Event Title

Year-round algal toxin exposure in free-ranging sea lions

Presentation Abstract

Harmful algal bloom toxins cause illness and mortality in marine mammals worldwide, yet the potential for year-round exposure to these toxins has not previously been studied. We measured concentrations of domoic acid and saxitoxin in scats from Steller sea lions Eumetopias jubatus (n = 383 scats) and California sea lions Zalophus californianus (n = 125 scats) over a 2 yr period. Toxin concentrations in the scats were compared to the prey remains in the scats and to concentrations in nearshore bivalves. Saxitoxin was detected in 45% and domoic acid was detected in 17% of all scats tested, and both toxins were detected in all seasons and months of the year. A variety of benthic and pelagic fish were significantly associated with toxins in sea lion scats, including prey with low occurrence in the sea lions’ diet. Toxins detected in winter scats confirm that US West Coast marine mammals are exposed to domoic acid and saxitoxin through their prey outside of the expected algal bloom seasons.

Session Title

Posters: Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, & Research

Conference Track

SSE18: Posters

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE18-2

Start Date

5-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Poster

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 1:30 PM

Year-round algal toxin exposure in free-ranging sea lions

Harmful algal bloom toxins cause illness and mortality in marine mammals worldwide, yet the potential for year-round exposure to these toxins has not previously been studied. We measured concentrations of domoic acid and saxitoxin in scats from Steller sea lions Eumetopias jubatus (n = 383 scats) and California sea lions Zalophus californianus (n = 125 scats) over a 2 yr period. Toxin concentrations in the scats were compared to the prey remains in the scats and to concentrations in nearshore bivalves. Saxitoxin was detected in 45% and domoic acid was detected in 17% of all scats tested, and both toxins were detected in all seasons and months of the year. A variety of benthic and pelagic fish were significantly associated with toxins in sea lion scats, including prey with low occurrence in the sea lions’ diet. Toxins detected in winter scats confirm that US West Coast marine mammals are exposed to domoic acid and saxitoxin through their prey outside of the expected algal bloom seasons.