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ESR 14:107-112 (2011)  -  DOI:

Secretion of anti-Müllerian hormone in the Florida manatee Trichechus manatus latirostris, with implications for assessing conservation status

Rhian C. Wilson1, John E. Reynolds III2,*, Dana L. Wetzel2, Leslie Schwierzke-Wade2, Robert K. Bonde3, Kevin F. Breuel4, William E. Roudebush

1Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Rd., Ascot SL5 7PY, UK
2Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Florida 34236, USA
3US Geological Survey, 2201 NW 40th Terrace, Gainesville, Florida 32605, USA
4East Tennessee State University, PO Box 70575, Johnson City, Tennessee 37614, USA
5Charleston Southern University, 9200 University Boulevard, Charleston, South Carolina 29423, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Environmental and anthropogenic stressors can affect wildlife populations in a number of ways. For marine mammals (e.g. the Florida manatee Trichechus manatus latirostris), certain stressors or conservation risk factors have been identified, but sublethal effects have been very difficult to assess using traditional methods. The development of `biomarkers┬┤ allows us to correlate effects, such as impaired reproduction, with possible causes. A recently developed biomarker (anti-Müllerian hormone, AMH) provides an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of gonadal function. The study objective was to determine AMH levels in wild manatees. In total, 28 male and 17 female manatee serum samples were assayed. Animal demographics included collection date, body weight (kg) and total length (cm). In certain cases, age of individuals was also known. AMH levels ranged from 160 to 2451.85 ng ml-1 (mean = 844.65 ng ml-1) in males and 0.00 to 0.38 ng ml-1 (mean = 0.10 ng ml-1) in females. Linear regression analyses revealed a significant relationship between male AMH levels and body weight (R2 = 0.452; p < 0.001) and length (R2 = 0.338; p < 0.001). Due to the small sample size, regression analyses for female AMH and body weight and length were not significant. This represents the first report of AMH detection in a marine mammal. AMH levels in male manatees are the highest of any species observed to date, whereas levels in females are within reported ranges. Further studies will promote improved conservation decision by assessing AMH levels in the manatee as a function of various stressors including, but not limited to, nutritional status, serious injuries (e.g. watercraft collisions), exposure to biotoxins or contaminants, or disease.

KEY WORDS: Manatee · Gonad · Anti-Müllerian hormone · AMH · Conservation

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Cite this article as: Wilson RC, Reynolds III JE, Wetzel DL, Schwierzke-Wade L, Bonde RK, Breuel KF, Roudebush WE (2011) Secretion of anti-Müllerian hormone in the Florida manatee Trichechus manatus latirostris, with implications for assessing conservation status. Endang Species Res 14:107-112.

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