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Aurelie Castinel

Doctor of Philosophy, (Veterinary Pathology)
Study Completed: 2007
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Causes of neonatal mortality in the New Zealand sea lin (Phocarctos hookeri)

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ms Castinel investigated the causes of neonatal mortality in the New Zealand sea lion, which is an endangered pinniped species endemic to New Zealand. The research used necropsy and clinical data collected on the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands over the 1998/1999 to 2004/2005 breeding seasons. The research focused on two major aspects: parasitic infection of pups with intestinal hookworms and bacterial epidemics that caused high pup mortality for two consecutive seasons. This work provided the first taxonomic description of the hookworm Uncinaria spp. infecting New Zealand sea lion pups and unveiled its full life cycle. The two epidemic seasons were caused by a clonal strain of the opportunistic bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae. Findings demonstrated that all New Zealand sea lions had anti-Klebsiella antibodies prior to the epidemics, but pups were not receiving passive immune transfer against this pathogen. Ms Castinel’s research significantly contributes to the management of an endangered species

Professor Bill Pomroy
Dr Reinhold Kittelberger
Dr Padraig Duignan
Professor Nicolas Lopez-Villalobos
Professor Louise Chilvers
Dr L Chilvers