Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dangerous toxin discovered in critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal

Date:
June 8, 2011
Source:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a potent and highly-debilitating toxin in the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, a first-of-its-kind chemical finding that is now prompting investigations of other marine mammals in the state.

Hawaiian Monk Seal swims in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
Credit: NOAA

Researchers from NOAA have discovered a potent and highly-debilitating toxin in the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, a first-of-its-kind chemical finding that is now prompting investigations of other marine mammals in the state.

Related Articles


The toxin, ciguatoxin, is produced by marine algae common on coral reefs, and accumulates in fish species that are consumed by humans. Ciguatera, the human disease caused by ciguatoxin, affects thousands of people every year worldwide and comes in the form of acute gastrointestinal and neurological illness with symptoms resembling chronic fatigue syndrome.

The study reveals that Hawaiian monk seals, whose population is estimated at 1100-1200, are exposed to significant levels of these ciguatoxins. The threat could pose management challenges for this species that has been dwindling at four percent annually due to poor foraging success and additional environmental and human factors.

Monk seals were sampled throughout the Hawaiian Islands, including in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Samples were then shipped to NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science laboratory in Charleston, S.C. for toxin analyses.

"Based upon this study, we believe that ciguatoxin exposure is common in the monk seal population," said Charles Littnan, study co-author and scientist with NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. "This study is an important first step. However, we still need to understand more clearly how widespread exposure is and more importantly what role it may be playing in the decline of the species."

The study, conducted by marine toxin experts at NOAA's National Ocean Service in collaboration with veterinarians and ecologists at NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, was published this month by the American Chemical Society online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marie-Yasmine Dechraoui Bottein, Lizabeth Kashinsky, Zhihong Wang, Charles Littnan, John S. Ramsdell. Identification of Ciguatoxins in Hawaiian Monk SealsMonachus schauinslandifrom the Northwestern and Main Hawaiian Islands. Environmental Science & Technology, 2011; 110517143313038 DOI: 10.1021/es2002887

Cite This Page:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Dangerous toxin discovered in critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110608123004.htm>.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2011, June 8). Dangerous toxin discovered in critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110608123004.htm
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Dangerous toxin discovered in critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110608123004.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins