Dolphins In Human Care Sampling Protocol and Sample Entry Assistant (SEA) for Tissue Archival and Analyte Analysis
Colleen E. Bryan Sallee, Jared M. Ragland
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Pacific Marine Mammal Health Assessments (PMMHA) were initiated in 2010 as an expansion of NIST marine mammal health assessment activities that began in 2002 with bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) wild populations. As part of PMMHA, NIST began a new collaboration to parallel wild population studies in a controlled setting by archiving and analyzing tissues sampled from dolphins in human care. As of this report, approximately 5,130 blood and milk sample aliquots from 20 dolphins in human care, along with associated dietary prey items, have been archived at the NIST Biorepository. When these samples are collected, valuable information associated with each sample is recorded; this vital step ensures the highest quality interpretation is available from analytical results. The Sample Entry Assistant (SEA) was developed to replace traditional paper data sheets and notebooks with a means for electronic data collection and automatically generated chain of custody documentation to reduce the potential for loss of, and increase accessibility to, sample information. This report provides (1) the standardized protocol for collecting, processing, and archiving blood and milk samples from dolphins in human care and their dietary prey items; (2) key points when teaching and executing the protocol; (3) an outline of the SEA platform and; (4) highlights the components associated with the data tool.