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Kudlai O.,Nature Research Center | Kostadinova A.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Pulis E.E.,Institute for Marine Mammal Studies | Tkach V.V.,University of North Dakota
Systematic Parasitology | Year: 2015

Drepanocephalus auritus n. sp. is described based on specimens from the double-crested cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus (Lesson) in North America. The new species differs from its congeners in its very narrow, elongate body, long uterine field and widely separated testes. Sequences of the nuclear rRNA gene cluster, spanning the 3′ end of the nuclear ribosomal 18S rRNA gene, internal transcribed spacer region (ITS1+5.8S gene+ITS2) and partial 28S gene (2,345 bp), were identical in specimens collected from North Dakota, Minnesota and Mississippi, USA. Sequences of the 651 bp long fragment of the mitochondrial cox1 gene exhibited very low intraspecific variability (< 1%). Comparisons of the newly-generated sequences with those available in the GenBank indicate that the sequences from North America published under the name D. spathans Dietz, 1909 in fact represent D. auritus n. sp. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Kudlai O.,Nature Research Center | Tkach V.V.,University of North Dakota | Pulis E.E.,Institute for Marine Mammal Studies | Kostadinova A.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Systematic Parasitology | Year: 2015

Euparyphium capitaneum Dietz, 1909, the type-species of the genus Euparyphium Dietz, 1909, is described on the basis of material collected from the type-host Anhinga anhinga (L.) from Pascagoula River, which drains into the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Combination of light and scanning electron microscopy observations of freshly collected and properly fixed specimens in our study has allowed us to provide novel information on the morphology and topology of the reproductive systems and other morphological features of the species. A Bayesian inference analysis based on the newly-obtained partial sequence of the nuclear 28S rRNA gene for E. capitaneum and 24 previously published sequences from the superfamily Echinostomatoidea Looss, 1899 provided evidence supporting the distinct status of the genera Euparyphium and Isthmiophora Lühe, 1909. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


PubMed | Florida Institute of Technology, Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Carolina National, Marine Mammal Pathology Services and 8 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

A northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM) cetacean unusual mortality event (UME) involving primarily bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama began in February 2010 and continued into 2014. Overlapping in time and space with this UME was the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill, which was proposed as a contributing cause of adrenal disease, lung disease, and poor health in live dolphins examined during 2011 in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. To assess potential contributing factors and causes of deaths for stranded UME dolphins from June 2010 through December 2012, lung and adrenal gland tissues were histologically evaluated from 46 fresh dead non-perinatal carcasses that stranded in Louisiana (including 22 from Barataria Bay), Mississippi, and Alabama. UME dolphins were tested for evidence of biotoxicosis, morbillivirus infection, and brucellosis. Results were compared to up to 106 fresh dead stranded dolphins from outside the UME area or prior to the DWH spill. UME dolphins were more likely to have primary bacterial pneumonia (22% compared to 2% in non-UME dolphins, P = .003) and thin adrenal cortices (33% compared to 7% in non-UME dolphins, P = .003). In 70% of UME dolphins with primary bacterial pneumonia, the condition either caused or contributed significantly to death. Brucellosis and morbillivirus infections were detected in 7% and 11% of UME dolphins, respectively, and biotoxin levels were low or below the detection limit, indicating that these were not primary causes of the current UME. The rare, life-threatening, and chronic adrenal gland and lung diseases identified in stranded UME dolphins are consistent with exposure to petroleum compounds as seen in other mammals. Exposure of dolphins to elevated petroleum compounds present in coastal GoM waters during and after the DWH oil spill is proposed as a cause of adrenal and lung disease and as a contributor to increased dolphin deaths.


PubMed | Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Gulf, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and 5 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

A multi-year unusual mortality event (UME) involving primarily common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates) was declared in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM) with an initial start date of February 2010 and remains ongoing as of August 2014. To examine potential changing characteristics of the UME over time, we compared the number and demographics of dolphin strandings from January 2010 through June 2013 across the entire GoM as well as against baseline (1990-2009) GoM stranding patterns. Years 2010 and 2011 had the highest annual number of stranded dolphins since Louisianas record began, and 2011 was one of the years with the highest strandings for both Mississippi and Alabama. Statewide, annual numbers of stranded dolphins were not elevated for GoM coasts of Florida or Texas during the UME period. Demographic, spatial, and temporal clusters identified within this UME included increased strandings in northern coastal Louisiana and Mississippi (March-May 2010); Barataria Bay, Louisiana (August 2010-December 2011); Mississippi and Alabama (2011, including a high prevalence and number of stranded perinates); and multiple GoM states during early 2013. While the causes of the GoM UME have not been determined, the location and magnitude of dolphin strandings during and the year following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including the Barataria Bay cluster from August 2010 to December 2011, overlap in time and space with locations that received heavy and prolonged oiling. There are, however, multiple known causes of previous GoM dolphin UMEs, including brevetoxicosis and dolphin morbillivirus. Additionally, increased dolphin strandings occurred in northern Louisiana and Mississippi before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Identification of spatial, temporal, and demographic clusters within the UME suggest that this mortality event may involve different contributing factors varying by location, time, and bottlenose dolphin populations that will be better discerned by incorporating diagnostic information, including histopathology.


Smith C.E.,University of Southern Mississippi | Hurley B.J.,George Mason University | Toms C.N.,University of Southern Mississippi | Mackey A.D.,University of Southern Mississippi | And 2 more authors.
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2013

Acute catastrophic events, such as hurricanes, have various degrees of impact on marine mammal populations. Although changes in environmental conditions of affected areas have been examined for many storms, little attention has been given to the ecological effects on top-level predators. A longitudinal study on bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus behavior and distribution in Mississippi Sound has been ongoing since 2003, allowing the unique opportunity to examine the impacts of the passage of Hurricane Katrina on this coastal dolphin population. Previous research showed an increase in reproductive rates within this population following Hurricane Katrina, most likely due to an increase in prey density following the sharp decline in commercial fishing efforts. In this paper, the frequency and distribution of dolphin foraging encounters in Mississippi Sound were examined from 2003 to 2009, revealing both short- and potentially long-term effects on dolphin foraging patterns following the hurricane. A pulse in dolphin foraging encounters was observed, which increased by ~15% in the 2 yr following the hurricane before returning to pre-Katrina levels. Statistically significant hot spots were identified through the use of the Getis-Ord Gi* hot spot analysis and revealed spatial shifts in foraging habitat consistent with prey selectivity. The results of this study support previous findings that coastal bottlenose dolphins in the southeastern United States are selective feeders, preferring to forage in deeper water known for soniferous prey species. Furthermore, this study presents important baseline information for future studies investigating other acute catastrophic events in Mississippi Sound, such as cumulative impacts following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. © Inter-Research 2013.


Miller L.J.,University of Southern Mississippi | Miller L.J.,Institute for Conservation Research | Mackey A.D.,University of Southern Mississippi | Solangi M.,Institute for Marine Mammal Studies | Kuczaj S.A.,University of Southern Mississippi
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2013

Distance sampling principles were utilized to examine population density and abundance for bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Mississippi Sound. Information was collected during summer and winter to allow for examination of habitat utilization and abundance during two different seasons. Within the study area of the Mississippi Sound there are approximately 2225 bottlenose dolphins. The population was larger during the summer than during the winter months. Dolphins utilized coastal areas more during the summer, potentially as nursery grounds, as evidenced by larger numbers of calves and percentage of groups containing calves during this time. Bottlenose dolphin densities were lower in this area during the winter suggesting migration to deeper waters potentially in search of prey. As the Mississippi Sound is regularly utilized for a variety of human activities, the monitoring of dolphin populations in this area is critical to determine increasing or decreasing trends in population abundance due to potential anthropogenic factors that may affect animal populations. Similar studies around the world could provide evidence for areas that could be protected to ensure survival of species such as dolphins and other marine mammals. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Hernandez E.N.,Francis Marion University | Solangi M.,Institute for Marine Mammal Studies | Kuczaj II S.A.,University of Southern Mississippi
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2010

Acoustic characteristics related to contour of the whistle (such as highest and lowest frequency, beginning and ending frequency, whistle duration, and number of turns) of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) whistles were measured to test whether any of the measurements were related to the behavioral state of the dolphins when the whistle was recorded (coded as mill, travel, mill/travel, feed, or social). Objective measures of time and frequency were obtained using Raven, while number of turns in a whistle was determined by human raters. In all a series of discriminant function analyses using the acoustic characteristics to predict the behavioral state, the highest standardized canonical discriminant function coefficients were: lowest frequency, number of turns, and duration. The models that incorporated these variables performed significantly better than chance at correctly assigning the whistles into the surface behavior category in which they were recorded. The rate of whistling was related to group size, surface behavior and season via a series of two-way ANOVAs (analysis of variance). © 2010 Acoustical Society of America.


Miller L.J.,University of Southern Mississippi | Miller L.J.,San Diego Zoos Institute for Conservation Research | Solangi M.,Institute for Marine Mammal Studies | Kuczaj II S.A.,University of Southern Mississippi
Ethology | Year: 2010

Many of the threats to bottlenose dolphins are anthropogenic factors including overfishing, high-speed boats, chemical runoff, and noise pollution. Having a thorough understanding of the behavior and behavioral patterns of these animals can help with conservation plans to protect this species. This study examined the behavioral states and behavioral events of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Mississippi Sound. The behavioral states exhibited by dolphins within the Sound were found to vary by both season and time of day. Dolphins socialized more during the spring and spent more time feeding in the fall. Feeding was highest early in the morning and decreased throughout the day, while socializing occurred at low levels in the morning and increased in the early afternoon. Two distinct forms of social behavior and multiple feeding strategies were exhibited by dolphins within the Sound. Results suggest that certain percussive behavioral events may be used to communicate motivation during transitional behavioral states. These results demonstrate the need for a more complete understanding of dolphin behavior that will facilitate the conservation of this species. © 2010 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


PubMed | University of North Dakota, Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Systematic parasitology | Year: 2017

Three new psilostomid genera, Byrdtrema n. g., Longisaccus n. g. and Macracetabulum n. g., each with a single species, are described from ducks, Aix sponsa (L.) and Bucephala albeola (L.) in North America. Byrdtrema n. g. and Macracetabulum n. g. possess a bipartite seminal vesicle and share this character with four psilostomid genera, Grysoma Byrd, Bogitsh & Maples, 1961, Neopsilotrema Kudlai, Pulis, Kostadinova & Tkach, 2016, Psilostomum Looss, 1899 and Psilotornus Byrd & Prestwood, 1969. Byrdtrema n. g. differs from Macracetabulum n. g. in the shape of the body (elongate vs elongate-oval); the position of the ventral sucker (in first third of body vs just pre-equatorial); the shorter forebody; as well as in the smaller size of the eggs in relation to body length. Both new genera differ from (i) Grysoma by the nature of the vitellarium (large, compact follicles with small vitelline cells vs weakly defined follicles with large vitelline cells, respectively) and the smaller size of the eggs in relation to body length; (ii) Psilostomum in the posterior extend of the cirrus-sac in relation to ventral sucker (slightly posterior vs more posterior), the location of the genital pore (at the level of oesophagus vs just postbifurcal), the shorter length of uterine and longer post-testicular fields in relation to body length, and the anterior limits of vitellarium (at the level of ventral sucker vs posterior to ventral sucker); (iii) Psilotornus by the presence of a muscular pharynx (vs absent or rudimentary) and the location of the cirrus-sac (antero-dorsal to ventral sucker or more posterior vs entirely anterior to ventral sucker) and ovary (in hindbody vs in forebody). Byrdtrema n. g. differs from Neopsilotrema in the shape of the body (elongate vs subspherical to elongate-oval) and ventral sucker (elongate-oval vs subspherical to transversely oval), the shorter forebody and smaller eggs in relation to body length. Macracetabulum n. g. differs from Neopsilotrema by the shape of the ventral sucker (elongate-oval vs subspherical to transversely oval), the anterior limits of vitellarium (level of middle of ventral sucker vs level of intestinal bifurcation or anterior testis); and the slightly smaller size of eggs in relation to body length. Among the psilostomid genera, Longisaccus n. g. shows close affinities to Psilochasmus Lhe, 1909 in the presence of the long cirrus-sac and tubular internal seminal vesicle but can be clearly distinguished from the latter by the absence of the retractile tail-like process. In combination with molecular data, the above differences justify the recognition of three new genera. A key to the genera of the Psilostomidae is provided.


PubMed | University of North Dakota, Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Systematic parasitology | Year: 2016

Neopsilotrema n. g. (Digenea: Psilostomidae) and three new species of psilostomid digeneans are described from birds in North America and Europe: Neopsilotrema lakotae n. sp. from Aythya americana (Eyton) in North Dakota, USA, Neopsilotrema affine n. sp. from Aythya affinis (Eyton) in Minnesota, USA and Neopsilotrema lisitsynae n. sp. from Anas crecca L. in Kherson Region, Ukraine. Neopsilotrema n. g. shares a bipartite seminal vesicle with only three genera within the Psilostomidae, Psilotornus Byrd & Prestwood, 1969, Psilostomum Looss, 1899 and Grysoma Byrd, Bogitsh & Maples, 1961. The new genus differs from Psilotornus in the presence of a muscular pharynx and a massive ventral sucker; the location of the cirrus-sac in relation to the ventral sucker and more posterior location of ovary; the nature of the vitellarium (i.e. comprising large, compact follicles with small vitelline cells vs weakly defined follicles with large vitelline cells); a proportionately shorter forebody; and in parasitisation in anseriform (vs passeriform) birds. Differences between the new genus and Psilostomum comprise the shape of the body, the relative size of the suckers, somewhat longer forebody and a more anterior location of the testes. Neopsilotrema n. g. differs from Grysoma in the relative size of the suckers, the degree of development of prostatic cells, the nature of the vitellarium and the size of the eggs in relation to body length. The European species Neopsilotrema lisitsynae n. sp. is distinguished from its congeners in having a longer, narrower and distinctly more elongate body with a longer post-testicular region and anterior limits of the vitelline fields posterior to ventral sucker. The two North American forms, Neopsilotrema lakotae n. sp. and Neopsilotrema affine n. sp., are cryptic species with largely overlapping metrical data; these are distinguished by comparing genetic data. The phylogenetic hypotheses for the Psilostomidae developed from sequence data analyses based on partial 28S rDNA support the erection of the new genus and the distinction of the three new species. Grysoma marilae (Price, 1942) agrees more closely with the generic diagnosis of Neopsilotrema, especially in relation to the size and shape of the body, the relative length of the forebody and post-testicular field, the structure of the vitellarium, the location of the reproductive organs and the sucker ratio. Consequently, it is here transferred to the new genus as Neopsilotrema marilae (Price, 1942) n. comb.

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