Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Seasonal variation in harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) blubber cortisol - A novel indicator of physiological state?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Abstract

Cortisol is one of the main glucocorticoid hormones involved in both the mammalian stress response, and in fat metabolism and energy regulation, making it of increasing interest as a biomarker for stress, health and overall physiological state. However, transient stress responses to animal handling and sampling may be important sources of measurement artefact when investigating circulating concentrations of this hormone in wildlife. Here, cortisol concentrations were measured in the plasma and, for the first time, in the blubber of live captured adult harbour seals (Phoca vitulina). Plasma cortisol concentrations were positively correlated with capture time, suggesting that they were largely driven by a stress response to the capture event. In contrast, blubber cortisol concentrations were shown not to be significantly affected by capture time and varied significantly by sex and by season, with higher concentrations during natural fasting periods of their life cycle, particularly during the moult. These results suggest that cortisol may play a key role in increased fat metabolism during highly energetically demanding periods, and that blubber concentrations have the potential to be used as physiological state indicators in phocid seals.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number21889
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2016

    Research areas

  • Ecophysiology, Fat metabolism

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Not just fat: investigating the proteome of cetacean blubber tissue

    Kershaw, J. L., Botting, C. H., Brownlow, A. & Hall, A. J., 2018, In : Conservation Physiology. 6, 1, 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Exposure of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) to Brucella in declining populations across Scotland

    Kershaw, J. L., Stubberfield, E. J., Foster, G., Brownlow, A., Hall, A. J. & Perrett, L. L., 20 Sep 2017, In : Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. 126, 1, p. 12-23

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Evaluating morphometric and metabolic markers of body condition in a small cetacean, the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)

    Kershaw, J. L., Sherrill, M., Davison, N. J., Brownlow, A. & Hall, A. J., May 2017, In : Ecology and Evolution. 7, 10, p. 3494-3506 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Detection and effects of harmful algal toxins in Scottish harbour seals and potential links to population decline

    Jensen, S-K., Lacaze, J-P., Hermann, G., Kershaw, J., Brownlow, A., Turner, A. & Hall, A. J., Apr 2015, In : Toxicon. 97, p. 1-14 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Overcoming the challenges of studying conservation physiology in large whales: a review of available methods

    Hunt, K. E., Moore, M. J., Rolland, R. M., Kellar, N. M., Hall, A. J., Kershaw, J., Raverty, S. A., Davis, C. E., Yeates, L. C., Fauquier, D. A., Rowles, T. K. & Kraus, S. D., 15 May 2013, In : Conservation Physiology. 1, 1, p. 1-24 24 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Monica Arso Civil (Reviewer)
    Jul 2018 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Anouk Margaretha Borst (Reviewer)
    10 Feb 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Emma Louise Carroll (Member of editorial board)
    3 Oct 2016

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  4. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Uli Schwarz-Linek (Reviewer)
    11 May 2016

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  5. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Ildiko Maureen Lara Somorjai (Reviewer)
    2016 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. A comparative analysis of response times shows that multisensory benefits and interactions are not equivalent

    Innes, B. R. & Otto, T. U., 27 Feb 2019, In : Scientific Reports. 9, 10 p., 2921.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. A large explosive silicic eruption in the British Palaeogene Igneous Province

    Troll, V. R., Emeleus, C. H., Nicoll, G. R., Mattsson, T., Ellam, R. M., Donaldson, C. H. & Harris, C., 24 Jan 2019, In : Scientific Reports. 9, 1, 15 p., 494.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Automated tumour budding quantification by machine learning augments TNM staging in muscle-invasive bladder cancer prognosis

    Brieu, N., Gavriel, C., Nearchou, I. P., Harrison, D. J., Schmidt, G. & Caie, P. D., 26 Mar 2019, In : Scientific Reports. 9, 5174.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Classifying grey seal behaviour in relation to environmental variability and commercial fishing activity - a multivariate hidden Markov model

    van Beest, F. M., Mews, S., Elkenkamp, S., Schuhmann, P., Tsolak, D., Wobbe, T., Bartolino, V., Bastardie, F., Dietz, R., von Dorrien, C., Galatius, A., Karlsson, O., McConnell, B., Nabe-Nielsen, J., Olsen, M. T., Teilmann, J. & Langrock, R., 4 Apr 2019, In : Scientific Reports. 9, 14 p., 5642.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Defining the genes for the final steps in biosynthesis of the complex polyketide antibiotic mupirocin by Pseudomonas fluorescens NCIMB10586

    Connolly, J. A., Wilson, A., Macioszek, M., Song, Z., Wang, L., Mohammad, H. H., Yadav, M., di Martino, M., Miller, C. E., Hothersall, J., Haines, A. S., Stephens, E. R., Crump, M. P., Willis, C. L., Simpson, T. J., Winn, P. J. & Thomas, C. M., 7 Feb 2019, In : Scientific Reports. 9, 9 p., 1542.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 241557344