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Oceans, Volume 3, Issue 3 (September 2022) – 13 articles

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8 pages, 2292 KiB  
Article
Effectiveness of Moorings Constructed from Rope in Reducing Impacts to Seagrass
by Richard K. F. Unsworth, Leanne C. Cullen-Unsworth, James N. Hope, Benjamin L. H. Jones, Richard J. Lilley, Hanna K. Nuuttila, Beth Williams and Nicole E. Esteban
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 431-438; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030029 - 31 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4166
Abstract
Seagrass meadows commonly reside in shallow sheltered coastal environments which are typically safe havens for mooring boats. There is evidence from around the globe that the use of common swinging chain moorings leads to halos of bare sediment in otherwise productive seagrass. These [...] Read more.
Seagrass meadows commonly reside in shallow sheltered coastal environments which are typically safe havens for mooring boats. There is evidence from around the globe that the use of common swinging chain moorings leads to halos of bare sediment in otherwise productive seagrass. These halos reduce animal abundance and diversity and lead to a loss of the carbon stored within sediments. To protect and enhance seagrass ecosystem services, low-cost simple solutions are required that can solve the problems of boating-based disturbance. In the present novel study, we provide evidence that the simple replacement of mooring chains with rope can significantly reduce damage to sensitive benthic habitats such as seagrass. At three locations across a range of environmental conditions, we provide evidence that well-established moorings constructed from rope do not damage seagrass. Overall, there was a significant effect (F1,756 = 299.46, p < 0.001) of the mooring type and distance from the mooring base. This equates to a 44% increase in seagrass cover within areas around a rope mooring relative to a chain one. Most small boat mooring activity happens within the summer months, therefore large heavy-duty winter mooring systems are not required in many situations, opening opportunities for adapted systems that have a reduced environmental impact. The present study suggests that there is a ready-made, low-technology, low-cost solution already in existence for halting the widespread loss of seagrass from small boat mooring damage and allowing recovery and opportunity for restoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue World Oceans Day 2022)
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12 pages, 1923 KiB  
Article
Local Ecological Knowledge Reveals Change in Seagrass Social–Ecological Systems
by Benjamin L. H. Jones, Richard K. F. Unsworth, Lina M. Nordlund, Rohani Ambo-Rappe, Yayu A. La Nafie, Mary Rose Lopez, Susantha Udagedara and Leanne C. Cullen-Unsworth
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 419-430; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030028 - 10 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4793
Abstract
It is widely recognized that humanity is currently facing multiple planetary crises, including the widespread loss of biodiversity and a rapidly changing climate. The impacts of these crises are often far reaching and threaten food security (SDG goal two: zero hunger). Small-scale fisheries [...] Read more.
It is widely recognized that humanity is currently facing multiple planetary crises, including the widespread loss of biodiversity and a rapidly changing climate. The impacts of these crises are often far reaching and threaten food security (SDG goal two: zero hunger). Small-scale fisheries are estimated to provide livelihoods for over one hundred million people and sustenance for approximately one billion people but face a plethora of threats and challenges linked to planetary crises. In this multi-country assessment (150 coastal villages across five countries within the Indo-Pacific), household interviews revealed how seagrass meadows are important to small-scale fisheries, particularly as a place to find and collect a reliable source of food. Interviews also revealed that habitat loss and the over-exploitation of these resources are placing people and their food security at risk. This study exposed how dynamic local ecological knowledge can be, uncovering personal opinions and responsibilities that result in the hybridization of knowledge. Here, we demonstrate the importance of using local ecological knowledge to incorporate shared values into management but also highlight that an integrated approach, pairing local and conventional scientific knowledge, is needed urgently if we are to meet the needs of people while simultaneously conserving biodiversity. Full article
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18 pages, 950 KiB  
Article
Divergent Gene Expression Profiles in Alaskan Sea Otters: An Indicator of Chronic Domoic Acid Exposure?
by Lizabeth Bowen, Susan Knowles, Kathi Lefebvre, Michelle St. Martin, Michael Murray, Kim Kloecker, Daniel Monson, Benjamin Weitzman, Brenda Ballachey, Heather Coletti, Shannon Waters and Caroline Cummings
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 401-418; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030027 - 8 Aug 2022
Viewed by 2756
Abstract
An opportunistic investigation into ecosystem instability in Kachemak Bay (KBay), Alaska, has led us to investigate exposure to toxic algae in sea otters. We used gene expression to explore the physiological health of sea otters sampled in KBay in May 2019. We found [...] Read more.
An opportunistic investigation into ecosystem instability in Kachemak Bay (KBay), Alaska, has led us to investigate exposure to toxic algae in sea otters. We used gene expression to explore the physiological health of sea otters sampled in KBay in May 2019. We found altered levels of gene transcripts in comparison with reference sea otters from clinically normal, oil-exposed, and nutritionally challenged populations sampled over the past decade. KBay sea otters were markedly divergent from the other groups for five genes, which indicated the involvement of neurological, cardiac, immune, and detoxification systems. Further, analyses of urine and fecal samples detected domoic acid in the KBay sea otters. In combination, these results may point to chronic, low-level exposure to an algal toxin, such as domoic acid. With a warming climate, the frequency and severity of harmful algal blooms in marine environments is anticipated to increase, and novel molecular technologies to detect sublethal or chronic exposure to algal toxins will help provide an early warning of threats to the stability of populations and ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Mammal Health)
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12 pages, 1819 KiB  
Article
Increased Incidence of Entanglements and Ingested Marine Debris in Dutch Seals from 2010 to 2020
by Anna Salazar-Casals, Koen de Reus, Nils Greskewitz, Jarco Havermans, Machteld Geut, Stella Villanueva and Ana Rubio-Garcia
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 389-400; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030026 - 5 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4827
Abstract
In recent decades, the amount of marine debris has increased in our oceans. As wildlife interactions with debris increase, so does the number of entangled animals, impairing normal behavior and potentially affecting the survival of these individuals. The current study summarizes data on [...] Read more.
In recent decades, the amount of marine debris has increased in our oceans. As wildlife interactions with debris increase, so does the number of entangled animals, impairing normal behavior and potentially affecting the survival of these individuals. The current study summarizes data on two phocid species, harbor (Phoca vitulina) and gray seals (Halichoerus grypus), affected by marine debris in Dutch waters from 2010 to 2020. The findings indicate that the annual entanglement rate (13.2 entanglements/year) has quadrupled compared with previous studies. Young seals, particularly gray seals, are the most affected individuals, with most animals found or sighted with fishing nets wrapped around their necks. Interestingly, harbor seals showed a higher incidence of ingested debris. Species differences with regard to behavior, foraging strategies, and habitat preferences may explain these findings. The lack of consistency across reports suggests that it is important to standardize data collection from now on. Despite increased public awareness about the adverse environmental effects of marine debris, more initiatives and policies are needed to ensure the protection of the marine environment in the Netherlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Mammal Health)
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25 pages, 7723 KiB  
Article
Investigation of Ocean Sub-Surface Processes in Tropical Cyclone Phailin Using a Coupled Modeling Framework: Sensitivity to Ocean Conditions
by Tapajyoti Chakraborty, Sandeep Pattnaik, Himadri Baisya and Vijay Vishwakarma
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 364-388; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030025 - 4 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2750
Abstract
The present study is aimed to investigate sub-surface ocean processes and their contribution to the intensification of a tropical cyclone (TC) from a coupled-modeling perspective. The Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere–Wave–Sediment Transport (COAWST) model was employed to simulate TC Phailin, which originated over the Bay of [...] Read more.
The present study is aimed to investigate sub-surface ocean processes and their contribution to the intensification of a tropical cyclone (TC) from a coupled-modeling perspective. The Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere–Wave–Sediment Transport (COAWST) model was employed to simulate TC Phailin, which originated over the Bay of Bengal and made landfall on the eastern coast of India in October 2013. Three sub-surface ocean condition datasets—viz., (a) the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) Ocean Reanalysis, (b) the Climate Forecast System Version 2 (CFSV2) Operational Analysis, and (c) the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) Reanalysis datasets—were used for the initial and boundary conditions for the oceanic component of the coupled model in three different simulations of TC Phailin. All the simulations showed a delay in intensification compared to the observation, and ECMWF simulated the most intensified TC. CFSV2 simulated a deeper mixed layer (ML) and higher mixing, which hindered the intensification. Furthermore, higher entrainment of cold water in the ML led to cold water reaching the surface and, consequently, decreased sea surface temperature, which acted as negative feedback in the intensification of the storm in the cases of CFSV2 and HYCOM. ECMWF realistically simulated the interactions of the TC with a cold-core eddy before landfall. A sudden increase in ML heat content, the addition of heat in the ML due to entrainment, and the prevention of cold water reaching the surface were indicative of the breaking of the barrier layer (BL) in ECMWF, which was further corroborated by the spatial distribution of BL thickness in the simulation. This acted as positive feedback in the intensification of the TC. The findings of this study strongly suggest that not only the incorporation of physical oceanic sub-surface processes in the modeling of TCs but also the proper representation of prevailing mesoscale features and ocean sub-surface temperature, salinity, and current profiles in datasets is essential for realistic simulations of TCs. Full article
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24 pages, 5513 KiB  
Review
Analysis and Modeling of Sunscreen Ingredients’ Behavior in an Aquatic Environment
by Gema Ruiz-Gutiérrez, Araceli Rodríguez-Romero, Antonio Tovar-Sánchez and Javier R. Viguri Fuente
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 340-363; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030024 - 2 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4163
Abstract
Sunscreens have become a product based on increasingly complex formulations that include, among many ingredients, a mixture of UV filters to provide optimal sun ultraviolet radiation protection. A significant group of scientific works deals with the impact of UV filters in aquatic media. [...] Read more.
Sunscreens have become a product based on increasingly complex formulations that include, among many ingredients, a mixture of UV filters to provide optimal sun ultraviolet radiation protection. A significant group of scientific works deals with the impact of UV filters in aquatic media. However, the knowledge of the mechanism and kinetics of the compound’s direct release, fate, and its transformation and interaction with living organisms is necessary to assess its environmental occurrence and behavior and to predict potential and real impacts on the aquatic environment. This review outlines the existing analysis and modeling of the release and behavior of sunscreen’s ingredients in the marine environment, including aquatic organisms. The physical-chemical properties, photodegradation, and release kinetics of particles and chemicals into the water are studied by hydrodynamic and kinetic models. Direct photolysis of chemicals is modeled as pseudo-first-order kinetics, while the indirect pathway by the reaction of sunscreen with reactive oxygen species is described as second-order kinetics. The interaction of UV filters with marine biota is studied mainly by toxicokinetic models, which predict their bio-accumulation in the organisms’ tissues. These models consider the chemicals’ uptake and excretion, as well as their transfer between different internal animal organs, as a first-order kinetic process. The studies analyzed in the present work represent a driver of change for the beauty and personal care industry, in order to seek new ecological alternatives through the application of R&D tactics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skincare Chemicals and Marine Life)
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9 pages, 659 KiB  
Brief Report
Clinical Observations Associated with Phenobarbital Serum Monitoring to Manage Epilepsy in a California Sea Lion with Domoic Acid Toxicosis
by Claire A. Simeone, Gregory Scott, Ryan A. Navarro and Diana Procter
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 331-339; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030023 - 27 Jul 2022
Viewed by 2134
Abstract
The marine algal toxin domoic acid is an important threat to marine mammal health, and exposure can lead to both acute neurologic signs and a chronic epileptic syndrome in California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). Phenobarbital has been used for several decades [...] Read more.
The marine algal toxin domoic acid is an important threat to marine mammal health, and exposure can lead to both acute neurologic signs and a chronic epileptic syndrome in California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). Phenobarbital has been used for several decades to manage seizures, although reports are limited correlating dosing, serum monitoring and clinical efficacy in this species. This report details serum monitoring over 33 months in an 8-year-old male sea lion. Seizure control was achieved when phenobarbital concentrations were above 18 μg/mL, and sedation and ataxia were noted when concentrations were above 35 μg/mL. There was no clinically significant difference between phenobarbital concentrations resulting from once-daily versus twice-daily dosing. Serum levels remained detectable as far as 101 days after administration, and remained stable during periods of prolonged anorexia, although dramatic decreases in serum concentrations were noted immediately after normal eating resumed. For this animal, a serum phenobarbital target range of 20–30 μg/mL was achievable with a dose of 1.5 mg/kg once daily followed by therapeutic monitoring, and this is a reasonable recommended concentration and initial dose for clinicians treating this species. Long-term seizure control may be difficult to achieve with anti-epileptic drugs such as phenobarbital alone, and further research is needed to make novel options useful for clinical management of biotoxin-related neurologic disease in this aquatic species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Mammal Health)
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12 pages, 1702 KiB  
Article
Entanglement of Steller Sea Lions in Marine Debris and Fishing Gear on the Central Oregon Coast from 2005–2009
by Kimberly L. Raum-Suryan and Robert M. Suryan
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 319-330; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030022 - 20 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2331
Abstract
Entanglement in marine debris and fishing gear is an increasing problem for the world’s pinnipeds and a contributing factor in Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) injury and mortality. From 2005–2009, we surveyed (n = 389 days) two haul-outs on the central [...] Read more.
Entanglement in marine debris and fishing gear is an increasing problem for the world’s pinnipeds and a contributing factor in Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) injury and mortality. From 2005–2009, we surveyed (n = 389 days) two haul-outs on the central Oregon coast containing a combined median of 402 animals (range 33–1240, or ca. 1–19% of the Oregon coast population). We recorded 72 individuals entangled in marine debris (n = 70) or with ingested salmon hook-and-line fishing gear (n = 2). Of the identifiable neck entanglements, black rubber bands were the most common neck-entangling material (62%), followed by plastic packing bands (36%), nets (1.2%), yellow rubber bands (0.4%), and a flying disc (0.4%). The estimated prevalence of entanglement for individuals in Oregon was 0.34%. Juveniles were the most frequently entangled age class (60%), followed by adult females (28%), and subadult males (12%). Supply chain and industry-based solutions are needed to prevent entangling debris from entering the ocean, along with eliminating, modifying, or cutting entangling loops of synthetic material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Mammal Health)
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16 pages, 899 KiB  
Review
A Review of Northern Fur Seal (Callorhinus ursinus) Literature to Direct Future Health Monitoring Initiatives
by Valerie Cortés, Kelly Patyk, Claire Simeone, Valerie Johnson, Johanna Vega, Kate Savage and Colleen Duncan
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 303-318; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030021 - 7 Jul 2022
Viewed by 2408
Abstract
Northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus, NFS) are a vulnerable species broadly distributed throughout the north Pacific. Although commercial hunting stopped in 1984, the population has continued to decline for unknown reasons. The goal of this scoping review was to synthesize and [...] Read more.
Northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus, NFS) are a vulnerable species broadly distributed throughout the north Pacific. Although commercial hunting stopped in 1984, the population has continued to decline for unknown reasons. The goal of this scoping review was to synthesize and review 50 years of literature relevant to the health of NFS to inform the development of health surveillance recommendations. Search criteria were developed and applied to three databases, followed by title and abstract screening and full text review. Articles published between 1 January 1972 and 31 December 2021 were included. Articles were categorized by health determinant, and further as relating to ten subcategories of disease. Data were summarized descriptively. A total of 148 publications met the criteria for inclusion. Infectious disease reports were common, primarily relating to metazoan parasite presence. The presence of zoonotic pathogens such as Coxiella burnetii and Brucella spp. is of public health interest, although a failure to link disease research to individual animal or population health outcomes was consistent across the literature. A shift away from the single agent focus of disease programs toward more holistic, health-oriented perspectives will require broader interdisciplinary collaboration. These findings can inform stakeholders and help them to prioritize and strategize on future NFS health research efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Mammal Health)
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14 pages, 5830 KiB  
Article
Whale-Associated Microbial Communities Remain Remarkably Stable despite Massive Water Community Disruption in a Managed Artificial Marine Environment
by William Van Bonn, Francis Oliaro and Lee Pinnell
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 289-302; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030020 - 6 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2341
Abstract
Highly managed and built environments such as zoos and aquaria provide a rich source of standardized environmental monitoring data over periods of years to decades. A fifty percent water change in an 11.4-million-liter indoor artificial sea water system housing three species of marine [...] Read more.
Highly managed and built environments such as zoos and aquaria provide a rich source of standardized environmental monitoring data over periods of years to decades. A fifty percent water change in an 11.4-million-liter indoor artificial sea water system housing three species of marine mammals was conducted over a two-month period. Using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, the microbial community structure of the system water and three host sites (feces, skin, and exhaled breath “chuff”) of whales housed in the system were characterized. Diversity measures confirmed massive disruption to the water community structure as an expected result of the water change. Host site-associated communities remained remarkably stable. Improved understanding of host microbial community dynamics in response to environmental system perturbations allows for sound management decisions toward optimizing conditions for resident animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Mammal Health)
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21 pages, 16396 KiB  
Article
3D Structure of the Ras Al Hadd Oceanic Dipole
by Yassine Bennani, Adam Ayouche and Xavier Carton
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 268-288; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030019 - 29 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2432
Abstract
In the Arabian Sea, southeast of the Arabian peninsula, an oceanic dipole, named the Ras Al Hadd (RAH) dipole, is formed each year, lying near the Ras Al Hadd cape. The RAH dipole is the association of a cyclonic eddy (CE) to the [...] Read more.
In the Arabian Sea, southeast of the Arabian peninsula, an oceanic dipole, named the Ras Al Hadd (RAH) dipole, is formed each year, lying near the Ras Al Hadd cape. The RAH dipole is the association of a cyclonic eddy (CE) to the northeast, with an anticyclonic eddy (AE) to the southwest. This dipole intensifies in the summer monsoon and disappears during the winter monsoon. This dipole has been described previously, but mostly for its surface expression, and for short time intervals. Here, we describe the 3D structure of this dipole over the 2000–2015 period, by combining colocalized ARGO float profiler data (a total of 7552 profiles inside and outside the RAH dipole) with angular momentum eddy detection and tracking algorithm (AMEDA) surface data. We show first the different water masses in and near the RAH dipole. The presence of the Persian Gulf water (PGW) below 200 m depth is confirmed in both eddies. Arabian Sea high salinity water (ASHSW) is found exclusively in the AE; a layer of fresh and cold water is observed above 100 m depth in both eddies. By analyzing the potential density structures, we show that the CE has a surface-intensified structure while the AE is subsurface-intensified. The sea level anomaly shows a 0.04 m elevation above the AE and a 0.2 m depression over the CE. The CE has a faster geostrophic velocity, (vertical velocity, respectively) 0.6 m s−1 than the AE, 0.15 m s−1 (respectively, 3 m day−1 for the CE and 0.6 m day−1 for the AE). After presenting the vertical structure of the dipole, we show the dominance of the nonlinear Ekman pumping in the CE over the linear pumping affecting the dipole. As a consequence, we explain the CE’s longer lifetime by its intensity and shallowness, and by its sensitivity to the interaction with the atmosphere (in particular the wind stress) and with neighboring eddies. We examined the possible (co)existence of symmetric, barotropic, and baroclinic instabilities in both eddies. These instabilities coexist near the surface in both eddies. They are intensified for the CE, which suggests that the CE is unstable and the AE is rather stable or may need a long time to be unstable. Full article
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18 pages, 4501 KiB  
Article
Sowerby’s Beaked Whales (Mesoplodon bidens) in the Skagerrak and Adjacent Waters: Historical Records and Recent Post-Mortem Findings
by Jasmine Stavenow, Anna Maria Roos, Erik Olof Ågren, Carl Kinze, William F. Englund and Aleksija Neimanis
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 250-267; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030018 - 23 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4005
Abstract
In contrast to sparse historical observational records, five Sowerby’s beaked whales (SBW) stranded and died in Swedish waters between 2015 and 2020. Here we summarize historical records of SBWs in the Skagerrak basin and adjacent waters. The three recent stranding events from Sweden [...] Read more.
In contrast to sparse historical observational records, five Sowerby’s beaked whales (SBW) stranded and died in Swedish waters between 2015 and 2020. Here we summarize historical records of SBWs in the Skagerrak basin and adjacent waters. The three recent stranding events from Sweden are described, and the post-mortem findings, including diet analysis, from the five SBWs are presented. Of 30 historical records of SBWs observations since 1869, 13 (43%) were documented between 2010 and 2021, and records between July and November were the most frequent. The recent stranding events occurred in October 2015 (n = 1), August 2019 (n = 3) and July 2020 (n = 1). Four of the SBWs were examined through necropsy, and one was sampled in the field. They were all sub-adults and included a single female and four males. The causes of death were emaciation, euthanasia due to traumatic injury, and live stranding of undetermined cause. Two SBWs each had a focal bone lesion consistent with osteomyelitis. Other findings included pox-like dermatitis, trauma, focal granulomas in a lymph node and intestine, and ulceration of the stomach. CT scans were performed on the heads of two animals, with inconclusive results. Three SBWs had hard parts in the gastrointestinal tract that mainly consisted of otoliths from several fish species. An eDNA-analysis confirmed and supplemented the diet analysis, revealing 17 fish species in total, including species not previously described as prey for SBW, such as Pleuronectidae spp. The apparent increase in observational records since 2010 may indicate a shift in SBW distribution or changing threats to these animals. Our results support and expand theories on SBW movements and provide data on the biology and health of this poorly known species, which are valuable for conservation and legislation efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Mammal Health)
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19 pages, 2958 KiB  
Article
Temporal and Spatial Evaluation of Mono(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate (MEHP) Detection in Common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota Bay, Florida, USA
by Miranda K. Dziobak, Brian C. Balmer, Randall S. Wells, Emily C. Pisarski, Ed F. Wirth and Leslie B. Hart
Oceans 2022, 3(3), 231-249; https://doi.org/10.3390/oceans3030017 - 23 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2355
Abstract
Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals added to plastics, personal care products, cleaning solutions, and pesticides. Extensive use has led to its exposure to wildlife, including common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota Bay, Florida, USA; however, there are gaps in knowledge regarding [...] Read more.
Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals added to plastics, personal care products, cleaning solutions, and pesticides. Extensive use has led to its exposure to wildlife, including common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota Bay, Florida, USA; however, there are gaps in knowledge regarding whether sample timing or geographic location influence exposure. Dolphins were evaluated for temporal and spatial variability in urinary mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP) detection (2010–2019). Significant fluctuations in detectable MEHP concentrations were found across the dataset. All samples from 2014 and 2015 (n = 12) had detectable MEHP concentrations; thus, data were classified into cohorts to explore the significance of prevalent MEHP detection (“Cohort 1” (n = 10; 2010–2013), “Cohort 2” (2014–2015), and “Cohort 3” (n = 29; 2016–2019)). Compared to Cohorts 1 and 3, Cohort 2 had higher detectable MEHP concentrations (Dunn’s; p = 0.0065 and p = 0.0012, respectively) and a greater proportion of detectable MEHP concentrations (pairwise comparisons using Benjamini–Hochberg adjustments: p = 0.0016 and p = 0.0059, respectively). MEHP detection also varied across spatial scales. Dolphins with detectable MEHP concentrations had ranges primarily within enclosed embayments, while dolphins with nondetectable MEHP concentrations extended into open waters, potentially indicating geographically linked exposure risk. This study suggests that researchers and management agencies should consider a population’s ranging pattern, geographic habitat characteristics, and sample timing when assessing small cetacean health in relation to contaminant exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Mammal Health)
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