Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8641
Title: Respiratory Microbiome of Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales and Microbiota of Surrounding Sea Surface Microlayer in the Eastern North Pacific
Author: Stephen A. Raverty, Linda D. Rhodes, Erin Zabek, Azad Eshghi, Caroline E. Cameron, M. B. Hanson, J. Pete Schroeder
Publication Year: 2017
Journal: Scientific Reports
Volume: 7
Issue: 394
Pages: 1-12
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-00457-5
Keywords: SRKW,microbiota,breath,pathogens,sea surface microlayer,
Abstract:

In the Salish Sea, the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) is a high trophic indicator
of ecosystem health. Three major threats have been identi ed for this population: reduced prey availability, anthropogenic contaminants, and marine vessel disturbances. These perturbations can culminate in signi cant morbidity and mortality, usually associated with secondary infections that have a predilection to the respiratory system. To characterize the composition of the respiratory microbiota and identify recognized pathogens of SRKW, exhaled breath samples were collected between 2006– 2009 and analyzed for bacteria, fungi and viruses using (1) culture-dependent, targeted PCR-based methodologies and (2) taxonomically broad, non-culture dependent PCR-based methodologies. Results were compared with sea surface microlayer (SML) samples to characterize the respective microbial constituents. An array of bacteria and fungi in breath and SML samples were identi ed, as well as microorganisms that exhibited resistance to multiple antimicrobial agents. The SML microbes and respiratory microbiota carry a pathogenic risk which we propose as an additional, fourth putative stressor (pathogens), which may adversely impact the endangered SRKW population. 

Theme: Habitats to Support Sustainable Fisheries and Recovered Populations
Foci: Characterize relationships between habitat and ecosystem processes, climate variation, and the viability of organisms.