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Davison N.J.,Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency | Barnett J.E.F.,Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency | Dawson C.E.,Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme | Perkins M.W.,UK Institute of Zoology | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2013

Brucella species infection in marine mammal species has been reported to have a global distribution. In 2007, the description of Brucella ceti was published and formally adopted for those isolates originating from cetaceans and pathologic lesions similar to those seen in terrestrial mammals infected with Brucella spp. have been associated with its isolation. Brucella ceti infection specific to the central nervous system has been described in two species of cetacean: striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) in Europe and Costa Rica and an Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus) in the UK. We describe the first report, to our knowledge, of B. ceti-associated meningitis and arthritis in a third species, the shortbeaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), in an animal that stranded in the UK. © Wildlife Disease Association 2013. Source

Brown T.A.,University of Plymouth | Belt S.T.,University of Plymouth | Ferguson S.H.,Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans | Yurkowski D.J.,University of Windsor | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology | Year: 2013

Marine mammals are often the top predators in a given food web; however, since these animals spend much of their time underwater and often away from the coast, this potentially limits our ability to obtain a complete ecological understanding of these important animals, including the determination of their dietary preferences and adaptations. Recently, the analysis of so-called highly branched isoprenoid (HBI) lipids from marine diatoms has provided new insights into the feeding habits of lower trophic level marine animals. In the present study, we extended this approach to higher trophic levels by examining for the presence of these marine diatom HBI biomarkers in seven marine mammal species from both Arctic and temperate regions.Analysis of sub-samples of the livers of Arctic marine mammals revealed the presence of the sea ice diatom biomarker IP25, thus providing evidence for trophic transfer of this lipid from sea ice algae. Our analysis also demonstrated the occurrence of additional HBI lipids in both Arctic and Atlantic marine mammals that are likely indicative of trophic transfer from phytoplanktic diatoms. Although the reasons for the highly variable abundances of the HBIs in individual specimens are uncertain at this stage, the differences in the relative distributions of the individual HBI isomers in mammals from the Arctic and the Atlantic, suggests that these have the potential to provide novel information regarding different dietary sources from the two regions. Further, our analyses demonstrate that HBIs are distributed homogeneously within striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) liver tissue, thus validating the sub-sampling technique employed for other specimens here. Validation of this sampling technique also provides the necessary confidence to facilitate advancement of the study of HBIs in large marine mammals. © 2013. Source

Murphy S.,UK Institute of Zoology | Barber J.L.,Center for Environment | Learmonth J.A.,University of Aberdeen | Read F.L.,University of Aberdeen | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Reproductive failure in mammals due to exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can occur either through endocrine disrupting effects or via immunosuppression and increased disease risk. To investigate further, full necropsies and determination of summed 25 polychlorinated biphenyls congeners (ΣPCBs lipid weight) in blubber were undertaken on 329 UK-stranded female harbour porpoises (1990-2012). In sexually mature females, 25/127 (19.7%) showed direct evidence of reproductive failure (foetal death, aborting, dystocia or stillbirth). A further 21/127 (16.5%) had infections of the reproductive tract or tumours of reproductive tract tissues that could contribute to reproductive failure. Resting mature females (non-lactating or non-pregnant) had significantly higher mean ΣPCBs (18.5 mg/kg) than both lactating (7.5 mg/kg) and pregnant females (6 mg/kg), though not significantly different to sexually immature females (14.0 mg/kg). Using multinomial logistic regression models ΣPCBs was found to be a significant predictor of mature female reproductive status, adjusting for the effects of confounding variables. Resting females were more likely to have a higher PCB burden. Health status (proxied by "trauma" or "infectious disease" causes of death) was also a significant predictor, with lactating females (i.e. who successfully reproduced) more likely to be in good health status compared to other individuals. Based on contaminant profiles (>11 mg/kg lipid), at least 29/60 (48%) of resting females had not offloaded their pollutant burden via gestation and primarily lactation. Where data were available, these non-offloading females were previously gravid, which suggests foetal or newborn mortality. Furthermore, a lower pregnancy rate of 50% was estimated for "healthy" females that died of traumatic causes of death, compared to other populations. Whether or not PCBs are part of an underlying mechanism, we used individual PCB burdens to show further evidence of reproductive failure in the North-east Atlantic harbour porpoise population, results that should inform conservation management. © 2015 Murphy et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

Baily J.L.,Moredun Research Institute | Baily J.L.,University of St. Andrews | Baily J.L.,University of Edinburgh | Foster G.,Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme | And 8 more authors.
Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2016

Microbial pollution of the marine environment through land-sea transfer of human and livestock pathogens is of concern. Salmonella was isolated from rectal swabs of free-ranging and stranded grey seal pups (21.1%; 37/175) and compared with strains from the same serovars isolated from human clinical cases, livestock, wild mammals and birds in Scotland, UK to characterize possible transmission routes using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multi-locus variable number of tandem repeat analyses. A higher prevalence of Salmonella was found in pups exposed to seawater, suggesting that this may represent a source of this pathogen. Salmonella Bovismorbificans was the most common isolate (18.3% pups; 32/175) and was indistinguishable from isolates found in Scottish cattle. SalmonellaTyphimurium was infrequent (2.3% pups; 4/175), mostly similar to isolates found in garden birds and, in one case, identical to a highly multidrug resistant strain isolated from a human child. SalmonellaHaifa was rare (1.1% pups; 2/175), but isolates were indistinguishable from that of a human clinical isolate. These results suggest that S. Bovismorbificans may circulate between grey seal and cattle populations and that both S. Typhimurium and S. Haifa isolates are shared with humans, raising concerns of microbial marine pollution. © 2016 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Davison N.J.,Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme | Brownlow A.,Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme | McGovern B.,Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme | Dagleish M.P.,Moredun Research Institute | And 5 more authors.
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms | Year: 2015

Fatal Brucella ceti infection with histological lesions specific to the central nervous system has been described in only 3 species of cetaceans: striped dolphins Stenella coeruleoalba, Atlantic white-sided dolphins Lagenorhynchus acutus and short-beaked common dolphins Delphinus delphis. This paper describes the first report of a B. ceti-associated meningo encephalitis in a long-finned pilot whale Globicephala melas, showing the increasing range of species susceptibility. Brucella was recovered in larger numbers from cerebrospinal fluid than from brain tissue and is the sample of choice for isolation. © Inter-Research and The Crown 2015. Source

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