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MEPS - Vol. 502 - Feature article
Seabirds, dolphins, and flyingfish were impacted by tropical storm Kiko through bottom-up forcing. Painting: Sophie Webb

Wierucka K, Verborgh P, Meade R, Colmant L, Gauffier P, Esteban R, de Stephanis R, Cañadas A

 

Effects of a morbillivirus epizootic on long-finned pilot whales Globicephala melas in Spanish Mediterranean waters

 

Diseases play an important role in the survival of endangered species. In 2006-2007 an outbreak of the morbillivirus in the Western Mediterranean resulted in an increase in mortality of the long-finned pilot whale Globicephala melas. Wierucka and co-authors investigated whether survival rates differed between clusters of pilot whales in the Spanish Alboran Sea and how the epizootic influenced these rates. Results showed within-population differences following the outbreak, with certain clusters presenting a severe decrease in survival rates after the epizootic, supporting a negative influence of the event on the population. This information is critical for this species' conservation considering that it is listed as “data deficient” in the Mediterranean Sea by the IUCN and as “vulnerable” in Spain.

 

 

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