TitleMonitoring glucocorticoid response to rehabilitation and research procedures in California and Steller sea lions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsPetrauskas, L, Atkinson, S, Gulland, F, Mellish, J-AE, Horning, M
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology. Part A, Ecological Genetics and Physiology
Date Published2008 Mar 1
AbstractWe used serum and fecal corticosteroid analysis to study the physiological response to a range of invasive and non-invasive procedures in sea lions. Four experimental groups of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus; Group A: restraint only [n=9], Group B: gas anesthesia without surgery [n=10], Group C: minimally invasive surgery [n=10], and Group D: invasive surgery [n=5]) were monitored for adrenal response. Feces were collected opportunistically from 72 hr before 72 hr post procedure for corticosterone analysis. All experimental groups showed substantial individual variation and no significant change in corticosterone levels after the procedures. Additional fecal and serum corticoid samples were collected from six free-ranging Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in temporary captivity undergoing abdominal implantation of long-term telemetry devices. Only one sea lion exhibited a significant fecal corticosterone increase in response to the surgery. Capture and restraint appear to elicit a greater glucocorticoid response than invasive or non-invasive procedures.