D Ann Pabst

University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (81)202.05 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Understanding toothed whale (odontocete) diving gas dynamics is important given the recent atypical mass strandings of odontocetes (particularly beaked whales) associated with mid-frequency naval sonar. Some stranded whales have exhibited gas emboli (pathologies resembling decompression sickness) in their specialized intramandibular and extramandibular fat bodies used for echolocation and hearing. These tissues have phylogenetically unique, endogenous lipid profiles with poorly understood biochemical properties. Current diving gas dynamics models assume an Ostwald nitrogen (N2) solubility of 0.07 ml N2 ml(-1) oil in odontocete fats, although solubility in blubber from many odontocetes exceeds this value. The present study examined N2 solubility in the blubber and mandibular fats of seven species across five families, relating it to lipid composition. Across all species, N2 solubility increased with wax ester content and was generally higher in mandibular fats (0.083±0.002 ml N2 ml(-1) oil) than in blubber (0.069±0.007 ml N2 ml(-1) oil). This effect was more pronounced in mandibular fats with higher concentrations of shorter, branched fatty acids/alcohols. Mandibular fats of short-finned pilot whales, Atlantic spotted dolphins and Mesoplodon beaked whales had the highest N2 solubility values (0.097±0.005, 0.081±0.007 and 0.080±0.003 ml N2 ml(-1) oil, respectively). Pilot and beaked whales may experience high N2 loads during their relatively deeper dives, although more information is needed about in vivo blood circulation to mandibular fats. Future diving models should incorporate empirically measured N2 solubility of odontocete mandibular fats to better understand N2 dynamics and potential pathologies from gas/fat embolism. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
    Journal of Experimental Biology 08/2015; 218(Pt 16):2620-30. DOI:10.1242/jeb.122606 · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Growth in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) was investigated through examination of sex-specific, ontogenetic changes in the mass of 38 discrete body compartments, utilizing stranded dolphins in good body condition (n = 145). Ontogenetic allometry and the body composition technique were used to quantitatively describe growth patterns. Although adult males were significantly larger than adult females in total body mass (TBM) and total length, overall patterns of growth were remarkably similar between sexes. The integument, locomotor muscle, and vertebral column together represented 50%–58% of TBM across all life history categories, although their relative contributions varied ontogenetically. Young dolphins invested the greatest percentage of TBM in integument, while locomotor muscle was the single largest body component in adults. In both sexes (1) most muscle groups displayed positive allometry, (2) most skeletal elements displayed negative allometric or isometric growth, (3) most abdominal viscera associated with digestion displayed positive allometry, and (4) the brain displayed negative allometric growth. Reproductive tissues exhibited the highest rates of growth in both sexes, and increased as a percentage of TBM with maturity. This study provides an integrated view of bottlenose dolphin growth and a quantitative baseline of body composition for future monitoring of this sentinel species of ecosystem health.
    Marine Mammal Science 07/2015; DOI:10.1111/mms.12253 · 1.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several species of odontocete cetaceans depredate bait and catch and, as a result, become hooked and entangled in pelagic longline fisheries. The present study measured how selected commercial longline hooks, including “weak hooks”, behaved within odontocete mouths. Five hooks (Mustad-16/0, Mustad-18/0, Mustad J-9/0, Korean 16, and Korean 18) were tested on three species of odontocetes known to interact with longline fisheries—short-finned pilot whales ( Globicephala macrorhynchus ), Risso's dolphins ( Grampus griseus ), and false killer whales ( Pseudorca crassidens ). Specimens were secured to a stanchion, hooks were placed in the mouth at multiple positions along the dorsal lip, and the force required to pull each hook free was measured. The soft tissue lips of these odontocetes were capable of resisting forces up to 250 kg before failing. The polished steel M-16, M-18, and J-9 hooks straightened at forces between 50 and 225 kg, depending on hook gauge. When straightened, these hooks exposed the sharpened barb, which sliced through the lip tissue, usually releasing the hook intact. The K-16 and K-18 hooks behaved very differently, breaking at higher forces (110–250 kg) and consistently just at the barb; usually, there was measurable soft-tissue loss and often shards of the hook were retained within those soft tissues. The different behaviours of these two hook types—the M and J type polished steel vs . the K type carbon steel—were consistent across all species tested. Mechanical tests were also conducted to determine if hooks could fracture the mandible of these same odontocetes. Only the M-18 and K-18 hooks had sufficiently large gapes to hook around the mandible, and both hook types fractured bone in short-finned pilot whales and Risso's dolphins. These results support other lines of evidence indicating that longline hooks can cause serious injury to these species, and suggest possible steps to mitigate these impacts.
    ICES Journal of Marine Science 06/2015; 72(5). DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsu181 · 2.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cetaceans span a large range of body sizes and include species with the largest known locomotor muscles. To date, force output and thrust production have only been directly measured in the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), although thrust forces have been hydrodynamically modeled for some whales. In this study, two metrics of epaxial muscle size—cross-sectional area (CSA) and mass—were used to estimate force output for 22 species (n = 83 specimens) ranging in size from bottlenose dolphins to blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus). Relative to total body length (TL), maximum force output estimated based upon both muscle CSA (TL1.56 ± 0.05) and mass (TL2.64 ± 0.07) scaled at rates lower than those predicted by geometric scaling, suggesting relative force output decreases with increasing body size in cetaceans. Estimated maximal force outputs were compared to both published drag forces and to the breaking strengths of commercial fishing lines known to entangle whales. The breaking strengths of these lines are within the same order of magnitude, and in some cases, exceed the estimated maximal force output of whales. These results suggest that while powerful animals, large whales may be unable to break the extremely strong fishing line used today.
    Marine Mammal Science 05/2015; DOI:10.1111/mms.12230 · 1.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Odontocete echolocation clicks are generated by pneumatically-driven phonic lips within the nasal passage, and propagated through specialized structures within the forehead. This study investigated the highly derived echolocation structures of the pygmy (Kogia breviceps) and dwarf (K. sima) sperm whales through careful dissections (N=18 K. breviceps, 6 K. sima) and histological examinations (N=5 K. breviceps). This study is the first to show that the entire kogiid sound production and transmission pathway is acted upon by complex facial muscles (likely derivations of the m. maxillonasolabialis). Muscles appear capable of tensing and separating the solitary pair of phonic lips, which would control echolocation click frequencies. The phonic lips are enveloped by the "vocal cap," a morphologically complex, connective tissue structure unique to kogiids. Extensive facial muscles appear to control the position of this structure and its spatial relationship to the phonic lips. The vocal cap's numerous air crypts suggest that it may reflect sounds. Muscles encircling the connective tissue case that surrounds the spermaceti organ may change its shape and/or internal pressure. These actions may influence the acoustic energy transmitted from the phonic lips, through this lipid body, to the melon. Facial and rostral muscles act upon the length of the melon, suggesting that the sound "beam" can be focused as it travels through the melon and into the environment. This study suggests that the kogiid echolocation system is highly tunable. Future acoustic studies are required to test these hypotheses and gain further insight into the kogiid echolocation system. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    The Anatomical Record Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology 04/2015; 298(7). DOI:10.1002/ar.23168 · 1.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 1. Under US policy, a stock is a group of animals shown to be demographically independent from other such groups. Evidence of demographic delineations for marine mammal stocks is gained primarily through genetic analysis. However, additional techniques play an important role in determining fine-scale ranging patterns that can be used to define a stock's geographic boundaries. In cases where genetic studies have not yet been performed, movement and ranging pattern data are essential in identifying a targeted geographic region for tissue sampling and genetic studies. 2. Photo-identification surveys, vessel-based radio telemetry, automated radio telemetry systems (ARTS), and satellite-linked telemetry are sampling techniques that have been used to determine common bottlenose dolphin ranging patterns and provide detailed insight into stock boundaries. The results of near simultaneous use of these sampling techniques are compared using data from a case study of bottlenose dolphins within the estuaries of southern Georgia. 3. Satellite-linked and radio telemetry were determined to be useful sampling techniques for identification of short-term ranging patterns. Satellite-linked telemetry had the second lowest cost per location ($122) and identified dolphin ranging patterns within and outside of the study area boundaries. Vessel-based radio telemetry was more costly ($195 per location) and had relatively limited tracking coverage. However, this sampling technique permitted visual observations of animal and tag condition. The combination of vessel-based radio telemetry and ARTS, which had the lowest cost per location ($34), was an effective method for determining ranging patterns of tagged individuals within and outside of the study area. 4. Photo-identification surveys, relative to satellite-linked and radio telemetry, were not as efficient for determination of targeted individuals' short-term ranging patterns and had the highest cost per location of the four sampling techniques ($292). However, photo-identification is more effective than any other technique for compiling data on large numbers of individuals within a designated study area. Photo-identification surveys are essential for long-term monitoring and provide additional insight into dolphin stock structure that cannot be determined through telemetry alone.
    Aquatic Conservation Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 08/2014; 24(4). DOI:10.1002/aqc.2357 · 2.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A complementary approach of stomach content and stable isotope analyses was used to characterize the foraging ecology and evaluate niche overlap between pygmy (Kogia breviceps) and dwarf (K. sima) sperm whales stranded on the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast between 1998 and 2011. Food habits analysis demonstrated both species were primarily teuthophagous, with 35 species of cephalopods, and 2 species of mesopelagic fishes represented in their overall diets. Pianka's Index of niche overlap suggested high overlap between whale diets (On = 0.92), with squids from the families Histioteuthidae, Cranchidae, and Ommastrephidae serving as primary prey. Pygmy sperm whales consumed slightly larger prey sizes (mean mantle length [ML] = 10.8 cm) than dwarf sperm whales (mean ML = 7.8 cm). Mean prey sizes consumed by pygmy sperm whales increased with growth, but showed no trend in dwarf sperm whales. Significant differences were not detected in δ15N and δ13C values of muscle tissues from pygmy (10.8‰ ± 0.5‰, −17.1‰ ± 0.6‰), and dwarf sperm whales (10.7‰ ± 0.5‰, −17.0‰ ± 0.4‰), respectively. Isotopic niche widths also did not differ significantly and dietary overlap was high between the two species. Results suggest the feeding ecologies of the pygmy and dwarf sperm whales are similar and both species occupy equivalent trophic niches in the region.
    Marine Mammal Science 04/2014; 30(2). DOI:10.1111/mms.12064 · 1.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper the occurrence, distribution and abundance of cetaceans in offshore waters of Onslow Bay, North Carolina, USA is described. Between June 2007 and June 2010 monthly aerial and shipboard line-transect surveys were conducted along ten 74km transects placed perpendicular to the shelf break. In total 42,676km of aerial trackline (218 sightings) and 5,209km of vessel trackline (100 sightings) were observed. Seven species of cetaceans were observed, but the fauna was dominated strongly by common bottlenose and Atlantic spotted dolphins. Both species were present year-round in the study area. Using photo-identification techniques, five bottlenose dolphins and one spotted dolphin were resighted during the three-year period. In general, the abundance of cetaceans in Onslow Bay was low and too few sightings were made to estimate monthly abundances for species other than bottlenose and spotted dolphins. Maximum monthly abundances of bottlenose and spotted dolphins were 4,100 (95% CI: 1,300–9,400) in May 2010 and 6,000 (95% CI: 2,500–17,400) in March 2009, respectively. Bottlenose dolphins were found throughout the study area, although they were encountered most frequently just off the shelf break. In contrast, spotted dolphins exhibited a strong preference for waters over the continental shelf and were not encountered beyond the shelf break.
    Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 01/2014; 14:23-35.
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    ABSTRACT: When a marine mammal dives, breathing and locomotion are mechanically uncoupled, and its locomotor muscle must power swimming when oxygen is limited. The morphology of that muscle provides insight into both its oxygen storage capacity and its rate of oxygen consumption. This study investigated the m. longissimus dorsi, an epaxial swimming muscle, in the long duration, deep-diving pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) and the short duration, shallow-diving Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Muscle myoglobin content, fiber type profile (based upon myosin ATPase and succinate dehydrogenase assays), and fiber size were measured for five adult specimens of each species. In addition, a photometric analysis of sections stained for succinate dehydrogenase was used to create an index of mitochondrial density. The m. longissimus dorsi of K. breviceps displayed significantly a) higher myoglobin content, b) larger proportion of Type I (slow oxidative) fibers by area, c) larger mean fiber diameters, and d) lower indices of mitochondrial density than that of T. truncatus. Thus, this primary swimming muscle of K. breviceps has greater oxygen storage capacity, reduced ATP demand, and likely a reduced rate of oxygen consumption relative to that of T. truncatus. The locomotor muscle of K. breviceps appears able to ration its high onboard oxygen stores, a feature that may allow this species to conduct relatively long duration, deep dives aerobically. J. Morphol., 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Morphology 06/2013; 274(6). DOI:10.1002/jmor.20124 · 1.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The health of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) within southern Georgia estuaries is of particular concern due to high levels of anthropogenic contaminants in their tissues. Dolphins in this region have the highest polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations recorded for any marine mammal and these concentrations correlate to distance from a Superfund point-source in the Turtle/Brunswick River Estuary (TBRE). Currently, little is known about the population structure of dolphins in this region. This study identifies and compares baseline data on abundance, habitat use, site-fidelity, and ranging patterns of dolphins across two adjacent field sites; Brunswick, including the TBRE, and Sapelo, including the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve. Sapelo is relatively undeveloped and was selected for comparison to the more contaminated TBRE. Dolphin densities increased with tributary size in both sites but dolphin density and total abundance were significantly higher in Sapelo than in Brunswick. Anthropogenic stressors within the TBRE may be an important factor contributing to the differences in abundance, density, and habitat use observed in this study.
    Marine Mammal Science 04/2013; 29:114-135. DOI:10.1111/j.1748-7692.2012.00598.x · 1.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Most marine mammals are hypothesized to routinely dive within their aerobic dive limit (ADL). Mammals that regularly perform deep, long-duration dives have locomotor muscles with elevated myoglobin concentrations and are composed of predominantly large, slow-twitch (Type I) fibers with low mitochondrial volume densities (V(mt)). These features contribute to extending ADL by increasing oxygen stores and decreasing metabolic rate. Recent tagging studies, however, have challenged the view that two groups of extreme deep-diving cetaceans dive within their ADLs. Beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris, Cuvier and Mesoplodon densirostris, Blainville) routinely perform the deepest and longest average dives of any air-breathing vertebrate, and short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus, Gray) perform high-speed sprints at depth. We investigated the locomotor muscle morphology and estimated total body oxygen stores of these cetaceans to determine whether they (a) shared muscle design features with other deep-divers and (b) performed dives within their calculated ADLs. Muscle of both cetaceans displayed high myoglobin concentrations and large fibers, as predicted, but novel fiber profiles for diving mammals. Beaked whales possessed a sprinter's fiber-type profile, composed of approximately 80% fast-twitch (Type II) fibers with low V(mt). Approximately one-third of the muscle fibers of short-finned pilot whales were slow-twitch, oxidative, glycolytic fibers, a rare fiber-type for any mammal. The muscle morphology of beaked whales likely decreases the energetic cost of diving, while that of short-finned pilot whales supports high activity events. Calculated ADLs indicate that, at low metabolic rates, both cetaceans carry sufficient onboard oxygen to aerobically support their dives.
    Journal of Experimental Biology 02/2013; 216(10). DOI:10.1242/jeb.081323 · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Blubber, the specialized hypodermis of cetaceans, provides thermal insulation through the quantity and quality of lipids it contains. Quality refers to % lipid content; however, not all lipids are the same. Certain deep-diving cetacean groups possess blubber with lipids - wax esters (WE) - that are not typically found in mammals, and the insulative quality of "waxy" blubber is unknown. Our study explored the influence of lipid storage class - specifically WE in pygmy sperm whales (Kogia breviceps; n=7) and typical mammalian triacylglycerols (TAG) in short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus; n=7) - on blubber's thermal properties. Although the blubber of both species had similar total lipid contents, the thermal conductivity of G. macrorhynchus blubber (0.20 ± 0.01 Wm-1°C-1) was significantly higher than that of K. breviceps (0.15 ± 0.01 Wm-1°C-1; P=0.0006). These results suggest that lipid class significantly influences blubber's ability to resist heat flow. In addition, because blubber's lipid content is known to be stratified, we measured its depth-specific thermal conductivities. In K. breviceps blubber, the depth-specific conductivity values tended to vary inversely with lipid content. In contrast, G. macrorhynchus blubber displayed unexpected depth-specific relationships between lipid content and conductivity, which suggests that temperature-dependent effects, such as melting, may be occurring. Differences in heat flux measurements across the depth of the blubber samples provide evidence that both species are capable of storing heat in their blubber. The function of blubber as an insulator is complex and may rely upon its lipid class, stratified composition, and dynamic heat storage capabilities.
    Journal of Experimental Biology 09/2012; 215(24). DOI:10.1242/jeb.071530 · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Blubber, a specialized form of subdermal adipose tissue, surrounds marine mammal bodies. Typically, adipose tissue is perfused by capillaries but information on blubber vascularization is lacking. This study's goals were to: 1) describe and compare the microvasculature (capillaries, microarterioles, and microvenules) of blubber across odontocete species; 2) compare microvasculature of blubber to adipose tissue; and 3) examine relationships between blubber's lipid composition and its microvasculature. Percent microvascularity, distribution, branching pattern, and diameter of microvessels were determined from images of histochemically stained blubber sections from shallow-diving bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), deeper-diving pygmy sperm whales (Kogia breviceps), deep-diving beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris; Ziphius cavirostris), and the subdermal adipose tissue of domestic pigs (Sus scrofa). Tursiops blubber showed significant stratification in percent microvascularity among the superficial, middle, and deep layers and had a significantly higher percent microvascularity than all other animals analyzed, in which the microvasculature was more uniformly distributed. The percent microvasculature of Kogia blubber was lower than that of Tursiops but higher than that of beaked whales and the subdermal adipose tissue of domestic pigs. Tursiops had the most microvascular branching. Microvessel diameter was relatively uniform in all species. There were no clear patterns associating microvascular and lipid characteristics. The microvascular characteristics of the superficial layer of blubber resembled the adipose tissue of terrestrial mammals, suggesting some conservation of microvascular patterns in mammalian adipose tissue. The middle and deep layers of blubber, particularly in Tursiops, showed the greatest departure from typical mammalian microvascular arrangement. Factors such as metabolics or thermoregulation may be influencing the microvasculature in these layers.
    Journal of Morphology 08/2012; 273(8):932-42. DOI:10.1002/jmor.20032 · 1.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Computed tomography (CT) images of the head of a dead True's beaked whale are compared before and after decapitation. A 951 kg 455 cm adult male True's beaked whale stranded near Corolla, North Carolina, USA on 17 August 2011 during a 72 h long Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training (AFAST) alert. Alive when first observed at 10:10, it died spontaneously by 10:32. The animal was immediately shaded and ice blocks were placed on it by 11:30. It was loaded on an open flatbed trailer with ice at 19:30, and transported to the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine where it was placed in a 2°C walk-in cooler shortly after midnight. The morning of 18 August, the entire animal was maneuvered onto a large animal gantry for CT imaging, which commenced at 11:45. Lateral recumbency (left) maximized the penetration of the head through the scanner bore allowing imaging to just caudal of the ears. Following imaging of the head (12:12), the animal was moved to the necropsy laboratory. The head was removed from the body and returned to the CT scanner to assess the effects of decapitation, with imaging beginning at 15:20. In CT images, there were bilateral mineral opacities in the peribullous space of the ears, a fluid meniscus in the right pterygoid sinus, and no boney changes. Prior to decapitation there were two small volumes of gas, one lateral to the right mandible condylar process, and one lateral to the right temporal bone. All other gas opacities were within expected gas-filled spaces. After decapitation, large multifocal gas accumulations were present in mandibular fat pads, blood vessels, the subarachnoid space surrounding the brain, bilaterally along the maxilla and mandibles, throughout the perilaryngeal and peripharyngeal tissues, and occasionally within the melon. Major gross findings included multifocal necrotic regions in the cerebellum, reactive mesenteric lymph nodes, a gastro-intestinal tract devoid of ingesta, and pieces of plastic in multiple gastric chambers. Noteworthy histological findings included a granulomatous gastritis with associated degenerating parasites, and extensive cavitation of the cerebellum. The cerebellar defect was filled with abundant viable and degenerate neutrophils and eosinophils. Gitter cells were present in large numbers engulfing cellular debris. Parasitic migration in the cerebellum is considered a likely strong contributor to the encephalitis and stranding.
    International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine, Atlanta, GA; 05/2012
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    ABSTRACT: The understanding of a species' niche is fundamental to the concept of ecology, yet rela-tively little work has been done on niches in pelagic marine mammal communities. Data collection on the distribution and abundance of marine mammals is costly, time consuming and complicated by logis-tical difficulties. Here we take advantage of a data archive comprising many different datasets on the dis-tribution and abundance of cetaceans from Nova Scotia through the Gulf of Mexico in an effort to un-cover community structure at large spatial scales (1000s of km). We constructed a multivariate ordination of the species data, tested for group structure that might exist within the ordination space, and deter-mined how these groups might differ in environmental space. We examined 3 biogeographic regions: the oceanic waters north and south of Cape Hatteras, NC, and the Gulf of Mexico. North of Hatteras, we found 2 main groups split along a temperature and chlorophyll gradient, with most piscivores being found in cooler, more productive waters of the continental shelf, and most teuthivores being found far-ther offshore in warmer, less productive waters at the shelf break (200 m isobath). South of Hatteras, we found 3 groups, with the largest group being in warmer, lower chlorophyll waters that are closest to shore. In the Gulf of Mexico, we found 7 groups arrayed along a bottom depth gradient. We also tested the effect of taxonomically lumping different beaked whale species on ordination results. Results showed that when beaked whales were identified to the species level, they clustered out into distinct niches that are separate from those of other Odontocete groups. These results add to an increasing understanding of wildlife habitat associations and niche partitionings in the community structure of pelagic species, and provide important baseline information for future population monitoring efforts.
    Marine Ecology Progress Series 07/2011; 434:165-181. DOI:10.3354/meps09183 · 2.62 Impact Factor
  • Marine Mammal Science 07/2011; 27(3). DOI:10.1111/j.1748-7692.2010.00452.x · 1.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are apex predators in coastal southeastern U.S. waters; as such they are indicators of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in coastal ecosystems. POP concentrations measured in a dolphin's blubber are influenced by a number of factors, including the animal's sex and ranging pattern in relation to POP point sources. This study examined POP concentrations measured in bottlenose dolphin blubber samples (n=102) from the Georgia, USA coast in relation to individual ranging patterns and specifically, distance of sightings from a polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) point source near Brunswick, Georgia. Dolphin ranging patterns were determined based upon 5years of photo-identification data from two field sites approximately 40km apart: (1) the Brunswick field site, which included the Turtle/Brunswick River Estuary (TBRE), and (2) the Sapelo field site, which included the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve (SINERR). Dolphins were categorized into one of three ranging patterns from photo-identification data. Individuals with sighting histories exclusively within one of the defined field sites were considered to have either Brunswick or Sapelo ranging patterns. Individuals sighted in both field sites were classified as having a Mixed ranging pattern. Brunswick males had the highest concentrations of PCBs reported for any marine mammal. The pattern of PCB congeners was consistent with Aroclor 1268, a highly chlorinated PCB mixture associated with a Superfund site in Brunswick. PCB levels in Sapelo males were lower than in Brunswick males, but comparable to the highest levels measured in other dolphin populations along the southeastern U.S. Female dolphins had higher Aroclor 1268 proportions than males, suggesting that the highly chlorinated congeners associated with Aroclor 1268 may not be offloaded through parturition and lactation, as easily as less halogenated POPs. Individuals sighted farther from the Superfund point source had lower Aroclor 1268 proportions.
    Science of The Total Environment 02/2011; 409(11):2094-101. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.01.052 · 4.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Electronic tags using the ARGOS system (CLS, 2008) have proven to be valuable tools in assess-ing small cetacean movement patterns and habitat use (e.g., Read & Westgate, 1997; Corkeron & Martin, 2004; Klatsky et al., 2007; Balmer et al., 2008; Wells et al., 2008, 2009). While tag design and success rates have varied, problems associ-ated with package size, attachment position on the dorsal fin, and number of attachment pins have, in some cases, shortened the predicted attachment duration or caused adverse impacts to the dorsal fins of the animals (Read & Westgate, 1997; Scott et al., 1990; Balmer et al., 2010). One of the most recent iterations in the evolution of smaller sat-ellite-linked tags for dolphins used a 65 g, side-mounted tag, which attached to the upper third of the dorsal fin with three plastic pins (Balmer et al., 2010). This tag design has been used to determine movement patterns and dive durations in sev-eral species of small cetaceans, including bottle-nose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) off Bermuda (Klatsky et al., 2007), Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus) in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean (Wells et al., 2009; R. Wells, pers. obs.), rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) in the Atlantic Ocean (Wells et al., 2008; R. Wells, pers. obs.), and Franciscana dolphins (Pontoporia blain-villei) in the Atlantic coastal waters off Argentina (R. Wells, pers. obs.). While this tag design appears to be relatively robust, a recent deployment of the tag demonstrated that the design is not well-suited
    Aquatic Mammals 01/2011; 37(2):187-192187. DOI:10.1578/AM.37.2.2011.187 · 1.02 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
202.05 Total Impact Points


  • 1996–2015
    • University of North Carolina at Wilmington
      • Department of Biology and Marine Biology
      Wilmington, North Carolina, United States
  • 1993–2009
    • Duke University
      • Nicholas School of the Environment
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 2006
    • The University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville
      Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
  • 1993–2006
    • James Madison University
      • Department of Biology
      Harrisonburg, Virginia, United States
  • 1992
    • University of British Columbia - Vancouver
      • Department of Zoology
      Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada