000 Quail Drive

Baton Rouge, LA, United States

000 Quail Drive

Baton Rouge, LA, United States
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Hohn A.A.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Thomas L.,University of St. Andrews | Carmichael R.H.,Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory | Carmichael R.H.,University of South Alabama | And 9 more authors.
Endangered Species Research | Year: 2017

The potential for stranded dolphins to serve as a tool for monitoring free-ranging populations would be enhanced if their stocks of origin were known. We used stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur from skin to assign stranded bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus to different habitats, as a proxy for stocks (demographically independent populations), following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Model results from biopsy samples collected from dolphins from known habitats (n = 205) resulted in an 80.5% probability of correct assignment. These results were applied to data from stranded dolphins (n = 217), resulting in predicted assignment probabilities of 0.473, 0.172, and 0.355 to Estuarine, Barrier Island (BI), and Coastal stocks, respectively. Differences were found west and east of the Mississippi River, with more Coastal dolphins stranding in western Louisiana and more Estuarine dolphins stranding in Mississippi. Within the Estuarine East Stock, 2 groups were identified, one predominantly associated with Mississippi and Alabama estuaries and another with western Florida. δ15N values were higher in stranded samples for both Estuarine and BI stocks, potentially indicating nutritional stress. High probabilities of correct assignment of the biopsy samples indicate predictable variation in stable isotopes and fidelity to habitat. The power of δ34S to discriminate habitats relative to salinity was essential. Stable isotopes may provide guidance regarding where additional testing is warranted to confirm demographic independence and aid in determining the source habitat of stranded dolphins, thus increasing the value of biological data collected from stranded individuals. © Outside the USA the US Government 2017.

Wells R.S.,C o Mote Marine Laboratory | Schwacke L.H.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Rowles T.K.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Balmer B.C.,C o Mote Marine Laboratory | And 7 more authors.
Endangered Species Research | Year: 2017

Common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus were present in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, USA, before, during, and after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Health assessments conducted on dolphins in Barataria Bay in 2011, 2013, and 2014, after the capping of the well, found disease conditions consistent with petroleum hydrocarbon exposure and toxicity. Satellite-linked transmitters were affixed to dolphins during these health assessments for assessing the potential for continued exposure to petroleum-associated products, estimating survival rates, and planning potential restoration. In total, 44 tags were deployed, transmitting for 48 to 260 d. The dolphins exhibited multi-year site fidelity to small home ranges. Most tagged dolphin locations were inside the bay. On average, the dolphins that entered the Gulf coastal waters remained within 1.75 km of shore. No dolphins were documented more than 14 km beyond their 95% utilization distribution (UD) overall home ranges. Individual variation in the use of specific regions and habitats of Barataria Bay suggests the occurrence of community structure. All but 3 of the dolphins (93%) were tracked or observed during more than 1 yr in Barataria Bay, with 20 (45%) recorded each year from 2010 to 2014. All but 6 dolphins (86%) were tracked during multiple seasons. Home range sizes were comparable to those reported for bottlenose dolphins elsewhere. These findings suggest the occurrence of long-term, year-round residency. Residency patterns suggest potential for continued exposure to petroleum-associated products that may have remained in Barataria Bay after the spill. © Outside the USA the US Government 2017.

Smith C.R.,National Marine Mammal Foundation | Rowles T.K.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Hart L.B.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Hart L.B.,College of Charleston | And 14 more authors.
Endangered Species Research | Year: 2017

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) disaster resulted in large-scale oil contamination of the northern Gulf of Mexico. As part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment designed to investigate the potential impacts of the DWH oil spill, comprehensive health assessments were conducted on bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus living in oiled bays (Barataria Bay [BB], Louisiana, and Mississippi Sound [MS], Mississippi/Alabama) and a reference bay with no evidence of DWH oil contamination (Sarasota Bay [SB], Florida). As previously reported, multiple health issues were detected in BB dolphins during 2011. In the present study, follow-on capturerelease health assessments of BB dolphins were performed (2013, 2014) and indicated an overall improvement in population health, but demonstrated that pulmonary abnormalities and impaired stress response persisted for at least 4 yr after the DWH disaster. Specifically, moderate to severe lung disease remained elevated, and BB dolphins continued to release low levels of cortisol in the face of capture stress. The proportion of guarded or worse prognoses in BB improved over time, but 4 yr post-spill, they were still above the proportion seen in SB. Health assessments performed in MS in 2013 showed similar findings to BB, characterized by an elevated prevalence of low serum cortisol and moderate to severe lung disease. Prognosis scores for dolphins examined in MS in 2013 were similar to BB in 2013. Data from these follow-on studies confirmed that dolphins living in areas affected by the DWH spill were more likely to be ill; however, some improvement in population health has occurred over time. © Outside the USA the US Government 2017.

Reid C.,000 Quail Drive | Lewis M.J.,Louisiana State University in Shreveport
Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas | Year: 2014

A plant collecting excursion by boat on a ca. 50 km stretch of the Red River straddling the Arkansas-Louisiana state line yielded several interesting botanical discoveries. The second record of Loeflingia squarrosa from Arkansas was documented. Collections of Dalea lanata and Heliotropium convolvulaceum were made from both states. These collections extend the ranges of these taxa several hundred river-km downstream on the Red River. Our collections of D. lanata and H. convolvulaceum in Louisiana represent the first records of these species for that state.

Hoffmayer E.R.,University of Southern Mississippi | Hoffmayer E.R.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Franks J.S.,University of Southern Mississippi | Driggers III W.B.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | And 3 more authors.
Marine Biology | Year: 2014

The dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus) is the largest member of the genus Carcharhinus and inhabits coastal and pelagic ecosystems circumglobally in temperate, subtropical and tropical marine waters. In the western North Atlantic Ocean (WNA), dusky sharks are overfished and considered vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. As a result, retention of dusky sharks in commercial and recreational fisheries off the east coast of the United States (US) and in the northern Gulf of Mexico is prohibited. Despite the concerns regarding the status of dusky sharks in the WNA, little is known about their habitat utilization. During the summers of 2008-2009, pop-up satellite archival tags were attached to ten dusky sharks (one male, nine females) at a location where they have been observed to aggregate in the north central Gulf of Mexico southwest of the Mississippi River Delta to examine their movement patterns and habitat utilization. All tags successfully transmitted data with deployment durations ranging from 6 to 124 days. Tag data revealed shark movements in excess of 200 km from initial tagging locations, with sharks primarily utilizing offshore waters associated with the continental shelf edge from Desoto Canyon to the Texas/Mexican border. While most sharks remained in US waters, one individual moved from the northern Gulf of Mexico into the Bay of Campeche off the coast of Mexico. Sharks spent 87 % of their time between 20 and 125 m and 83 % of their time in waters between 23 and 30 °C. Since dusky sharks are among the most vulnerable shark species to fishing mortality, there is a recovery plan in place for US waters; however, since they have been shown to make long-distance migrations, a multi-national management plan within the WNA may be needed to ensure the successful recovery of this population. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA).

LaDouceur E.E.B.,Tufts University | Ernst J.,000 Quail Drive | Keel M.K.,University of Georgia
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2012

Multiple, nodular, pigmented masses protruding from the cornea and adjacent sclera of the left eye of a white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were diagnosed as choristomas (dermoids). Microscopically, the masses contained well-differentiated skin, cartilage, and bone. This appears to be the first report of a corneoscleral choristoma in a cervid. © Wildlife Disease Association 2012.

Rosel P.E.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Wilcox L.A.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Monteiro C.,415 Darnall Rd | Tumlin M.C.,000 Quail Drive
Marine Biodiversity Records | Year: 2016

Background: The Antarctic minke whale, Balaenoptera bonaerensis, is a Southern Hemisphere species of balaenopterid whale generally found south of 60°S in austral summer. In the Atlantic Ocean, they migrate north during austral winter as far as approximately 7°S. On 05 February, 2013, a 7.7 m baleen whale was observed floating dead off of Iberia Parish, Louisiana, USA in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Results: Genetic analysis of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences obtained from this animal determined that it was an Antarctic minke whale, Balaenoptera bonaerensis. Conclusion: This is the first record of an Antarctic minke whale in the Gulf of Mexico. © 2016 The Author(s).

Soniat T.M.,University of New Orleans | Cooper N.,University of New Orleans | Powell E.N.,University of Southern Mississippi | Klinck J.M.,Old Dominion University | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Shellfish Research | Year: 2014

Sustainability of a fishery is traditionally and typically considered achieved if the exploited population does not decline in numbers or biomass over time as a result of fishing relative to biological reference point goals. Oysters, however, exhibit atypical population dynamics compared with many other commercial species. The population dynamics often display extreme natural interannual variation in numbers and biomass, and oysters create their own habitat-the reef itself. With the worldwide decline of oyster reef habitat and the oyster fisheries dependent thereon, the maintenance of shell has received renewed attention as essential to population sustainability. We apply a shell budget model to estimate the sustainable catch of oysters on public oyster grounds in Louisiana using no net shell loss as a sustainability reference point. Oyster density and size are obtained from an annual stock assessment. The model simulates oyster growth and mortality, and natural shell loss. Shell mass is increased when oysters die in place, and is diminished when oysters are removed by fishing. The shell budget model has practical applications, such as identifying areas for closure, determining total allowable catch, managing shell planting and reef restoration, and achieving product certification for sustainability. The determination of sustainable yield by shell budget modeling should be broadly applicable to the eastern oyster across its entire range.

Walter S.T.,University of Louisiana at Lafayette | Carloss M.R.,000 Quail Drive | Hess T.J.,Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge | Athrey G.,University of Louisiana at Lafayette | And 2 more authors.
Condor | Year: 2013

Interest in monitoring the population viability of the Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) has recently risen in the context of the species' 2009 delisting as endangered, rapid degradation of nesting habitat, and recent oil spills. To assess the Brown Pelican's patterns of movement (across natal colony, nonnatal colony, and noncolony islands), age and sex structure, and survival probabilities, we banded 1177 chicks in Louisiana from 2007 to 2009. In band-resighting surveys within the Isles Dernieres archipelago from 2008 to 2010, we detected 92 of our banded birds. Neither age nor sex appeared to influence where we observed pelicans resting on beaches across the islands, and we found the highest proportions of pelicans at their natal island. Yet few observations of banded birds suggest either movement outside our study area or mortality. Conditions at colonies and proximity to other sites of loafing or colonies may in part explain the disparity in proportions of resightings of individuals banded on different islands. Finally, the apparent probability of survival of one-year-old pelicans was lower than that of two- and three-year olds. Insights into these trends in movement and survival of young Brown Pelicans can improve future management of colony sites. © 2013 by The Cooper Ornithological Society.

Walter S.T.,University of Louisiana at Lafayette | Walter S.T.,Tulane University | Carloss M.R.,000 Quail Drive | Hess T.J.,Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge | And 3 more authors.
Waterbirds | Year: 2013

Within the context of a limited number of Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) breeding sites, promoting new colonies can mitigate localized threats to regional populations. To assess the efficacy of short-distance (∼5 km) translocations and use of decoys to establish new colonies, and thereby increase statewide population viability, research was conducted within the Isles Dernieres archipelago, Louisiana. Translocations of 323 Brown Pelican chicks to an un-colonized island were performed from 2007 to 2009, and from 2008 to 2010, 108 Brown Pelican decoys were deployed on a separate island void of nesting. From 2008 to 2010 band re-sighting surveys detected only one transplanted Brown Pelican chick that returned to the release site. Further, < 1 % of translocated individuals were observed throughout the archipelago, compared to 5% and 9% of banded individuals encountered that fledged from nearby islands. Low detection of translocated Brown Pelicans may be due to translocation stress that can result in disorientation and social disorganization, which may promote increased roaming. At sites with decoys, no loafing or nesting Brown Pelicans were observed. Further, behavioral surveys suggest there was no difference in interest of passing Brown Pelicans to decoys compared to paired control survey areas without decoys. Despite past successes of translocations and decoys for establishing new colonies of Brown Pelicans and other waterbird species, Brown Pelican conservation may be best promoted via restoration and protection of current colony sites.

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