Pathology: Whales, sonar and decompression sickness

  title={Pathology: Whales, sonar and decompression sickness},
  author={Claude A. Piantadosi and Edward D. Thalmann},
Arising from: Jepson, P. D. et al. 425, 575–576 (2003); Jepson repliesWe do not yet know why whales occasionally strand after sonar has been deployed nearby, but such information is important for both naval undersea activities and the protection of marine mammals. Jepson et al. suggest that a peculiar gas-forming disease afflicting some stranded cetaceans could be a type of decompression sickness (DCS) resulting from exposure to mid-range sonar. However, neither decompression theory nor… 

Sonars, Gas Bubbles, and Cetacean Deaths

This interesting paper suggests that gas bubble formation, possibly in response to either rapid decompression (‘‘decompression sickness’’ or DCS equivalent?) or exposure of nitrogen-supersaturated tissues to sound waves2 was the likely cause of death.

Deadly acute Decompression Sickness in Risso’s dolphins

Struggling with a squid during hunting is discussed as the most likely cause of DCS, and deadly systemic, inflammatory, infectious, or neoplastic diseases, ship collision, military sonar, fisheries interaction or other type of lethal inducing associated trauma were ruled out.

Navy sonar and cetaceans: just how much does the gun need to smoke before we act?

Decompression sickness ('the bends') in sea turtles.

Decompression sickness (DCS), as clinically diagnosed by reversal of symptoms with recompression, has never been reported in aquatic breath-hold diving vertebrates despite the occurrence of tissue

Budd-Chiari-like pathology in dolphins

The data strongly suggest that CLL are the result of the combination of a pre-existing or concomitant hepatic vascular disorder superimposed and exacerbated by gas bubbles, and clearly differ from acute systemic gas embolism in stranded beaked whales that is linked to MFAS.

Elements of beaked whale anatomy and diving physiology and some hypothetical causes of sonar-related stranding

What is known about beaked whale anatomy and physiology is described and mechanisms that may have led to beaked whales mass strandings that were induced by anthropogenic sonar are discussed.

Sonar versus whales: noise may disrupt neural activity in deep-diving cetaceans.

  • A. TalpalarY. Grossman
  • Physics
    Undersea & hyperbaric medicine : journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc
  • 2005
It is proposed that the effects of noise at frequency may be enhanced during deep diving due to a synergistic combination with the adaptive response of the central nervous system (CNS) at high pressure.

Evidence for the initiation of decompression sickness by exposure to intense underwater sound.

The results demonstrate induction of neurological damage by intense underwater sound during immersion, with a further deleterious effect when this was combined with decompression stress.

Discrimination between bycatch and other causes of cetacean and pinniped stranding.

Insight is provided into the different published parameters for PUE in bycatch for regions frequently confronted by stranded marine mammals with non-specific lesions, this could potentially aid in the investigation and quantification of marine fisheries interactions.

How Do Marine Mammals Manage and Usually Avoid Gas Emboli Formation and Gas Embolic Pathology? Critical Clues From Studies of Wild Dolphins

Decompression theory has been mainly based on studies on terrestrial mammals, and may not translate well to marine mammals. However, evidence that marine mammals experience gas bubbles during diving



Gas-bubble lesions in stranded cetaceans

Evidence of acute and chronic tissue damage in stranded cetaceans that results from the formation in vivo of gas bubbles is presented, challenging the view that these mammals do not suffer decompression sickness.

Can diving-induced tissue nitrogen supersaturation increase the chance of acoustically driven bubble growth in marine mammals?

It is demonstrated that the diving behavior of cetaceans prior to an intense acoustic exposure may increase the chance of rectified diffusion, and model results suggest that low-frequency rectification diffusion models need to be advanced, and the dive behavior of marine mammals of concern needs to be investigated to identify at-risk animals.

The physiological basis of diving to depth: birds and mammals.

The aerobic endurance of four species has now been measured to provide a standard for other species in which the limits cannot be measured and to identify two diving strategies used by animals that dive to depth.

Sink or swim: strategies for cost-efficient diving by marine mammals.

Video sequences of freely diving seals and whales wearing submersible cameras reveal a behavioral strategy that improves energetic efficiency in these animals and allows marine mammals to increase aerobic dive duration and achieve remarkable depths despite limited oxygen availability when submerged.

Seal lungs collapse during free diving: evidence from arterial nitrogen tensions.

In a single dive, alveolar collapse and redistribution of blood nitrogen allow the seal to avoid nitrogen narcosis and decompression sickness.

Bennett and Elliott's Physiology and Medicine of Diving, 5th ed (Brubakk AO, Neuman TS, editors)

This book discusses the physiology and medicine of diving, and the long term effects of diving on the Lung, Bones, and Central Nervous System.

US Department of Commerce and US Navy Joint Interim Report Interim_Bahamas_Report.pdf

  • J. Acoust. Soc. Am
  • 1996