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Article

Antibiotic Resistance of Bacteria in Two Marine Mammal Species, Harbor Seals and Harbor Porpoises, Living in an Urban Marine Ecosystem, the Salish Sea, Washington State, USA

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Marine-Med: Marine Research, Epidemiology, and Veterinary Medicine, Bothell, WA 98021, USA
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Orca Network/Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Freeland, WA 98249, USA
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World Vets, Gig Harbor, WA 98332, USA
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Marine Mammal Investigations, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Lakewood, WA 98498, USA
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Cascadia Research Collective, Olympia, WA 98501, USA
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SeaDoc Society, UC Davis Wildlife Health Center—Orcas Island Office, Eastsound, WA 98245, USA
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The Whale Museum, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA
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Whatcom County Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Lummi Island, WA 98262, USA
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Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Port Townsend, WA 98368, USA
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Sno-King Marine Mammal Response, Seattle, WA 98117, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alexander Werth
Oceans 2021, 2(1), 86-104; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans2010006
Received: 4 November 2020 / Revised: 18 January 2021 / Accepted: 19 January 2021 / Published: 25 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Mammals in a Changing World)
The pervasive use of antibiotics in human medicine, veterinary medicine, and agriculture can result in a significant increase in the spread and environmental persistence of antibiotic resistance in marine ecosystems. This study describes the presence and distribution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Salish Sea harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) and evaluates species, age class, and geographic differences in resistance patterns. Isolates from 95 dead-stranded animals (74 seals/21 porpoises) were tested for resistance to a suite of 15 antibiotics. Of the 95 sampled, 85 (89%) (67 seals/18 porpoises) successfully yielded 144 isolates, with 37% resistant to at least one antibiotic and 26% multi-drug resistant (24% and 39% of seal and porpoise isolates, respectively). Overall, and by study region, porpoises were significantly more likely to harbor resistant organisms compared to seals. Significant differences between age classes were noted for the antibiotics amoxicillin, cephalexin, and cefovecin. Overall isolate resistance was significantly greater in porpoises than seals for several individual antibiotics. Multiple antibiotic resistance (MAR) indices greater than 0.2 were observed in 55% of multi-drug resistant isolates, suggesting seal and porpoise exposure to anthropogenic pollution. The relatively high and disparate prevalence of antibiotic resistance in these common, but ecologically dissimilar, marine mammals reflects a potentially large environmental pool of antibiotic resistant organisms in the Salish Sea or inherently different resistance gene patterns between the two species. View Full-Text
Keywords: antibiotic resistance; antimicrobial; multi-drug resistance; MAR index; harbor porpoise; harbor seal; marine ecosystem; Salish Sea antibiotic resistance; antimicrobial; multi-drug resistance; MAR index; harbor porpoise; harbor seal; marine ecosystem; Salish Sea
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MDPI and ACS Style

Norman, S.A.; Lambourn, D.M.; Huggins, J.L.; Gaydos, J.K.; Dubpernell, S.; Berta, S.; Olson, J.K.; Souze, V.; Evans, A.; Carlson, B.; Johnson, M.; Mayer, R.; King, C.; Scott, A. Antibiotic Resistance of Bacteria in Two Marine Mammal Species, Harbor Seals and Harbor Porpoises, Living in an Urban Marine Ecosystem, the Salish Sea, Washington State, USA. Oceans 2021, 2, 86-104. https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans2010006

AMA Style

Norman SA, Lambourn DM, Huggins JL, Gaydos JK, Dubpernell S, Berta S, Olson JK, Souze V, Evans A, Carlson B, Johnson M, Mayer R, King C, Scott A. Antibiotic Resistance of Bacteria in Two Marine Mammal Species, Harbor Seals and Harbor Porpoises, Living in an Urban Marine Ecosystem, the Salish Sea, Washington State, USA. Oceans. 2021; 2(1):86-104. https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans2010006

Chicago/Turabian Style

Norman, Stephanie A., Dyanna M. Lambourn, Jessica L. Huggins, Joseph K. Gaydos, Sandra Dubpernell, Susan Berta, Jennifer K. Olson, Victoria Souze, Alysha Evans, Betsy Carlson, Mandi Johnson, Rachel Mayer, Cathy King, and Alyssa Scott. 2021. "Antibiotic Resistance of Bacteria in Two Marine Mammal Species, Harbor Seals and Harbor Porpoises, Living in an Urban Marine Ecosystem, the Salish Sea, Washington State, USA" Oceans 2, no. 1: 86-104. https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans2010006

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