Fort Bragg, CA, United States
Fort Bragg, CA, United States

Time filter

Source Type

News Article | April 7, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

A California sea lion in critical condition was rescued off the coast of Salt Spring Island on Monday. The animal is now under the care of Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. Locals say that it was in distress, lethargic, and just stayed in one place the whole time. "We had several reports of a male sea lion in distress on Salt Spring through the weekend," said Martin Haulena, head veterinarian of Vancouver Aquarium. Looking at the pictures they received, Haulena describes that the animal is in a very poor condition. It is so thin that the ribs and spine can be seen. It also suffered "massive weight loss." Together with the Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Haulena helped bring the animal from the coast to Vancouver Aquarium's rescue center to receive medical treatments. They then confirmed that the sea lion is a male, believed to be five to seven years old. Aquarium's staff are currently working to stabilize the animal. He is now being treated with gastric protectants, subcutaneous fluids, and antibiotics. However, it is still uncertain why the sea lion is in trouble. He will stay under observation and will have to undergo further examination. "The animal is in such poor condition that now is not the time to perform potentially stressful medical procedures," said Haulena. He added that it will be hard to target the treatment without diagnostic information. California sea lion, known for its playfulness, intelligence, social behavior and noisy barking, is a common animal found from British Columbia down to the southern part of Baja California. It has a steady growing population of approximately 238,000. Aside from Baja California and British Columbia, California sea lions can also be seen in Monterey, San Francisco, and Galapagos Islands. Sea lions are the most common patients of The Marine Mammal Center, a nonprofit veterinary research hospital and educational center devoted to rehabilitate and rescue ill and injured marine mammals. The common reasons why the sea lions are rescued are: toxicity, leptospirosis, pneumonia, cancer, entanglement on fishing gears, gunshots and malnutrition. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


Browning H.M.,University of St. Andrews | Gulland F.M.D.,The Marine Mammal Center | Hammond J.A.,The Pirbright Institute | Colegrove K.M.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Hall A.J.,University of St. Andrews
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2015

Naturally occurring cancers in non-laboratory species have great potential in helping to decipher the often complex causes of neoplasia. Wild animal models could add substantially to our understanding of carcinogenesis, particularly of genetic and environmental interactions, but they are currently underutilized. Studying neoplasia in wild animals is difficult and especially challenging in marinemammals owing to their inaccessibility, lack of exposure history, and ethical, logistical and legal limits on experimentation. Despite this, California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) offer an opportunity to investigate risk factors for neoplasia development that have implications for terrestrial mammals and humans who share much of their environment and diet. A relatively accessible California sea lion population on the west coast of the USA has a high prevalence of urogenital carcinoma and is regularly sampled during veterinary care in wildlife rehabilitation centres. Collaborative studies have revealed that genotype, persistent organic pollutants and a herpesvirus are all associated with this cancer. This paper reviews research to date on the epidemiology and pathogenesis of urogenital carcinoma in this species, and presents the California sea lion as an important and currently underexploited wild animal model of carcinogenesis. 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


News Article | December 15, 2015
Site: news.yahoo.com

California sea lion Blarney McCresty, that was treated for domoic acid toxicity, is seen during his rehabilitation at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California in this handout released to Reuters on December 14, 2015 courtesy of The Marine Mammal Center. REUTERS/The Marine Mammal Center/Handout via Reuters More WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A toxin produced by marine algae is inflicting brain damage on sea lions along California's coast, causing neurological and behavioral changes that can impair their ability to navigate in the sea and survive in the wild, scientists said on Monday. Brain scans on 30 California sea lions detected damage in the hippocampus, a brain structure associated with memory and spatial navigation, in animals naturally exposed to the toxin known as domoic acid, the researchers said. Domoic acid mimics glutamate, a chemical that transmits nerve impulses in the brain, and leads to over-activation of hippocampus nerve cells and chronic epilepsy, according to Emory University cognitive psychologist Peter Cook, who worked on the study while at the University of California-Santa Cruz. "The behavioral deficits accompanying brain damage with domoic acid are severe, and may negatively impact foraging and navigation in sea lions, driving strandings and mortality," Cook said. Hundreds of sea lions annually are found stranded on California beaches with signs of domoic acid poisoning such as disorientation and seizures. Thousands are thought to be exposed to the toxin. The microscopic algae, called Pseudo-nitzschia, responsible for the toxin occur naturally in coastal waters. Their blooms have become more frequent and severe in recent years. This year's bloom was the largest on record, reaching from Santa Barbara, California to Alaska. Ocean pollution from chemicals like fertilizers and warming ocean temperatures associated with global climate change are believed to contribute to bloom size and frequency. The toxin accumulates in shellfish and small fish that consume algae. Sea lions, other marine mammals and seabirds are exposed to it after eating those shellfish and fish. "Domoic acid-producing blooms have been in the environment for a very long time, but the current pattern of much larger and more frequent blooms causing more visible damage to marine animals has been going on since the 1980s," Cook said. Sea lions exposed to the toxin had greatly reduced connectivity between the hippocampus and the thalamus, a brain structure associated with sensory perception and regulation of motor functions. Those with hippocampus damage also performed worse on memory tasks such as one involving finding a food reward. "Hundreds of sea lions end up in stranding facilities each year. A great many of them do die although some can be rehabilitated and survive for some time in the wild," Cook said. The research was published in the journal Science.


News Article | December 15, 2015
Site: www.reuters.com

A normal California sea lion brain section (L) and California sea lion brain that has been affected by domoic acid exposure (R) with the shrunken hippocampus in the center of the brain section are shown in this undated image courtesy of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito,... California sea lion Blarney McCresty, that was treated for domoic acid toxicity, is seen during his rehabilitation at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California in this handout released to Reuters on December 14, 2015 courtesy of The Marine Mammal Center. Brain scans on 30 California sea lions detected damage in the hippocampus, a brain structure associated with memory and spatial navigation, in animals naturally exposed to the toxin known as domoic acid, the researchers said. Domoic acid mimics glutamate, a chemical that transmits nerve impulses in the brain, and leads to over-activation of hippocampus nerve cells and chronic epilepsy, according to Emory University cognitive psychologist Peter Cook, who worked on the study while at the University of California-Santa Cruz. "The behavioral deficits accompanying brain damage with domoic acid are severe, and may negatively impact foraging and navigation in sea lions, driving strandings and mortality," Cook said. Hundreds of sea lions annually are found stranded on California beaches with signs of domoic acid poisoning such as disorientation and seizures. Thousands are thought to be exposed to the toxin. The microscopic algae, called Pseudo-nitzschia, responsible for the toxin occur naturally in coastal waters. Their blooms have become more frequent and severe in recent years. This year's bloom was the largest on record, reaching from Santa Barbara, California to Alaska. Ocean pollution from chemicals like fertilizers and warming ocean temperatures associated with global climate change are believed to contribute to bloom size and frequency. The toxin accumulates in shellfish and small fish that consume algae. Sea lions, other marine mammals and seabirds are exposed to it after eating those shellfish and fish. "Domoic acid-producing blooms have been in the environment for a very long time, but the current pattern of much larger and more frequent blooms causing more visible damage to marine animals has been going on since the 1980s," Cook said. Sea lions exposed to the toxin had greatly reduced connectivity between the hippocampus and the thalamus, a brain structure associated with sensory perception and regulation of motor functions. Those with hippocampus damage also performed worse on memory tasks such as one involving finding a food reward. "Hundreds of sea lions end up in stranding facilities each year. A great many of them do die although some can be rehabilitated and survive for some time in the wild," Cook said. The research was published in the journal Science.


Buckmaster P.S.,Stanford University | Wen X.,Stanford University | Toyoda I.,Stanford University | Gulland F.M.D.,The Marine Mammal Center | Van Bonn W.,The Marine Mammal Center
Journal of Comparative Neurology | Year: 2014

California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) are abundant human-sized carnivores with large gyrencephalic brains. They develop epilepsy after experiencing status epilepticus when naturally exposed to domoic acid. We tested whether sea lions previously exposed to DA (chronic DA sea lions) display hippocampal neuropathology similar to that of human patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. Hippocampi were obtained from control and chronic DA sea lions. Stereology was used to estimate numbers of Nissl-stained neurons per hippocampus in the granule cell layer, hilus, and pyramidal cell layer of CA3, CA2, and CA1 subfields. Adjacent sections were processed for somatostatin immunoreactivity or Timm-stained, and the extent of mossy fiber sprouting was measured stereologically. Chronic DA sea lions displayed hippocampal neuron loss in patterns and extents similar but not identical to those reported previously for human patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. Similar to human patients, hippocampal sclerosis in sea lions was unilateral in 79% of cases, mossy fiber sprouting was a common neuropathological abnormality, and somatostatin-immunoreactive axons were exuberant in the dentate gyrus despite loss of immunopositive hilar neurons. Thus, hippocampal neuropathology of chronic DA sea lions is similar to that of human patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Jacobsen J.K.,Humboldt State University | Massey L.,Pacific Trawl and Supply Company | Gulland F.,The Marine Mammal Center
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2010

In 2008 two male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) stranded along the northern California coast with large amounts of fishing net scraps, rope, and other plastic debris in their stomachs. One animal had a ruptured stomach, the other was emaciated, and gastric impaction was suspected as the cause of both deaths. There were 134 different types of nets in these two animals, all made of floating material, varying in size from 10cm2 to about 16m2. The variability in size and age of the pieces suggests the material was ingested from the surface as debris rather than bitten off from active gear. These strandings demonstrate that ingestion of marine debris can be fatal to large whales, in addition to the well documented entanglements known to impact these species. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Van Bonn W.,The Marine Mammal Center | Dennison S.,Animal Scan | Cook P.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Fahlman A.,Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Frontiers in Physiology | Year: 2013

A yearling California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) was admitted into rehabilitation with signs of cerebellar pathology. Diagnostic imaging that included radiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated space-occupying lesions predominantly in the cerebellum that were filled partially by CSF-like fluid and partially by gas, and cerebral lesions that were fluid filled. Over a maximum period of 4 months, the brain lesions reduced in size and the gas resorbed and was replaced by CSF-like fluid. In humans, the cerebellum is known to be essential for automating practiced movement patterns (e.g., learning to touch-type), also known as procedural learning or the consolidation of "motor memory. "To test the animal in this study for motor memory deficits, an alternation task in a two-choice maze was utilized. The sea lion performed poorly similar to another case of pneumocere-bellum previously reported, and contrary to data acquired from a group of sea lions with specific hippocampal injury. The learning deficits were attributed to the cerebellar injury. These data provide important insight both to the clinical presentation and behavioral obser-vations of cerebellar injury in sea lions, as well as providing an initial model for long-term outcome following cerebellar injury. The specific etiology of the gas could not be deter-mined.The live status of the patient with recovery suggests that the most likely etiologies for the gas are either de novo formation or air emboli secondary to trauma. A small air gun pellet was present within and was removed from soft tissues adjacent to the tympanic bulla. While no evidence to support the pellet striking bone was found, altered dive pattern associated with this human interaction may have provided the opportunity for gas bubble formation to occur. The similarity in distribution of the gas bubble related lesions in this case compared with another previously published case of pneumocerebellum suggests that preferential perfusion of the brain, and more specifically the cerebellum, may occur during diving events. © 2013 Van Bonn, Dennison, Cook and Fahlman.


Moore S.E.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Gulland F.M.D.,The Marine Mammal Center
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2014

The 'New Normal' Arctic ecosystem and the reliance of indigenous people on marine mammals for subsistence makes urgent the need for a comprehensive marine mammal health monitoring program linked to regional ocean observing systems. An Arctic-focused Marine Mammal Health Map (MMHM) framework could be initiated via expansion and coordination between regional Ocean Observing Systems and Community-based Monitoring Programs. In the US, this approach would build upon three activities currently supported by the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS): ocean data access, community based monitoring and spatial tools for data visualization. The new MMHM framework would support a more holistic understanding of climate change impacts to ocean ecosystems, aid in the prioritization of management efforts to mitigate impacts to marine mammals and complement marine ecosystem monitoring programs fostered by the Arctic Council and UNESCO. Ultimately, we advocate for the inclusion of MMHM products as 'essential ocean variables' in the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Klosterhaus S.L.,San Francisco Estuary Institute | Stapleton H.M.,Duke University | La Guardia M.J.,Virginia Institute of Marine Science | Greig D.J.,The Marine Mammal Center
Environment International | Year: 2012

Restrictions on the use of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have resulted in the use of alternative flame retardants in consumer products to comply with flammability standards. In contrast to PBDEs, information on the occurrence and fate of these alternative compounds in the environment is limited, particularly in the United States. In this study, a survey of flame retardants in San Francisco Bay was conducted to evaluate whether PBDE replacement chemicals and other current use flame retardants were accumulating in the Bay food web. In addition to PBDEs, brominated and chlorinated flame retardants (hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and Dechlorane Plus (DP)) were detected in Bay sediments and wildlife. Median concentrations of PBDEs, HBCD, and DP, respectively, were 4.3, 0.3, and 0.2ngg-1 dry weight (dw) in sediments; 1670, <6.0, and 0.5ngg-1 lipid weight (lw) in white croaker (Genyonemus lineatus); 1860, 6.5, and 1.3ngg-1 lw in shiner surfperch (Cymatogaster aggregata); 5500, 37.4, and 0.9ngg-1 lw in eggs of double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus); 770, 7.1, and 0.9ngg-1 lw in harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) adults; and 330, 3.5, and <0.1ngg-1 lw in harbor seal (P. vitulina) pups. Two additional flame retardants, pentabromoethylbenzene (PBEB) and 1,2-bis(2,4,6 tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTBPE) were detected in sediments but with less frequency and at lower concentrations (median concentrations of 0.01 and 0.02ngg-1 dw, respectively) compared to the other flame retardants. PBEB was also detected in each of the adult harbor seals and in 83% of the pups (median concentrations 0.2 and 0.07ngg-1 lw, respectively). The flame retardants hexabromobenzene (HBB), decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE), bis(2-ethylhexyl) tetrabromophthalate (TBPH), and 2-ethylhexyl 2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB), were not detected in sediments and BTBPE, HBB and TBB were not detected in wildlife samples. Elevated concentrations of some flame retardants were likely associated with urbanization and Bay hydrodynamics. Compared to other locations, concentrations of PBDEs in Bay wildlife were comparable or higher, while concentrations of the alternatives were generally lower. This study is the first to determine concentrations of PBDE replacement products and other flame retardants in San Francisco Bay, providing some of the first data on the food web occurrence of these flame retardants in a North American urbanized estuary. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


News Article | November 23, 2015
Site: www.techtimes.com

A record number of northern fur seal pups have been found stranded on Northern California beaches and showing signs of malnutrition. The newly weaned seal pups are emaciated and weigh little more than the typical birth weight for their species, as assessed by experts. "They're adorable, but on the other hand they're these little bags of skin and bones," says Jeoff Boehm, executive director of the Marine Mammal Center near Sausalito, Calif. The center has reported taking in 85 young northern fur seals, which normally live in Pacific Ocean waters and on islands, but rarely seen on mainland beaches. "To have these guys up on our shores is the first sign they're not well," says Boehm. The previous record for stranded pups was 31 in 2006, the center says. Experts say the pups, likely between 4 and 5 months old, were probably born on the Channel Islands in Southern California or the Farallon Islands around 30 miles east of San Francisco. Experts say the undernourishment of the seals, also being seen in the region's sea lions, is the result of an unexpected band of warm water off the California coast. The atypical warmer water is preventing colder water rich in nutrients from rising to the surface, water that would normally carry a bounty of fish into the seal habitat. The scarcity of that food source means seal mothers must leave their pups alone for longer stretches while they search for food; the result is that both the mothers and their pups are underfed, Boehm explains. The El Niño weather pattern predicted for this winter in the equatorial Pacific waters could make the situation even worse, he says. "All the playbooks seem to be changing," he says. The stranded seals are just the latest in the series of events alarming conservationists. An "unusual mortality event" has been affecting California sea lions for almost a year, with sea lions – mostly pups – being found malnourished on the region's beaches. The Marine Mammal Center has taken in 1,344 sea lions since December of last year; by the end of this year, the number may surpass the record 1,356 taken in during 2009, Boehm says.

Loading The Marine Mammal Center collaborators
Loading The Marine Mammal Center collaborators