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By Tom Wassmer Assistant Professor of Biology at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan
Bruce R Mate, Ladd M Irvine, Daniel M Palacios
The development of high-resolution archival tag technologies has revolutionized our understanding of diving behavior in marine taxa such as sharks, turtles, and seals during their wide-ranging movements. However, similar applications for large whales have lagged behind due to the difficulty of keeping tags on the animals for extended periods of time. Here, we present a novel configuration of a transdermally attached biologging device called the Advanced Dive Behavior (ADB) tag. The ADB tag contains sensors that record hydrostatic pressure, three-axis accelerometers, magnetometers, water temperature, and light level, all sampled at 1 Hz...
January 2017: Ecology and Evolution
Alexandra Wright, Miriam Scadeng, Dominik Stec, Rebecca Dubowitz, Sam Ridgway, Judy St Leger
The evolutionary process of adaptation to an obligatory aquatic existence dramatically modified cetacean brain structure and function. The brain of the killer whale (Orcinus orca) may be the largest of all taxa supporting a panoply of cognitive, sensory, and sensorimotor abilities. Despite this, examination of the O. orca brain has been limited in scope resulting in significant deficits in knowledge concerning its structure and function. The present study aims to describe the neural organization and potential function of the O...
January 2017: Brain Structure & Function
Frants H Jensen, Alice Rocco, Rubaiyat M Mansur, Brian D Smith, Vincent M Janik, Peter T Madsen
Toothed whales (Cetacea, odontoceti) use biosonar to navigate their environment and to find and catch prey. All studied toothed whale species have evolved highly directional, high-amplitude ultrasonic clicks suited for long-range echolocation of prey in open water. Little is known about the biosonar signals of toothed whale species inhabiting freshwater habitats such as endangered river dolphins. To address the evolutionary pressures shaping the echolocation signal parameters of non-marine toothed whales, we investigated the biosonar source parameters of Ganges river dolphins (Platanista gangetica gangetica) and Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) within the river systems of the Sundarban mangrove forest...
2013: PloS One
O I Liamin, L M Mukhametov
Over the course of evolution, cetaceans have adapted to sleep in conditions that can be considered extreme for warm-blooded and air breathing animals. Studies of sleep in cetaceans have led to the discovery of an unusual type of sleep called unihemispheric slow wave sleep. The ability of cetaceans to sleep during swimming and to close only one eye at a time are two other features of their sleep, directly related to its unihemispheric nature. Paradoxical sleep in the form it is recorded in all terrestrial mammals is absent in cetaceans...
January 2013: Zhurnal Vyssheĭ Nervnoĭ Deiatelnosti Imeni I P Pavlova
P R Manger
This review evaluates and contextualizes the behavioral studies undertaken on cetaceans in terms of the relationship of these behaviors to special levels of intelligence associated with these marine mammals and the evolution of their relatively and absolutely large brain size. Many believe that the large size of the cetacean brain and reported behaviors indicate the need to create a special status for these animals in terms of their intellect, positing that they are second to humans in terms of general intelligence...
October 10, 2013: Neuroscience
Shixia Xu, Yunxia Yang, Xuming Zhou, Junxiao Xu, Kaiya Zhou, Guang Yang
BACKGROUND: Osmoregulation was a primary challenge for cetaceans during the evolutionary transition from a terrestrial to a mainly hyperosmotic environment. Several physiological mechanisms have been suggested to maintain the water and salt balance in cetaceans, but their genetic and evolutionary bases remain poorly explored. The current study investigated the genes involved in osmoregulation in cetaceans and compared them with their counterparts in terrestrial mammals to test whether adaptive evolution occurred during secondary aquatic adaptation...
2013: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Marina A Piscitelli, Stephen A Raverty, Margo A Lillie, Robert E Shadwick
Cetaceans possess diverse adaptations in respiratory structure and mechanics that are highly specialized for an array of surfacing and diving behaviors. Some of these adaptations and air management strategies are still not completely understood despite over a century of study. We have compiled the historical and contemporary knowledge of cetacean lung anatomy and mechanics in regards to normal lung function during ventilation and air management while diving. New techniques are emerging utilizing pulmonary mechanics to measure lung function in live cetaceans...
December 2013: Journal of Morphology
Stephen H Montgomery, Jonathan H Geisler, Michael R McGowen, Charlotte Fox, Lori Marino, John Gatesy
Cetaceans rival primates in brain size relative to body size and include species with the largest brains and biggest bodies to have ever evolved. Cetaceans are remarkably diverse, varying in both phenotypes by several orders of magnitude, with notable differences between the two extant suborders, Mysticeti and Odontoceti. We analyzed the evolutionary history of brain and body mass, and relative brain size measured by the encephalization quotient (EQ), using a data set of extinct and extant taxa to capture temporal variation in the mode and direction of evolution...
November 2013: Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution
Xanadu C Halkias, Sébastien Paris, Hervé Glotin
Automatic classification of mysticete sounds has long been a challenging task in the bioacoustics field. The unknown statistical properties of the signals as well as the use of different recording apparatus and low signal-to-noise ratio conditions often lead to non-optimal systems. The goal of this paper is to design methods for the automatic classification of mysticete sounds using a restricted Boltzmann machine and a sparse auto-encoder that are widely used in the field of artificial intelligence. Experiments on five species of mysticetes are presented...
November 2013: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Wei-Ming Ai, Shao-Bo Chen, Xiao Chen, Xue-Juan Shen, Yong-Yi Shen
Cetaceans and primates both have large brains that require large amounts of aerobic energy metabolism. In bats, the cost of flight makes locomotion energetically demanding. These mammalian groups may represent three independent evolutionary origins of an energy-demanding lifestyle in mammals. IDH2 encodes an enzyme in the tricarboxylic acid cycle in the mitochondrion, which plays a key role in aerobic energy metabolism. In this study, we cloned and sequenced this gene in two cetaceans, and 19 bat species, and compared the data with available primate sequences to test its evolution...
January 31, 2014: FEBS Letters
Onur Güntürkün
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2014: Brain, Behavior and Evolution
Sarah Baulch, Clare Perry
Global in its distribution and pervading all levels of the water column, marine debris poses a serious threat to marine habitats and wildlife. For cetaceans, ingestion or entanglement in debris can cause chronic and acute injuries and increase pollutant loads, resulting in morbidity and mortality. However, knowledge of the severity of effects lags behind that for other species groups. This literature review examines the impacts of marine debris on cetaceans reported to date. It finds that ingestion of debris has been documented in 48 (56% of) cetacean species, with rates of ingestion as high as 31% in some populations...
March 15, 2014: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Peter T Fretwell, Iain J Staniland, Jaume Forcada
We describe a method of identifying and counting whales using very high resolution satellite imagery through the example of southern right whales breeding in part of the Golfo Nuevo, Península Valdés in Argentina. Southern right whales have been extensively hunted over the last 300 years and although numbers have recovered from near extinction in the early 20(th) century, current populations are fragmented and are estimated at only a small fraction of pre-hunting total. Recent extreme right whale calf mortality events at Península Valdés, which constitutes the largest single population, have raised fresh concern for the future of the species...
2014: PloS One
Emily Lambert, Graham J Pierce, Karen Hall, Tom Brereton, Timothy E Dunn, Dave Wall, Paul D Jepson, Rob Deaville, Colin D MacLeod
There is increasing evidence that the distributions of a large number of species are shifting with global climate change as they track changing surface temperatures that define their thermal niche. Modelling efforts to predict species distributions under future climates have increased with concern about the overall impact of these distribution shifts on species ecology, and especially where barriers to dispersal exist. Here we apply a bio-climatic envelope modelling technique to investigate the impacts of climate change on the geographic range of ten cetacean species in the eastern North Atlantic and to assess how such modelling can be used to inform conservation and management...
June 2014: Global Change Biology
Michael R McGowen, John Gatesy, Derek E Wildman
Cetacea (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) is a model group for investigating the molecular signature of macroevolutionary transitions. Recent research has begun to reveal the molecular underpinnings of the remarkable anatomical and behavioral transformation in this clade. This shift from terrestrial to aquatic environments is arguably the best-understood major morphological transition in vertebrate evolution. The ancestral body plan and physiology were extensively modified and, in many cases, these crucial changes are recorded in cetacean genomes...
June 2014: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Cheng-Hsiu Tsai, R Ewan Fordyce
Ancestor-descendant relationships (ADRs), involving descent with modification, are the fundamental concept in evolution, but are usually difficult to recognize. We examined the cladistic relationship between the only reported fossil pygmy right whale, †Miocaperea pulchra, and its sole living relative, the enigmatic pygmy right whale Caperea marginata, the latter represented by both adult and juvenile specimens. †Miocaperea is phylogenetically bracketed between juvenile and adult Caperea marginata in morphologically based analyses, thus suggesting a possible ADR-the first so far identified within baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti)...
January 2015: Biology Letters
Carolina Loch, Jules A Kieser, R Ewan Fordyce
The transition from terrestrial ancestry to a fully pelagic life profoundly altered the body systems of cetaceans, with extreme morphological changes in the skull and feeding apparatus. The Oligocene Epoch was a crucial time in the evolution of cetaceans when the ancestors of modern whales and dolphins (Neoceti) underwent major diversification, but details of dental structure and evolution are poorly known for the archaeocete-neocete transition. We report the morphology of teeth and ultrastructure of enamel in archaeocetes, and fossil platanistoids and delphinoids, ranging from late Oligocene (Waitaki Valley, New Zealand) to Pliocene (Caldera, Chile)...
2015: PloS One
Alexandra Houssaye, Paul Tafforeau, Christian de Muizon, Philip D Gingerich
Cetacea are secondarily aquatic amniotes that underwent their land-to-sea transition during the Eocene. Primitive forms, called archaeocetes, include five families with distinct degrees of adaptation to an aquatic life, swimming mode and abilities that remain difficult to estimate. The lifestyle of early cetaceans is investigated by analysis of microanatomical features in postcranial elements of archaeocetes. We document the internal structure of long bones, ribs and vertebrae in fifteen specimens belonging to the three more derived archaeocete families--Remingtonocetidae, Protocetidae, and Basilosauridae--using microtomography and virtual thin-sectioning...
2015: PloS One
Xinyang Liu, Ran Chen, Gang Li, Jinhua Li
Yangtze finless porpoise, Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis, is a cetacea animal which has been reclassified as a Critically Endangered species by IUCN in 2013. In this study, we determined the complete mitochondrial genome of N. a. asiaeorientalis for use in future phylogenetic analyses. The complete mitochondrial genome of N. a. asiaeorientalis (16,385 bp in length) contained 37 genes (13 protein-coding genes, 2 rRNA genes, and 22 tRNA genes) and a non-coding region (D-loop). Additionally, a rep-origin (35 bp) exists which is located between tRNA(Asn) and tRNA(Cys)...
September 2016: Mitochondrial DNA. Part A. DNA Mapping, Sequencing, and Analysis
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