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dc.contributor.authorKershaw, Joanna Louise
dc.contributor.authorStubberfield, Emma J.
dc.contributor.authorFoster, Geoffrey
dc.contributor.authorBrownlow, Andrew
dc.contributor.authorHall, Ailsa Jane
dc.contributor.authorPerrett, Lorraine L.
dc.identifier.citationKershaw , J L , Stubberfield , E J , Foster , G , Brownlow , A , Hall , A J & Perrett , L L 2017 , ' Exposure of harbour seals ( Phoca vitulina ) to Brucella in declining populations across Scotland ' , Diseases of Aquatic Organisms , vol. 126 , no. 1 , pp. 12-23 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 250727568
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: f6b9b6ed-ed9e-4fd1-a15e-0b9c63377f00
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85030262060
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0002-7562-1771/work/47136286
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000412292600002
dc.descriptionThe authors acknowledge the NERC National Capability Funding grant number SMRU 10001 for the fundingen
dc.description.abstractSince 2000 there have been major declines in the abundance of Scottish harbour seals (Phoca vitulina). The causes of the declines remain uncertain. The aim of this study was to establish the extent to which the seals in the regions of greatest decline have been exposed to Brucella, a bacterial pathogen that causes reproductive failure in terrestrial mammalian hosts. Tissues from dead seals collected between 1992 and 2013 were cultured for Brucella (n=150). Serum samples collected from live capture-released seals (n=343) between 1997 and 2012 were tested for Brucella antibodies using the Rose Bengal plate agglutination test (RBT) and a competitive Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). 16% of seals cultured had Brucella isolated from one or more tissues but there were no pathological signs of infection. The cELISA results were more sensitive than the RBT results showing that overall, 25.4% of seals were seropositive with the highest seroprevalence in juveniles. As there was no evidence of either a higher seroprevalence, or higher circulating antibody levels in seropositive animals in the areas with the greatest declines, it was concluded that Brucella infection is likely not a major contributing factor to recent declines. However, the consistently high proportion of seals exposed to Brucella indicates possible endemicity in these populations, likely due to B. pinnipedialis, which has demonstrated a preference for pinniped hosts. Importantly, given the close proximity between seals, humans and livestock in many areas, there is the potential for cross-species infections.
dc.relation.ispartofDiseases of Aquatic Organismsen
dc.rights© The authors 2017. Open Access under Creative Commons by Attribution Licence. Use, distribution and reproduction are unrestricted. Authors and original publication must be credited.en
dc.subjectRose Bengal plate agglutination testen
dc.subjectGC Oceanographyen
dc.subjectQH301 Biologyen
dc.titleExposure of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) to Brucella in declining populations across Scotlanden
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Biologyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Sea Mammal Research Uniten
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Marine Alliance for Science & Technology Scotlanden
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Scottish Oceans Instituteen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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