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In pregnant dolphins, thyroid hormones declined with the weeks leading to parturition. Understanding baseline hormone levels, the magnitude of intra-individual variability, and their variation as a function of life history is difficult in toothed whales e.
To determine the endocrine profile of the common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus as a function of season, time of day TODage, sex, and reproductive status, blood corticosteroids, thyroid hormones, and catecholamines were repeatedly measured in a managed-care population exposed to ambient light and water temperatures of San Diego Bay. Additionally, fecal hormone metabolites were assessed for cortisol, aldosterone, and triiodothyronine.
Samples were collected at two to four-week intervals over a period of two years, and multiple times within a day at monthly intervals over a year. Samples were collected through the voluntary participation of the dolphins in the blood draws and fecal collections in order to avoid the effects of handling stress. All serum hormones except aldosterone ificantly varied with season and all serum hormones except total thyroxine ificantly varied as a function of TOD. Fecal glucocorticoid metabolites ificantly correlated with circulating cortisol levels, and there was a ificant seasonal effect on triiodothyronine fecal metabolites.
Strong seasonal effects demonstrated complex interactions with age and sex suggesting that contextual information is critical to interpreting differences in endocrine profiles.
Strong circadian patterns further suggest that sampling de is important to the interpretation of blood or fecal collections, particularly since diurnal changes in some serum hormone levels are similar to the magnitude of seasonal differences. Despite potential impacts of feeding schedules on diurnal patterns, managed care populations can provide important insights into seasonal and age-related endocrine changes in toothed whales.
View PDF Download full issue. General and Comparative Endocrinology Volume1 November Author links open overlay panel D. Houser a C. Champagne a S. Wasser b R. Booth b T. Romano c D. Crocker d.
Add to Mendeley Share. Under a Creative Commons. Abstract Understanding baseline hormone levels, the magnitude of intra-individual variability, and their variation as a function of life history is difficult in toothed whales e. Keywords Bottlenose dolphin. Recommended articles Citing articles 0.
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