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.

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 October 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 October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) A collection of dinosaur bones reveal a creature that is far more weird and goofy-looking than scientists originally thought when they found just the arm bones nearly 50 years ago, according to a new report in the journal Nature. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
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