Yang Wei-Cheng

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  • Article
    Anthropogenic sound exposure-induced stress in captive dolphins and implications for cetacean health
    (Frontiers Media, 2021-03-05) Yang, Wei-Cheng ; Chen, Chi-Fang ; Chuah, Yee-Chien ; Zhuang, Chun-Ru ; Chen, I-Hua ; Mooney, T. Aran ; Stott, Jeffrey ; Blanchard, Myra ; Jen, I-Fan ; Chou, Lien-Siang
    Many cetaceans are exposed to increasing pressure caused by anthropogenic activities in their marine environment. Anthropogenic sound has been recognized as a possible stressor for cetaceans that may have impacts on health. However, the relationship between stress, hormones, and cytokines secretion in cetaceans is complex and not fully understood. Moreover, the effects of stress are often inconsistent because the character, intensity, and duration of the stressors are variable. For a better understanding of how anthropogenic sounds affect the psychophysiology of cetaceans, the present study compared the changes of cortisol concentration and cytokine gene transcriptions in blood samples and behaviors of captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) after sound exposures. The sound stimuli were 800 Hz pure-tone multiple impulsive sound for 30 min at three different sound levels (estimated mean received SPL: 0, 120, and 140 dB re 1 μPa) that likely cause no permanent and temporary hearing threshold shift in dolphins. Six cytokine genes (IL-2Rα, IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, TNF-α, and IFN-γ) were selected for analysis. Cortisol levels and IL-10 gene transcription increased and IFNγ/IL-10 ratio was lower after a 30-min high-level sound exposure, indicating the sound stimuli used in this study could be a stressor for cetaceans, although only minor behavior changes were observed. This study may shed light on the potential impact of pile driving-like sounds on the endocrine and immune systems in cetaceans and provide imperative information regarding sound exposure for free-ranging cetaceans.
  • Preprint
    Hearing abilities and sound reception of broadband sounds in an adult Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus )
    ( 2015-04) Mooney, T. Aran ; Yang, Wei-Cheng ; Yu, Hsin-Yi ; Ketten, Darlene R. ; Jen, I-Fan
    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.