Blood was analyzed from 151 pelagic marine birds to establish reference ranges for hematological and plasma biochemical parameters from healthy, wild populations of Pacific seabirds. Of the 13 species examined, 9 were from the Family Alcidae (N = 122 individuals) and the remainder (N = 29) from the Families Phalacrocoracidae, Laridae, and Procellariidae. Three of 8 hematological parameters (total white blood cell count, lymphocyte count and eosinophil count) differed significantly among species, as did 9 of 13 plasma biochemical parameters (alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase, cholesterol, glucose, lactate dehydrogenase, total bilirubin, total protein and field total protein). There were no differences among species for packed cell volume, buffy coat, cell counts of heterophils, monoqtes and basophils, or for concentrations of alanine aminotransferase, triglycerides, uric acid and calcium. Plasma calcium concentration, triglyceride levels and field total protein varied significantly between sexes, with females having higher mean concentrations of all 3 parameters. However, no significant relationships between measures of breeding condition (brood patch size, subcutaneous and mesenteric fat deposits, or ovarian follicle size and ovary weight) and calcium or alkaline phosphatase concentrations in female birds could be identified. Alanine aminotransferase and uric acid were the only analytes which did not differ significantly between species or sexes.
Additional publication details
Hematological and plasma biochemical reference ranges of Alaskan seabirds: Their ecological significance and clinical importance