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Brevetoxin exposure in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) associated with Karenia brevis blooms in Sarasota Bay, Florida
Fire, S.E.; Fauquier, D.; Flewelling, L.J.; Henry, M.; Naar, J.; Pierce, R.; Wells, R.S. (2007). Brevetoxin exposure in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) associated with Karenia brevis blooms in Sarasota Bay, Florida. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 152(4): 827-834. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-007-0733-x
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Fire, S.E.
  • Fauquier, D.
  • Flewelling, L.J.
  • Henry, M.
  • Naar, J.
  • Pierce, R.
  • Wells, R.S.

Abstract
    Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) face a variety of threats, including risk of exposure to brevetoxins produced by blooms of the harmful alga Karenia brevis. This study investigated brevetoxin exposure in a population of dolphins inhabiting Sarasota Bay, Florida, USA (27°N, 82°W), utilizing tissues from dolphins recovered between 1994 and 2003. Brevetoxin levels detected by ELISA in tissues, gastric samples and excreta from dolphin carcasses (n = 19) associated with K. brevis blooms were compared with with levels in carcasses (n = 16) associated with background K. brevis conditions. In the K. brevis-exposed set, 84% of dolphin carcasses recovered during K. brevis blooms had detectable brevetoxin levels, with values ranging between 7 and 2,896 ng PbTx-3 eq g-1. Over 50% of dolphin carcasses recovered during non-bloom conditions also tested positive by ELISA for brevetoxins, with concentrations ranging from 6 to 44 ng PbTx-3 eq g-1. Control samples from the east coast of Florida were negative by the ELISA. Results from this study establish baseline brevetoxin body burdens in a dolphin population frequently exposed to K. brevis blooms, and data indicate that dolphin carcasses not associated with large-scale mortality events can contain levels of brevetoxins comparable to carcasses stranding during such events.

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