Did algal toxins cause monk seal mortality?

  title={Did algal toxins cause monk seal mortality?},
  author={Mauro Hern{\'a}ndez and Ian Robinson and Alex Aguilar and Luis Mariano Gonz{\'a}lez and Luis Felipe L{\'o}pez-Jurado and Mar{\'i}a I. Reyero and Emiliano Cacho and Jos{\'e} Mariano Franco and Victoria L{\'o}pez-Rodas and Eduardo Costas},
The population of Mediterranean monk seals off the coast of the western Sahara has recently suffered a sudden mortality. A morbillivirus was isolated post-mortem from the tissues of three seals, and it has been proposed that the virus was the agent responsible. This conclusion is called into question by epidemiological, clinical, pathological and toxicological considerations. We suggest here that intoxication by algal toxins is a more likely cause of the deaths. 
Cetacean Morbillivirus and Toxoplasma gondii Co-infection in Mediterranean Monk Seal Pup, Italy
A Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) pup from the southern Adriatic coast of Italy showed cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) and disseminated Toxoplasma gondii co-infection, which probably
Conservation biology: What killed the monk seals?
Over 100 Mediterranean monk seals, members of a population inhabiting the Cap Blanc peninusula in north-west Africa, died mysteriously in a two-month period in 1997 and the mass mortality was attributed to a morbillivirus.
Evidence of saxitoxin derivatives as causative agents in the 1997 mass mortality of monk seals in the Cape Blanc Peninsula.
Results of further HPLC analyses are presented that unambiguously prove the identity of these toxins by mass spectrometry (MS), supporting the hypothesis that this mortality of monk seals was caused by biotoxins rather than by a morbillivirus.
Identification of morbilliviruses of probable cetacean origin in carcases of Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus)
The results suggest that morbilliviruses of aquatic mammals may cross barriers between species of different orders.
Multiple New Paralytic Shellfish Toxin Vectors in Offshore North Sea Benthos, a Deep Secret Exposed
These findings highlight impacts to ‘One Health’, with the unexpected sources of toxins potentially creating risks to animal, human and environmental health, with further work required to assess the severity and geographical/temporal extent of these impacts.
Detection and effects of harmful algal toxins in Scottish harbour seals and potential links to population decline.
  • S. Jensen, J. Lacaze, A. Hall
  • Environmental Science
    Toxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology
  • 2015
Fatal Canine Intoxications Linked to the Presence of Saxitoxins in Stranded Marine Organisms Following Winter Storm Activity
The first report providing evidence of starfish being implicated in a PSP intoxication case and the first report of PSP in canines is reported, following incidents of dog illnesses after winter storms.
10 Impacts of algal toxins on marine mammals
With the improvement in toxin detection methods over the past decade, evidence is mounting to support the hypothesis that marine algal toxins may play a significant role in previously unexplained episodic mass mortalities of marine mammals.


Morbillivirus in monk seal mass mortality
A morbillivirus in organs of Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus) lost during a recent mass die-off is identified, reminiscent of several recent morbillvirus outbreaks in aquatic mammals.