Research Publication

Hematologic and serum biochemical data from mass stranded long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas)

By Garrett C. Crooks, Sarah M. Sharp, Constance Merigo, Kathleen M. Moore, and Charles J. Innis

Originally published in Aquatic Mammals in January 2021



Medical and stranding records from a mass stranding of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) were reviewed retrospectively. Of the 58 stranded animals, 40 were euthanized, while 18 died naturally. Seventeen individuals were male (29%), 37 individuals were female (64%), and sex was not recorded for four individuals (7%). During the stranding response, blood was collected from 20 individuals, providing for serum biochemistry (n = 20), serum protein electrophoresis (n = 19), serum cortisol (n = 19), complete blood count (n = 16), and coagulation profile (n = 5). Individuals from which blood was collected included 12 adult females, four juvenile females, one adult male, one juvenile male, and two individuals of unknown sex and age class. Hematologic and serum biochemical data did not reveal severe anomalies in any individual, and postmortem examinations did not reveal any serious disease. Common modest derangements included increased erythrocyte indices, elevated tissue enzyme activities, hyperglycemia, and elevated serum cortisol concentration. This study provides the first hematologic and serum biochemical data for mass stranded individuals of this species and provides further evidence that cetaceans may be in stable physiologic condition and free of overt disease prior to stranding.

Full Text

Affiliated Authors
  • Dr. Charles Innis

    Charles Innis, VMD, DABVP (RA), Senior Scientist and Veterinarian, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life

    Read bio

Research That Drives Action

Through pioneering conservation research and strategic partnerships, our team of 40 scientists at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life works to combat the unprecedented impacts on the ocean from climate change and other human activities.