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Sausalito, CA, United States

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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