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Key Largo, FL, United States

Wells R.S.,Sarasota Dolphin Research Program | Fougeres E.M.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Cooper A.G.,Marine Mammal Conservancy | Stevens R.O.,Marine Mammal Conservancy | And 4 more authors.
Aquatic Mammals | Year: 2013

Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) are among the most common cetaceans to engage in mass strandings in the southeastern United States. Because these are primarily pelagic, continental shelf-edge animals, much of what is known about this species has derived from mass stranding events. Post-release monitoring via satellite-linked telemetry was conducted with two adult males determined on-site to be healthy, and released directly from a mass stranding of 23 pilot whales in May 2011, near Cudjoe Key, Florida. Tracking provided an opportunity to evaluate the decision for immediate release vs rehabilitation, and to learn more about the lives of members of this difficult-to-study species in the wild. The two pilot whales remained together for at least 16 d before transmissions from one pilot whale (Y-404) ceased. Dive patterns and travel rates suggested that Y-404's condition deteriorated prior to signal loss. Pilot Whale Y-400 was tracked for another 51 d, moving from the Blake Plateau to the Greater Antilles, remaining in the Windward Passage east of Cuba for the last 17 d of tracking. Once he reached the Antilles, Y-400 remained in high-relief habitat appropriate for the species and made dives within or exceeding the reported range for depth and duration for this species, following expected diel patterns, presumably reflecting continued good health. Telemetry data indicate that he made at least one dive to 1,000 to 1,500 m, and several dives lasted more than 40 min. Although the fates of the two released pilot whales may have been different, the concept of evaluating health and releasing individuals determined to be healthy at the time of stranding appears to have merit as an alternative to bringing all members of mass-stranded pilot whale groups into rehabilitation. Source


Greenhow D.R.,University of South Florida | Greenhow D.R.,University of Southern Mississippi | Brodsky M.C.,Micah Brodsky | Lingenfelser R.G.,Marine Mammal Conservancy | Mann D.A.,University of South Florida
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2014

On May 5, 2011, 23 short-finned pilot whales, Globicephala macrorhynchus, were stranded along the coastline near Cudjoe Key, FL. Five animals (two adult females, two juvenile females, and an adult male) were transported to a rehabilitation facility in Key Largo, FL. Auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) were recorded in response to amplitude modulated tone pips modulated at 1000 Hz. AEP thresholds were determined at 10, 20, 40, 80, and 120 kHz for the four females. However, the adult male was euthanized prior to testing. Short-finned pilot whales had peak sensitivity at lower frequencies than other odontocetes such as bottlenose dolphins. Greatest sensitivity was around 40 kHz for all whales, while thresholds for the two adult females were 25-61 dB higher at 80 kHz than the juveniles. Click evoked potentials were similar between the four whales and comparable to other echolocating odontocetes. Click evoked potential data from a fifth short-finned pilot whale that had stranded in Curacao showed no response. These findings add to the limited database of pilot whale (short- and long-finned) hearing studies, of which there are only two others [Schlundt et al. (2011). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 129, 1111-1116 and Pacini et al. (2010). J. Exp. Biol. 213, 3138-3143]. © 2014 Acoustical Society of America. Source


Mann D.,University of South Florida | Mann D.,Mote Marine Laboratory | Hill-Cook M.,Portland State University | Manire C.,Mote Marine Laboratory | And 16 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

The causes of dolphin and whale stranding can often be difficult to determine. Because toothed whales rely on echolocation for orientation and feeding, hearing deficits could lead to stranding. We report on the results of auditory evoked potential measurements from eight species of odontocete cetaceans that were found stranded or severely entangled in fishing gear during the period 2004 through 2009. Approximately 57% of the bottlenose dolphins and 36% of the rough-toothed dolphins had significant hearing deficits with a reduction in sensitivity equivalent to severe (70-90 dB) or profound (>90 dB) hearing loss in humans. The only stranded short-finned pilot whale examined had profound hearing loss. No impairments were detected in seven Risso's dolphins from three different stranding events, two pygmy killer whales, one Atlantic spotted dolphin, one spinner dolphin, or a juvenile Gervais' beaked whale. Hearing impairment could play a significant role in some cetacean stranding events, and the hearing of all cetaceans in rehabilitation should be tested. © 2010 Mann et al. Source

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