: http://hdl.handle.net/10871/24817In 2010, an international group of 35 sea turtle researchers refined an initial list of more than 200 research questions into 20 metaquestions that were considered key for management and conservation of sea turtles. These were classified under 5 categories: reproductive biology, biogeography, population ecology, threats and conservation strategies. To obtain a picture of how research is being focused towards these key questions, we undertook a systematic review of the peer-reviewed literature (2014 and 2015) attributing papers to the original 20 questions. In total, we reviewed 605 articles in full and from these 355 (59%) were judged to substantively address the 20 key questions, with others focusing on basic science and monitoring that may lead to innovations or inform subsequent interpretation of effectiveness of conservation interventions and/or severity of threats. Progress to answering the 20 questions was not uniform and there were biases regarding focal turtle species, geographic scope and publication outlet. Whilst it offers some meaningful indications as to effort, quantifying peer-reviewed literature output is obviously not the only, and possibly not the best, metric for understanding research progress towards informing key conservation and management goals. Along with the literature review, an international group based on the original project consortium, with additional members, were assigned in groups of two or three (based on core expertise) to critically summarise recent progress towards answering each of the 20 questions. We found that significant research is being expended towards global priorities for management and conservation of sea turtles. Although highly variable, there has been significant progress in all the key questions identified in 2010. Undertaking this critical review has highlighted that it may be timely to undertake one or more new prioritizing exercises. For this to have maximal benefit we make a range of recommendations for its execution. These include a far greater engagement with social sciences, widening the pool of contributors and focussing the questions, perhaps disaggregating ecology and conservation.K.R.W-S is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-125252

    Modelling the effect of fibropapilloma disease on the somatic growth dynamics of Hawaiian green sea turtles

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    The effect of the tumour-forming disease, fibropapillomatosis, on the somatic growth dynamics of green turtles resident in the Pala'au foraging grounds (Moloka'i, Hawai'i) was evaluated using a Bayesian generalised additive mixed modelling approach. This regression model enabled us to account for fixed effects (fibropapilloma tumour severity), nonlinear covariate functional form (carapace size, sampling year) as well as random effects due to individual heterogeneity and correlation between repeated growth measurements on some turtles. Somatic growth rates were found to be nonlinear functions of carapace size and sampling year but were not a function of low-to-moderate tumour severity. On the other hand, growth rates were significantly lower for turtles with advanced fibropapillomatosis, which suggests a limited or threshold-specific disease effect. However, tumour severity was an increasing function of carapace size-larger turtles tended to have higher tumour severity scores, presumably due to longer exposure of larger (older) turtles to the factors that cause the disease. Hence turtles with advanced fibropapillomatosis tended to be the larger turtles, which confounds size and tumour severity in this study. But somatic growth rates for the Pala'au population have also declined since the mid-1980s (sampling year effect) while disease prevalence and severity increased from the mid-1980s before levelling off by the mid-1990s. It is unlikely that this decline was related to the increasing tumour severity because growth rates have also declined over the last 10-20 years for other green turtle populations resident in Hawaiian waters that have low or no disease prevalence. The declining somatic growth rate trends evident in the Hawaiian stock are more likely a density-dependent effect caused by a dramatic increase in abundance by this once-seriously-depleted stock since the mid-1980s. So despite increasing fibropapillomatosis risk over the last 20 years, only a limited effect on somatic growth dynamics was apparent and the Hawaiian green turtle stock continues to increase in abundance