Document Detail

Assessing reproductive status of right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) using fecal hormone metabolites.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15935157     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Long-term studies of the endangered North Atlantic right whale, Eubalaena glacialis, have revealed declining reproductive parameters over the past two decades, threatening recovery of this small population if current trends continue. Little is known about right whale reproductive physiology, and investigating this reproductive decline has been limited by a lack of non-lethal methods for assessing reproductive status (e.g., sexual maturation, ovarian activity, pregnancy, lactation, and reproductive senescence) in free-swimming whales. This paper describes validation of existing radioimmunoassay techniques to study reproduction in right whales by measuring estrogens, progestins, androgens, and their related metabolites in fecal samples. Over the past decade fecal steroid hormone assays have been used to assess reproductive status and function in a wide range of terrestrial wildlife species, but this is the first application of this methodology in wild cetaceans. Analysis of fecal hormone metabolite levels in combination with life history data from photographically identified whales shows that this non-invasive method can be used to determine gender, detect pregnancy and lactation, and to assess age at sexual maturity in right whales and potentially other endangered whale populations.
Rosalind M Rolland; Kathleen E Hunt; Scott D Kraus; Samuel K Wasser
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Validation Studies    
Journal Detail:
Title:  General and comparative endocrinology     Volume:  142     ISSN:  0016-6480     ISO Abbreviation:  Gen. Comp. Endocrinol.     Publication Date:  2005 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-06-06     Completed Date:  2005-09-08     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370735     Medline TA:  Gen Comp Endocrinol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  308-17     Citation Subset:  IM    
New England Aquarium, Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110-3399, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Androgens / metabolism
Atlantic Ocean
Conservation of Natural Resources
Estrogens / metabolism
Feces / chemistry
Hormones / metabolism*
Progestins / metabolism
Radioimmunoassay / methods,  veterinary
Reproduction / physiology*
Whales / metabolism,  physiology*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Androgens; 0/Estrogens; 0/Hormones; 0/Progestins

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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