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  • Article
    Myoglobin concentration and oxygen stores in different functional muscle groups from three small cetacean species
    (MDPI, 2021-02-09) Arregui, Marina ; Singleton, Emily M. ; Saavedra, Pedro ; Pabst, D. Ann ; Moore, Michael J. ; Sierra, Eva ; Rivero, Miguel A. ; Câmara, Nakita ; Niemeyer, Misty E. ; Fahlman, Andreas ; McLellan, William A. ; Bernaldo de Quirós, Yara
    Compared with terrestrial mammals, marine mammals possess increased muscle myoglobin concentrations (Mb concentration, g Mb · 100g−1 muscle), enhancing their onboard oxygen (O2) stores and their aerobic dive limit. Although myoglobin is not homogeneously distributed, cetacean muscle O2 stores have been often determined by measuring Mb concentration from a single muscle sample (longissimus dorsi) and multiplying that value by the animal’s locomotor muscle or total muscle mass. This study serves to determine the accuracy of previous cetacean muscle O2 stores calculations. For that, body muscles from three delphinid species: Delphinus delphis, Stenella coeruleoalba, and Stenella frontalis, were dissected and weighed. Mb concentration was calculated from six muscles/muscle groups (epaxial, hypaxial and rectus abdominis; mastohumeralis; sternohyoideus; and dorsal scalenus), each representative of different functional groups (locomotion powering swimming, pectoral fin movement, feeding and respiration, respectively). Results demonstrated that the Mb concentration was heterogeneously distributed, being significantly higher in locomotor muscles. Locomotor muscles were the major contributors to total muscle O2 stores (mean 92.8%) due to their high Mb concentration and large muscle masses. Compared to this method, previous studies assuming homogenous Mb concentration distribution likely underestimated total muscle O2 stores by 10% when only considering locomotor muscles and overestimated them by 13% when total muscle mass was considered.
  • Article
    Decompression vs. decomposition : distribution, amount, and gas composition of bubbles in stranded marine mammals
    (Frontiers Media, 2012-06-04) Bernaldo de Quiros, Yara ; Gonzaez-Diaz, Oscar ; Arbelo, Manuel ; Sierra, Eva ; Sacchini, Simona ; Fernandez, Antonio
    Gas embolic lesions linked to military sonar have been described in stranded cetaceans including beaked whales. These descriptions suggest that gas bubbles in marine mammal tissues may be more common than previously thought. In this study we have analyzed gas amount (by gas score) and gas composition within different decomposition codes using a standardized methodology. This broad study has allowed us to explore species-specific variability in bubble prevalence, amount, distribution, and composition, as well as masking of bubble content by putrefaction gases. Bubbles detected within the cardiovascular system and other tissues related to both pre- and port-mortem processes are a common finding on necropsy of stranded cetaceans. To minimize masking by putrefaction gases, necropsy, and gas sampling must be performed as soon as possible. Before 24 h post mortem is recommended but preferably within 12 h post mortem. At necropsy, amount of bubbles (gas score) in decomposition code 2 in stranded cetaceans was found to be more important than merely presence vs. absence of bubbles from a pathological point of view. Deep divers presented higher abundance of gas bubbles, mainly composed of 70% nitrogen and 30% CO2, suggesting a higher predisposition of these species to suffer from decompression-related gas embolism.