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Developmental stability and the harbour seal epizootic in 1988

Søren Schandorff
Annales Zoologici Fennici
Vol. 34, No. 3 (1997), pp. 167-175
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23735476
Page Count: 9
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Developmental stability and the harbour seal epizootic in 1988
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Abstract

Developmental instability of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) that died during the epizootic in 1988 in the Kattegat was compared with that of the population prior to the epizootic to investigate whether animals that died were the developmentally less stable individuals in the population. As an assessment of developmental instability the fractal dimension of the paired maxillo palatinae suture was calculated and the degree of fluctuating asymmetry in teeth, foramina and the paired suture was estimated in a total of 240 skulls. Moreover, prevalences of three pathological changes of the skull were compared. No difference was found in developmental instability or prevalence of skull lesions between animals that died in the epizootic and estimates from the population prior to the epizootic. The lack of difference could be in accordance with the suggestion that organochlorines had an influence on mortality during the epizootic. Levels of organochlorines have decreased in the last decade before the epizootic, and thereby could have equalized differences in levels of developmental stability.

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