Structural and functional imaging of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) cranial anatomy.

BIOMIMETICA, La Mesa, CA 91942, USA.
Journal of Experimental Biology (Impact Factor: 3). 11/2004; 207(Pt 21):3657-65. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.01207
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Bottlenose dolphins were submitted to structural (CT) and functional (SPECT/PET) scans to investigate their in vivo anatomy and physiology with respect to structures important to hearing and echolocation. The spatial arrangement of the nasal passage and sinus air spaces to the auditory bullae and phonic lips was studied in two dolphins via CT. Air volume of the sinuses and nasal passages ranged from 267.4 to 380.9 ml. Relationships of air spaces to the auditory bullae and phonic lips support previous hypotheses that air protects the ears from echolocation clicks generated by the dolphin and contributes to dolphin hearing capabilities (e.g. minimum angular resolution, inter-aural intensity differences). Lung air may replenish reductions in sinus and nasal passage air volume via the palatopharyngeal sphincter, thus permitting the echolocation mechanism to operate at depth. To determine the relative extent of regional blood flow within the head of the dolphin, two dolphins were scanned with SPECT after an intravenous dose of 1850 MBq 99mTc-bicisate. A single dolphin received 740 MBq of 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (FDG) to identify the relative metabolic activity of head tissues. Substantial blood flow was noted across the dorsoanterior curvature of the melon and within the posterior region of the lower jaw fats. Metabolism of these tissues relative to others within the head was nominal. It is suggested that blood flow in these fat bodies serves to thermoregulate lipid density of the melon and jaw canal. Sound velocity is inversely related to the temperature of acoustic lipids (decreasing lipid density), and changes in lipid temperature are likely to impact the wave guide properties of the sound projection and reception pathways. Thermoregulation of lipid density may maintain sound velocity gradients of the acoustic lipid complexes, particularly in the outer shell of the melon, which otherwise might vary in response to changing environmental temperatures.

Download full-text


Available from: Sam H Ridgway, May 26, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: While odontocetes do not have an external pinna that guides sound to the middle ear, they are considered to receive sound through specialized regions of the head and lower jaw. Yet odontocetes differ in the shape of the lower jaw suggesting that hearing pathways may vary between species, potentially influencing hearing directionality and noise impacts. This work measured the audiogram and received sensitivity of a Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) in an effort to comparatively examine how this species receives sound. Jaw hearing thresholds were lowest (most sensitive) at two locations along the anterior, midline region of the lower jaw (the lower jaw tip and anterior part of the throat). Responses were similarly low along a more posterior region of the lower mandible, considered the area of best hearing in bottlenose dolphins. Left- and right-side differences were also noted suggesting possible left-right asymmetries in sound reception or differences in ear sensitivities. The results indicate best hearing pathways may vary between the Risso's dolphin and other odontocetes measured. This animal received sound well, supporting a proposed throat pathway. For Risso's dolphins in particular, good ventral hearing would support their acoustic ecology by facilitating echo-detection from their proposed downward oriented echolocation beam.
    Journal of Comparative Physiology 04/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00359-015-1011-x · 1.63 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cetaceans possess diverse adaptations in respiratory structure and mechanics that are highly specialized for an array of surfacing and diving behaviors. Some of these adaptations and air management strategies are still not completely understood despite over a century of study. We have compiled the historical and contemporary knowledge of cetacean lung anatomy and mechanics in regards to normal lung function during ventilation and air management while diving. New techniques are emerging utilizing pulmonary mechanics to measure lung function in live cetaceans. Given the diversity of respiratory adaptations in cetaceans, interpretations of these results should consider species-specific anatomy, mechanics, and behavior. J. Morphol., 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Morphology 12/2013; 274(12). DOI:10.1002/jmor.20192 · 1.55 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sound is a primary sensory cue for most marine mammals, and this is especially true for cetaceans. To passively and actively acquire information about their environment, cetaceans have some of the most derived ears of all mammals, capable of sophisticated, sensitive hearing and auditory processing. These capabilities have developed for survival in an underwater world where sound travels five times faster than in air, and where light is quickly attenuated and often limited at depth, at night, and in murky waters. Cetacean auditory evolution has capitalized on the ubiquity of sound cues and the efficiency of underwater acoustic communication. The sense of hearing is central to cetacean sensory ecology, enabling vital behaviours such as locating prey, detecting predators, identifying conspecifics, and navigating. Increasing levels of anthropogenic ocean noise appears to influence many of these activities. Here, we describe the historical progress of investigations on cetacean hearing, with a particular focus on odontocetes and recent advancements. While this broad topic has been studied for several centuries, new technologies in the past two decades have been leveraged to improve our understanding of a wide range of taxa, including some of the most elusive species. This chapter addresses topics including how sounds are received, what sounds are detected, hearing mechanisms for complex acoustic scenes, recent anatomical and physiological studies, the potential impacts of noise, and mysticete hearing. We conclude by identifying emerging research topics and areas which require greater focus.
    Advances in Marine Biology 01/2012; 63:197-246. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-12-394282-1.00004-1 · 5.00 Impact Factor