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Open AccessCommunication
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(2), 267-275; doi:10.3390/jmse3020267

Heterophil/Lymphocyte Alterations as a Measure of Stress in American Alligators in Relation to Anthropogenic Disturbance in a Louisiana Intermediate Marsh

1
Department of Biological Sciences, 331 Funchess Hall, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
2
Department of Biology, The University of Findlay, 300 Davis St. Findlay, OH 45840, USA
3
Everglades Holiday Park, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33332, USA
4
Department of Chemistry, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA 70609, USA
5
Department of Biological Sciences, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA 70402, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Merv Fingas
Received: 24 April 2015 / Accepted: 18 May 2015 / Published: 22 May 2015
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Abstract

Numerous anthropogenic factors represent environmental threats to Gulf Coast wetland ecosystems and associated fauna. American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) have been subject to long-term management and used as ecological and physiological indicators of habitat quality in response to anthropogenic events and stochastic natural disasters. The present study monitored heterophil to lymphocyte ratios (an indicator of stress), in American alligators in a Louisiana intermediate marsh from 2009 to 2011, a time period that coincides with an oil inundation event that occurred in 2011. Sixteen alligators were observed and processed morphometrically (total length, snout-vent length and body mass). Heterophil to lymphocyte ratios were negatively correlated with size, suggesting larger American alligators were physiologically more resilient to the disturbance, more able to actively avoid these poor conditions, or are less affected by localized disturbance. View Full-Text
Keywords: alligator; stress; anthropogenic disturbance alligator; stress; anthropogenic disturbance
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Murray, C.M.; Rheubert, J.L.; Easter, M.E.; Merchant, M.; Crother, B.I. Heterophil/Lymphocyte Alterations as a Measure of Stress in American Alligators in Relation to Anthropogenic Disturbance in a Louisiana Intermediate Marsh. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3, 267-275.

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