Calibration development for rapid assessment of fish species for dolphins in human care using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS)

Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) is a fast, accurate, and cost effective method for analyzing organic compounds. Dolphins as a species are highly sensitive to changes in the energy and nutrient contents of their diets. We analyzed monthly samples (n=148) of capelin, herring, and squid for dry matter, crude protein and crude fat. The dried and ground samples were returned...

A targeted metabolomics assay to measure purines in the diet of managed and free-ranging common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates)

Ammonium urate nephrolithiasis occurs in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) managed under human care but not in free-ranging dolphins (Smith et al., 2013). In mammals, purine-rich diets, such as the piscivorous diet of dolphins, can predispose to urate urolith formation (Osborne et al., 1995). The total purine content of food is measured commercially by summing the concentrations of four purine...

A comparative nutrient analysis of fish species consumed by managed and free-ranging common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates) with respect to ammonium urate nephrolithiasis

Ammonium urate nephroliths develop in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) managed under human care, but do not occur in free-ranging dolphins (Smith et al., 2013). In mammals, urate urolith development has been attributed partly to the effect of diet on urine saturation and pH. Free-ranging and collection dolphins consume diets that differ in fish species variety, location, and fresh versus...

Palatability assessment of a gelatin based diet through the use of first bite and total volume measurements in Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops Truncatus)

It is well established that a variety of organic and inorganic compounds, including soluble sugars, polysaccharides, amino acids and potential toxins are all subject to nutritional chemoreception, and as consequence may induce behavior in biologic organisms (Lindemann, 2001). These behaviors may be quite different even among closely related species and can be specific to individual nutritional requirements. The exact stimulus...

Hemochromatosis in bottlenose dolphins: clinical significance, risk factors, and treatment suggest non-hereditary etiology

Botttlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) can have hemochromatosis (iron overload), evidenced by excessive iron deposition in the liver, transferrin saturation >80%, and rising high serum iron levels (>300 ug/dl) responsive to phlebotomy (Johnson et al., 2009). Dolphins with hemochromatosis have chronic, phasic elevations in aminotransferases (Venn-Watson et al., 2008). Compared to age and sex-matched healthy controls, these dolphins are also more...

WHY THE NUTRIENT COMPOSITION OF THE DIET OF BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS (TURSIOPS TRUNCATUS) IS BEST ASSESSED ON AN ENERGY BASIS RATHER THAN A DRY MATTER BASIS

Dietary nutrients can be compared in three ways: ‘as fed’, or relative to either dry matter or energy content. Most published literature that evaluates the diet of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, compares nutrient content relative to dry matter, but dolphins consume a diet of whole fish and invertebrates that varies in fat and water content and energy density. The quantity...

Analysis of fish offered to bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus truncatus) over a 5 year period : fluctuations and lessons in quality control

Dolphins held under human care often pose a challenge in terms of weight and subsequent health maintenance. While a lack of exercise may contribute to this situation, proper body weight can be controlled by taking regular weights and monitoring both feed and associated caloric intake by weight. At The Seas at Epcot, the diet of the four male dolphins housed...