World-wide whale worms? A new species of Osedax from the shallow north Atlantic.
We describe a new species of the remarkable whalebone-eating siboglinid worm genus, Osedax, from a whale carcass in the shallow north Atlantic, west of Sweden. Previously only recorded from deep-sea (1500-3000 m) whale-falls in the northeast Pacific, this is the first species of Osedax known from a shelf-depth whale-fall, and the first from the Atlantic Ocean. The new species, Osedax mucofloris sp. n. is abundant on the bones of an experimentally implanted Minke whale carcass (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) at 125m depth in the shallow North Sea. O. mucofloris can be cultured on bones maintained in aquaria. The presence of O. mucofloris in the shallow North Sea and northeast Pacific suggests global distribution on whale-falls for the Osedax clade. Molecular evidence from mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase 1 (CO1) and 18S rRNA sequences suggests that O. mucofloris has high dispersal rates, and provides support for the idea of whale-falls acting as 'stepping-stones' for the global dispersal of siboglinid annelids over ecological and evolutionary time. (+info
Total neocortical cell number in the mysticete brain.
The cetacean brain has long been of scientific interest, not only because of its large size - the largest in the animal kingdom - but also because of its high gyrification. It shows several adaptations to the aquatic environment, especially in the cortical arrangements of functional areas. To study structural aspects of the mysticete brain we estimated neocortical features in the common minke whale using stereological methods. The neocortex was surprisingly thick, equal to that in humans. The total neocortical neuron number was 12.8 x 10(9), and the total neocortical glia number 98.2 x 10(9). Total cell numbers in the auditory and visual cortex were also estimated, and showed that the auditory cortex contained more cells than the visual cortex. In this small sample, no sexual dimorphism was seen within the neocortex of the common minke whale. Our aim was to estimate the total cell number, cortical volume and cell density in the entire mysticete neocortex and compare the total cell number in the auditory cortex with that of the visual cortex using stereological methods. Here, we used the common minke whale as a model of all mysticetes. We wanted to compare these neocortical features to those of other mammals to forward understanding of the evolution of the mammalian brain. (+info
Attempt at intracytoplasmic sperm injection of in vitro matured oocytes in common minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) captured during the Kushiro Coast Survey.
The present study was conducted during the Kushiro Coast Survey in an attempt to produce common minke whale embryos. In Experiment 1, we attempted to determine the appropriate culture duration (30 or 40 h) for in vitro maturation (IVM) of immature oocytes using the Well of the Well method. In Experiment 2, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) was applied to matured oocytes from prepubertal and adult common minke whales after IVM culture (40 or 48 h), and then their embryonic development was assessed. In Experiment 1, the maturation rate of oocytes cultured for 40 h (30.4%) was significantly higher than that of oocytes cultured for 30 h (6.8%; P<0.01). In Experiment 2, a total of 35 and 46 immature oocytes derived from adult (n=2) and prepubertal (n=6) minke whales, respectively, were cultured for 40 or 48 h. The maturation rate in the oocytes from the adult whales (34.2%) tended to be higher than that of the oocytes from the prepubertal whales (19.6%), but there was no significant difference. Following ICSI, 3 out of the 10 inseminated and cultured oocytes from the adult whales cleaved (2-, 8-, and 16-cell stages); all of these oocytes had been matured for 40 in culture. However, these oocytes did not develop to further stages. Only one of the 6 oocytes derived from the prepubertal whales, IVM cultured for 40 h and inseminated, developed to the 4-cell stage. The present results indicate that a 40 h IVM culture produces significantly higher rates of in vitro maturation than a 30 h IVM culture for common minke whale oocytes. Following ICSI, some oocytes cleaved to the 16-cell stage, but no further development was observed. (+info
Follicle size-dependent changes in follicular fluid components and oocyte diameter in Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis).
The concentrations of various components of follicular fluid were compared among three groups of follicles (small, <5 mm; medium: 5-10 mm; large, >10 mm) with a control that consisted of the components of umbilical serum using seven pregnant Antarctic minke whales. Follicular oocytes recovered from the follicles were also used for measurement of oocyte diameter after removing the cumulus cells. The mean diameter of the ooplasm in the oocytes from the large follicles (143.2 microm) was significantly greater than those from the small (127.1 microm) and medium (131.7 microm) follicles, although there were no significant differences in diameter of the whole oocyte and thickness of the zona pellucida among the three follicular sizes. The osmolarity of the follicular fluid from the small follicles (363.3 mOsmol) was significantly lower than that of the medium follicles (388.9 mOsmol) and tended to be lower than that of large (381.9 mOsmol) follicles, respectively, both of which were similar to that of the umbilical serum (379.5 mOsmol). There was no significant difference in the concentrations of all components of the follicular fluid between the medium and large follicles. As compared with the values of the umbilical serum, the total-protein, glucose, albumin and chlorine concentrations of the follicular fluid from the medium and large follicles were significantly higher, and the total cholesterol and calcium concentrations were significantly lower. The concentrations of lactic acid (85.3-136.0 mg/dl) of the follicular fluid from the three groups of follicles were significantly lower than that of the umbilical serum (360.0 mg/dl). Among the follicles, the follicular fluid from the small follicles (136.0 mg/dl) contained a significantly higher concentration of lactic acid than that from the large follicles (85.3 mg/dl). The progesterone concentrations were not significantly different among the fluid from the three group of follicles and the umbilical serum: however, the estradiol 17-beta concentrations of the follicular fluid increased with the size of the follicle (14.3 and 34.6 ng/ml for small and large follicles, respectively). These results offer new information concerning whale reproductive physiology, especially for improvement of in vitro oocyte maturation and related technologies in whales. (+info
Hydrodynamic performance of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) flipper.
Marine mammals' influence on ecosystem processes affecting fisheries in the Barents Sea is trivial.
Morphological varieties of the Purkinje fiber network in mammalian hearts, as revealed by light and electron microscopy.
Purkinje fibers in mammalian hearts are known to comprise the following three groups depending on their structure: group I found commonly in ungulates, group II in humans, monkeys and dogs, and group III in rodents. The aim of the present study was to document precisely the cytoarchitecture of a network of Purkinje fibers in different species by light and electron microscopy. Light microscopy of silver impregnated tissues revealed the reticular fibers ensheathing individual Purkinje strands consisting of 2-8 cells in both the ungulates (i.e., sheep and goats) and cetaceans (whales and dolphins) while they encircled each Purkinje cell in the primates (humans and monkeys), carnivores (dogs and seals), and rodents (rats). Scanning electron microscopy of NaOH digested tissues showed the ungrates (group I) to have a Purkinje fiber network composed of Purkinje strands; the cells in the strands were oval and made side-to-side and/or end-to-end connections. The Purkinje fiber network in the primates and carnivores (group II) was delicate and complicated; the Purkinje cells were usually cylindrical and connected end-to-end, the exception being their polygonal or stellate shapes at the bifurcations. Purkinje cells in the rodents (group III) resembled ventricular cardiac myocytes in cytoarchitecture. Morphologically, whales and seals respectively belonged to Purkinje cells of group I and group II. These findings indicate that the structural variety of the Purkinje fiber network may reflect the conducting function and be related to the phylogeny of the mammalian species. (+info
Genotyping errors in a calibrated DNA register: implications for identification of individuals.