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Sarasota, FL, United States

Stacy B.A.,University of Florida | Foley A.M.,Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission | Greiner E.,University of Florida | Herbst L.H.,Yeshiva University | And 4 more authors.
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms | Year: 2010

Spirorchiid trematodes are implicated as an important cause of stranding and mortality in sea turtles worldwide. However, the impact of these parasites on sea turtle health is poorly understood due to biases in study populations and limited or missing data for some host species and regions, including the southeastern United States. We examined necropsy findings and parasitological data from 89 loggerhead Caretta caretta and 59 green turtles Chelonia mydas that were found dead or moribund (i.e. stranded) in Florida (USA) and evaluated the role of spirorchiidiasis in the cause of death. High prevalence of infection in the stranding population was observed, and most infections were regarded as incidental to the cause of death. Spirorchiidiasis was causal or contributory to death in some cases; however, notable host injury and/or large numbers of parasites were observed in some animals, including nutritionally robust turtles, with no apparent relationship to cause of death. New spirorchiid species records for the region were documented and identified genera included Neospirorchis, Hapalotrema, Carettacola, and Learedius. Parasites inhabited and were associated with injury and inflammation in a variety of anatomic locations, including large arteries, the central nervous system, endocrine organs, and the gastrointestinal tract. These findings provide essential information on the diversity of spirorchiids found in Florida sea turtles, as well as prevalence of infection and the spectrum of associated pathological lesions. Several areas of needed study are identified with regard to potential health implications in the turtle host, and findings caution against over-interpretation in individual cases. © Inter-Research 2010. Source

Fellner W.,The Seas | Bauer G.B.,New College of Florida | Bauer G.B.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Stamper S.A.,New College of Florida | And 4 more authors.
Marine Mammal Science | Year: 2013

The development of motor synchrony in dolphins has been described qualitatively, but seldom quantified. We provide a detailed description of the development of synchrony in 12 calves for periods ranging from birth to a few days up to 22 wk. We observed the presence of synchrony, relative positions, and proximity and undertook a videotape analysis of one calf for initiations/terminations of synchrony, response time to breaks in synchrony, and the development of complex behaviors by the calf relative to synchrony. Synchrony was uniformly present more than 90% of the time during month 1, then began to decline gradually. Echelon position was most frequent but calves also spent time in infant position. Initially all calves were most frequently in direct physical contact with their mothers, but by 2 wk of age, all pairs were more likely to be near each other (<0.5 m) without touching. Behavioral complexity increased gradually over the study, and adults frequently performed behaviors during synchronous swimming, providing opportunities for social learning. Synchrony is a predominant behavior in mother-calf interactions, and we speculate that it may be an important mechanism through which calves learn from their mothers via their tandem interactions with the environment. © 2012 by the Society for Marine Mammalogy. Source

Sneed J.M.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce | Sharp K.H.,Eckerd College | Ritchie K.B.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Paul V.J.,Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2014

Microbial biofilms induce larval settlement for some invertebrates, including corals; however, the chemical cues involved have rarely been identified. Here, we demonstrate the role of microbial biofilms in inducing larval settlement with the Caribbean coral Porites astreoides and report the first instance of a chemical cue isolated from a marine biofilm bacterium that induces complete settlement (attachment and metamorphosis) of Caribbean coral larvae. Larvae settled in response to natural biofilms, and the response was eliminated when biofilms were treated with antibiotics. A similar settlement response was elicited by monospecific biofilms of a single bacterial strain, Pseudoalteromonas sp. PS5, isolated from the surface biofilm of a crustose coralline alga. The activity of Pseudoalteromonas sp. PS5 was attributed to the production of a single compound, tetrabromopyrrole (TBP), which has been shown previously to induce metamorphosis without attachment in Pacific acroporid corals. In addition to inducing settlement of brooded larvae (P. astreoides), TBP also induced larval settlement for two broadcastspawning species, Orbicella (formerly Montastraea) franksi and Acropora palmata, indicating that this compound may have widespread importance among Caribbean coral species. © 2014 The Authors Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. Source

Tripp K.M.,Florida College | Verstegen J.P.,University of Florida | Deutsch C.J.,Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission | Bonde R.K.,U.S. Geological Survey | And 4 more authors.
Zoo Biology | Year: 2011

The study objectives were to determine the predominant manatee glucocorticoid; validate assays to measure this glucocorticoid and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH); determine diagnostic thresholds to distinguish physiological vs. pathological concentrations; identify differences associated with sex, age class, female reproductive status, capture time, and lactate; and determine the best methods for manatee biologists and clinicians to diagnose stress. Cortisol is the predominant manatee glucocorticoid. IMMULITE 1000 assays for cortisol and ACTH were validated. Precision yielded intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variation for serum cortisol: ≤23.5 and ≤16.7%; and ACTH: ≤6.9 and ≤8.5%. Accuracy resulted in a mean adjusted R2≥0.87 for serum cortisol and ≥0.96 for ACTH. Assay analytical sensitivities for cortisol (0.1μg/dl) and ACTH (10.0pg/ml) were verified. Methods were highly correlated with another IMMULITE 1000 for serum cortisol (r=0.97) and ACTH (r=0.98). There was no significant variation in cortisol or ACTH with sex or age class and no correlation with female progesterone concentrations. Cortisol concentrations were highest in unhealthy manatees, chronically stressed by disease or injury. ACTH was greatest in healthy free-ranging or short-term rehabilitating individuals, peracutely stressed by capture and handling. Cortisol concentrations ≥1.0μg/dl were diagnostic of chronic stress; ACTH concentrations ≥87.5pg/ml were diagnostic of peracute stress. In healthy long-term captive manatees, cortisol (0.4±0.2μg/dl) and ACTH (47.7±15.9pg/ml) concentrations were lower than healthy free-ranging, short-term rehabilitated or unhealthy manatees. Capture time was not significantly correlated with cortisol; ACTH correlation was borderline significant. Cortisol and ACTH were positively correlated with lactate. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Source

Martin K.J.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | Martin K.J.,University of South Florida | Martin K.J.,Loggerhead Marinelife Center | Alessi S.C.,Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Experimental Biology | Year: 2012

The purpose of this study was to compare underwater behavioral and auditory evoked potential (AEP) audiograms in a single captive adult loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). The behavioral audiogram was collected using a go/no-go response procedure and a modified staircase method of threshold determination. AEP thresholds were measured using subdermal electrodes placed beneath the frontoparietal scale, dorsal to the midbrain. Both methods showed the loggerhead sea turtle to have low frequency hearing with best sensitivity between 100 and 400 Hz. AEP testing yielded thresholds from 100 to 1131 Hz with best sensitivity at 200 and 400 Hz (110dBre.1 μPa). Behavioral testing using 2 s tonal stimuli yielded underwater thresholds from 50 to 800Hz with best sensitivity at 100Hz (98dBre.1 uPa). Behavioral thresholds averaged 8dB lower than AEP thresholds from 100 to 400Hz and 5dB higher at 800Hz. The results suggest that AEP testing can be a good alternative to measuring a behavioral audiogram with wild or untrained marine turtles and when time is a crucial factor. © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd. Source

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