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Dove A.D.M.,Georgia Aquarium Research Center
Zoo Biology | Year: 2013

This essay explores the potential of metabolomics for exotic animal research in a zoological setting. Metabolomics is a suite of analytical tools aimed at gaining a holistic understanding of animal metabolism without prior knowledge of the compounds to be measured. These metabolic fingerprints can be used to define normal metabolism for an unstudied species, to characterize the metabolic deviation of diseased animals from the normal state over time, to identify biomarker compounds that best capture such deviations, and to measure the metabolic impact of clinical and nutritional interventions. Two approaches, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometry (MS) provide large amounts of complimentary pure and applied biological data. Metabolomic methods hold great potential for researchers, clinicians, and nutritionists studying exotic and aquatic animals because they can produce a huge data return on research effort, and because they do not require much a priori knowledge of the animals' metabolism, which is so often then case in zoological settings. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Fair P.A.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Schaefer A.M.,Florida Atlantic University | Bossart G.D.,Florida Atlantic University | Bossart G.D.,Georgia Aquarium Research Center | And 2 more authors.
General and Comparative Endocrinology | Year: 2014

There is a growing concern about the impacts of stress in marine mammals as they face a greater array of threats. The stress response of free-ranging dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) was examined by measuring their physiologic response to capture and handling. Samples were collected from 168 dolphins during capture-release health assessments 2003-2007 at two study sites: Charleston, SC (CHS) and the Indian River Lagoon, FL (IRL). Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol, aldosterone (ALD) and catecholamines (epinephrine (EPI), norepinephrine (NOR), dopamine (DA)), were measured in blood and cortisol in urine. Mean time to collect pre-examination samples after netting the animals was 22. min; post-examination samples were taken prior to release (mean 1. h 37. min). EPI and DA concentrations decreased significantly with increased time to blood sampling. ACTH and cortisol levels increased from the initial capture event to the post-examination sample. EPI concentrations increased significantly with increasing time to the pre-examination sample and decreased significantly with time between the pre- and post-examination sample. Cortisol concentrations increased between the pre- and post-examination in CHS dolphins. Age- and sex-adjusted mean pre-examination values of catecholamines were significantly higher in CHS dolphins; ALD was higher in IRL dolphins. Significant differences related to age or sex included higher NOR concentrations in males; higher ALD and urine cortisol levels in juveniles than adults. Wild dolphins exhibited a typical mammalian response to acute stress of capture and restraint. Further studies that relate hormone levels to biological and health endpoints are warranted. © 2014. Source

Cipriano R.C.,U.S. Geological Survey | Smith M.L.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Vermeersch K.A.,Georgia Institute of Technology | Dove A.D.M.,Georgia Aquarium Research Center | Styczynski M.P.,Georgia Institute of Technology
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part D: Genomics and Proteomics | Year: 2015

Atlantic salmon Salmo salar undergo months-long inappetence during spawning, but it is not known whether this inappetence is a pathological state or one for which the fish are adapted. Recent work has shown that inappetent whale sharks can exhibit circulating metabolite profiles similar to ketosis known to occur in humans during starvation. In this work, metabolite profiling was used to explore differences in analyte profiles between a cohort of inappetent spawning run Atlantic salmon and captively reared animals that were fed up to and through the time of sampling. The two classes of animals were easily distinguished by their metabolite profiles. The sea-run fish had elevated ω-9 fatty acids relative to the domestic feeding animals, while other fatty acid concentrations were reduced. Sugar alcohols were generally elevated in inappetent animals, suggesting potentially novel metabolic responses or pathways in fish that feature these compounds. Compounds expected to indicate a pathological catabolic state were not more abundant in the sea-run fish, suggesting that the animals, while inappetent, were not stressed in an unnatural way. These findings demonstrate the power of discovery-based metabolomics for exploring biochemistry in poorly understood animal models. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Source

Alam M.T.,Emory University | Petit R.A.,Emory University | Read T.D.,Emory University | Dove A.D.M.,Georgia Aquarium Research Center
Gene | Year: 2014

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest extant species of fish, belonging to the order Orectolobiformes. It is listed as a "vulnerable" species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List of Threatened Species, which makes it an important species for conservation efforts. We report here the first complete sequence of the mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) of the whale shark obtained by next-generation sequencing methods. The assembled mitogenome is a 16,875. bp circle, comprising of 13 protein-coding genes, two rRNA genes, 22 tRNA genes and a control region. We also performed comparative analysis of the whale shark mitogenome to the available mitogenome sequences of 17 other shark species, four from the order Orectolobiformes, five from Lamniformes and eight from Carcharhiniformes. The nucleotide composition, number and arrangement of the genes in whale shark mitogenome are the same as found in the mitogenomes of the other members of the order Orectolobiformes and its closest orders Lamniformes and Carcharhiniformes, although the whale shark mitogenome had a slightly longer control region. The availability of mitogenome sequence of whale shark will aid studies of molecular systematics, biogeography, genetic differentiation, and conservation genetics in this species. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

Haman K.H.,University of Georgia | Haman K.H.,Tufts University | Norton T.M.,Georgia Sea Turtle Center | Thomas A.C.,University of British Columbia | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2012

Sharks are of commercial, research, conservation, and exhibition importance but we know little regarding health parameters and population status for many species. Here we present health indicators and species comparisons for adults of three common wild-caught species: 30 Atlantic sharpnose sharks (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae) and 31 bonnethead sharks (Sphyrna tiburo) from the western Atlantic, and 30 spiny dogfish sharks (Squalus acanthias) from the eastern Pacific. All animals were captured during June-July 2009 and 2010. Median values and preliminary reference intervals were calculated for hematology, plasma biochemistry, trace nutrients, and vitamin A, E, and D concentrations. Significant differences, attributable to physiologic differences among the species, were found in the basic hematologic and plasma biochemistry variables. Significant species differences in arsenic and selenium plasma concentrations were found and appear to coincide with diet and habitat variability among these three species. Vitamin E was significantly higher in the bonnethead shark, again related to the foraging ecology and ingestion of plant material by this species. The Atlantic sharpnose had significantly higher vitamin A concentrations, supported by the higher proportion of teleosts in the diet. Vitamin D was below the limit of quantification in all three species. These preliminary reference intervals for health variables can be used to assess and monitor the population health and serve as indicators of nutritional status in these populations of wild elasmobranchs. © Wildlife Disease Association 2012. Source

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