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Blow collection as a non-invasive method for measuring cortisol in the beluga (Delphinapterus leucas).

Thompson LA, Spoon TR, Goertz CE, Hobbs RC, Romano TA - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Non-invasive sampling techniques are increasingly being used to monitor glucocorticoids, such as cortisol, as indicators of stressor load and fitness in zoo and wildlife conservation, research and medicine.A commercially available cortisol EIA for measuring human cortisol (detection limit 35 pg ml-1) was adapted and validated for beluga cortisol using tests of parallelism, accuracy and recovery.It can be collected from both wild and aquarium animals efficiently for the purposes of health monitoring and research, and may ultimately be useful in obtaining data on wild populations, including endangered species, which are difficult to handle directly.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Mystic Aquarium, a division of Sea Research Foundation, Mystic, Connecticut, United States of America; Marine Sciences Department of the University of Connecticut, Avery Point, Groton, Connecticut, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Non-invasive sampling techniques are increasingly being used to monitor glucocorticoids, such as cortisol, as indicators of stressor load and fitness in zoo and wildlife conservation, research and medicine. For cetaceans, exhaled breath condensate (blow) provides a unique sampling matrix for such purposes. The purpose of this work was to develop an appropriate collection methodology and validate the use of a commercially available EIA for measuring cortisol in blow samples collected from belugas (Delphinapterus leucas). Nitex membrane stretched over a petri dish provided the optimal method for collecting blow. A commercially available cortisol EIA for measuring human cortisol (detection limit 35 pg ml-1) was adapted and validated for beluga cortisol using tests of parallelism, accuracy and recovery. Blow samples were collected from aquarium belugas during monthly health checks and during out of water examination, as well as from wild belugas. Two aquarium belugas showed increased blow cortisol between baseline samples and 30 minutes out of water (Baseline, 0.21 and 0.04 µg dl-1; 30 minutes, 0.95 and 0.14 µg dl-1). Six wild belugas also showed increases in blow cortisol between pre and post 1.5 hour examination (Pre 0.03, 0.23, 0.13, 0.19, 0.13, 0.04 µg dl-1, Post 0.60, 0.31, 0.36, 0.24, 0.14, 0.16 µg dl-1). Though this methodology needs further investigation, this study suggests that blow sampling is a good candidate for non-invasive monitoring of cortisol in belugas. It can be collected from both wild and aquarium animals efficiently for the purposes of health monitoring and research, and may ultimately be useful in obtaining data on wild populations, including endangered species, which are difficult to handle directly.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Collection of blow from a wild beluga in Bristol Bay, AK during live-capture and release health assessment studies.A plastic gasket was placed around the blowhole in order to minimize water contamination of blow samples. The blow plate was then held inverted in the center of the gasket for two repeated exhales.
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pone-0114062-g004: Collection of blow from a wild beluga in Bristol Bay, AK during live-capture and release health assessment studies.A plastic gasket was placed around the blowhole in order to minimize water contamination of blow samples. The blow plate was then held inverted in the center of the gasket for two repeated exhales.

Mentions: Wild belugas were captured and handled in the fall of 2012 and 2013 according to Norman et al., [21]. Animals were guided into shallow water using several small boats and captured in netting suspended between two boats. For handling, animals were removed from the net and each whale was supported so that the blowhole remained out of the water between breaths. One exhale was allowed to occur before collection in order to clear water from the blowhole. For animals in deeper water, a plastic gasket was placed around the blowhole to aid in keeping water out (Figure 4). Due to conditions of field sampling and animal restraint, samples could not be taken at a consistent time. However an initial sample (‘pre’) was taken in conjunction with a blood draw as soon after entanglement as possible. All pre samples were taken within 45 minutes of hitting the net. Following complete health examination including sampling and tagging, a final sample (‘post’) was also taken. Post sampling occurred 47–93 minutes from entanglement. ‘Post’ blood samples were available for cortisol analysis only during 2013. On average, 2 exhales were collected opportunistically per plate, based on opportunity. Following sample collection, membranes were secured inside petri dishes. Plates were stored inside plastic bags and placed in a cooler with an ice pack until they could be transferred to a −20°C freezer (<10 hours). Plates were then shipped back to the Mystic Aquarium on dry ice.


Blow collection as a non-invasive method for measuring cortisol in the beluga (Delphinapterus leucas).

Thompson LA, Spoon TR, Goertz CE, Hobbs RC, Romano TA - PLoS ONE (2014)

Collection of blow from a wild beluga in Bristol Bay, AK during live-capture and release health assessment studies.A plastic gasket was placed around the blowhole in order to minimize water contamination of blow samples. The blow plate was then held inverted in the center of the gasket for two repeated exhales.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4252093&req=5

pone-0114062-g004: Collection of blow from a wild beluga in Bristol Bay, AK during live-capture and release health assessment studies.A plastic gasket was placed around the blowhole in order to minimize water contamination of blow samples. The blow plate was then held inverted in the center of the gasket for two repeated exhales.
Mentions: Wild belugas were captured and handled in the fall of 2012 and 2013 according to Norman et al., [21]. Animals were guided into shallow water using several small boats and captured in netting suspended between two boats. For handling, animals were removed from the net and each whale was supported so that the blowhole remained out of the water between breaths. One exhale was allowed to occur before collection in order to clear water from the blowhole. For animals in deeper water, a plastic gasket was placed around the blowhole to aid in keeping water out (Figure 4). Due to conditions of field sampling and animal restraint, samples could not be taken at a consistent time. However an initial sample (‘pre’) was taken in conjunction with a blood draw as soon after entanglement as possible. All pre samples were taken within 45 minutes of hitting the net. Following complete health examination including sampling and tagging, a final sample (‘post’) was also taken. Post sampling occurred 47–93 minutes from entanglement. ‘Post’ blood samples were available for cortisol analysis only during 2013. On average, 2 exhales were collected opportunistically per plate, based on opportunity. Following sample collection, membranes were secured inside petri dishes. Plates were stored inside plastic bags and placed in a cooler with an ice pack until they could be transferred to a −20°C freezer (<10 hours). Plates were then shipped back to the Mystic Aquarium on dry ice.

Bottom Line: Non-invasive sampling techniques are increasingly being used to monitor glucocorticoids, such as cortisol, as indicators of stressor load and fitness in zoo and wildlife conservation, research and medicine.A commercially available cortisol EIA for measuring human cortisol (detection limit 35 pg ml-1) was adapted and validated for beluga cortisol using tests of parallelism, accuracy and recovery.It can be collected from both wild and aquarium animals efficiently for the purposes of health monitoring and research, and may ultimately be useful in obtaining data on wild populations, including endangered species, which are difficult to handle directly.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Mystic Aquarium, a division of Sea Research Foundation, Mystic, Connecticut, United States of America; Marine Sciences Department of the University of Connecticut, Avery Point, Groton, Connecticut, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Non-invasive sampling techniques are increasingly being used to monitor glucocorticoids, such as cortisol, as indicators of stressor load and fitness in zoo and wildlife conservation, research and medicine. For cetaceans, exhaled breath condensate (blow) provides a unique sampling matrix for such purposes. The purpose of this work was to develop an appropriate collection methodology and validate the use of a commercially available EIA for measuring cortisol in blow samples collected from belugas (Delphinapterus leucas). Nitex membrane stretched over a petri dish provided the optimal method for collecting blow. A commercially available cortisol EIA for measuring human cortisol (detection limit 35 pg ml-1) was adapted and validated for beluga cortisol using tests of parallelism, accuracy and recovery. Blow samples were collected from aquarium belugas during monthly health checks and during out of water examination, as well as from wild belugas. Two aquarium belugas showed increased blow cortisol between baseline samples and 30 minutes out of water (Baseline, 0.21 and 0.04 µg dl-1; 30 minutes, 0.95 and 0.14 µg dl-1). Six wild belugas also showed increases in blow cortisol between pre and post 1.5 hour examination (Pre 0.03, 0.23, 0.13, 0.19, 0.13, 0.04 µg dl-1, Post 0.60, 0.31, 0.36, 0.24, 0.14, 0.16 µg dl-1). Though this methodology needs further investigation, this study suggests that blow sampling is a good candidate for non-invasive monitoring of cortisol in belugas. It can be collected from both wild and aquarium animals efficiently for the purposes of health monitoring and research, and may ultimately be useful in obtaining data on wild populations, including endangered species, which are difficult to handle directly.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus