Use of Alternative Matrices to Monitor Steroid Hormones in Aquatic Mammals: A Review

Abstract: The measurement of steroid hormones (e.g., androgens, estrogens, progestins, and glucocorticoids) in alternative matrices (e.g., feces, urine, blubber, saliva, blow, milk, and ocular secretion) has been increasingly used in research with aquatic mammals. The aim of this review is to briefly summarize studies using steroid analysis in alternative matrices from captive and free-ranging aquatic mammal species. The analysis of steroid hormones from alternative matrices is a powerful tool to obtain information about reproductive biology and social behavior in free-ranging aquatic mammals, as well as to help in the management of captive animals. However, for a consistent monitoring of steroid hormones in alternative matrices, it is of crucial importance to verify if a chosen matrix and assay reliably reflects physiologic events.

Key Words: cetaceans, sirenians, pinnipeds, mustelids, urine, feces, saliva, immunoassays, blubber

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1578/AM.36.2.2010.162

Page Numbers: 162-171

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