Hematology and Plasma Chemistry as Indicators of Health and Ecological Status In Beluga Whales, Delphinapterus Leucas

We report on hematological and plasma chemical constituents in samples obtained from 183 belugas, 55 of which were handled during attempts to apply tracking instruments

D.J. St. Aubin; S. Deguise; P.R. Richard; T.G. Smith; J.R. Geraci


Scholarcy highlights

  • Blood analysis is a valuable tool routinely applied to assessing the health and physiological status of free-ranging animals
  • Live capture of beluga whales has been undertaken for research and exhibit purposes for decades
  • Such captures have provided a set of blood samples for this investigation, allowing the development of baseline data for a wide range of circulating constituents
  • Since blood sample collection is often an ancillary objective of these capture efforts, it may in some instances yield a data set that is biased by the specific needs of the field activity and does not necessarily represent a balanced cross-section of the population
  • Efforts associated with instrumentation for behavioral studies have tended to select adults, which have a broad dorsal ridge area for instrument attachment, to measure the full expression of diving capability
  • Assays for each hormone were performed as a single run, with an intra-assay coefficient of variation of less than 10%
  • Certain biases exist according to the year and capture site, depending on the priority of the efforts in each instance
  • Within the Hudson Bay stock, age influenced the pattern of difference between males and females for T4 concentration: younger females showed higher levels than their male counterparts, whereas older females had lower values than the mature males

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