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Insects 2017, 8(1), 33; doi:10.3390/insects8010033

Comparison of Faunal Scavenging of Submerged Carrion in Two Seasons at a Depth of 170 m, in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia

Centre for Forensic Research, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Dr., Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada
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Academic Editors: David Rivers and John R. Wallace
Received: 6 February 2017 / Revised: 7 March 2017 / Accepted: 8 March 2017 / Published: 13 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Forensic Entomology)
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Abstract

The taphonomy of carcasses submerged in the ocean is little understood, yet it is extremely important ecologically and forensically. The objectives of this study were to determine the fate of pig carcasses as human proxies in the Strait of Georgia at 170 m in spring and fall. Using Ocean Networks Canada’s Victoria Experimental Network Underseas (VENUS) observatory, two carcasses per season were placed under a cabled platform hosting a webcam and instruments measuring water chemistry. Two minutes of video were recorded every 15 min. In spring, Lyssianassidae amphipods and Pandalus platyceros were immediately attracted and fed on the carcasses, the amphipods removed the bulk of the soft tissue from the inside whilst the shrimp shredded the skin and tissue. The carcasses were skeletonized on Days 8 and 10. In fall, Metacarcinus magister was the major scavenger, removing most of the soft tissue from one carcass. Amphipods did not arrive in large numbers until Day 15, when they skeletonized the scavenged carcass by Day 22 and the less scavenged carcass by Day 24. Amphipods remained for some days after skeletonization. This skeletonization was very different from previous experiments at different depths and habitats. Such data are very valuable for predicting preservation, planning recoveries, and managing family expectations. View Full-Text
Keywords: submergence; marine; amphipods; taphonomy; forensic; arthropods; underwater cabled laboratory submergence; marine; amphipods; taphonomy; forensic; arthropods; underwater cabled laboratory
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Anderson, G.S.; Bell, L.S. Comparison of Faunal Scavenging of Submerged Carrion in Two Seasons at a Depth of 170 m, in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia. Insects 2017, 8, 33.

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