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Epidemiology formed the basis of ‘the Barker hypothesis’, the concept of ‘developmental programming’ and today’s discipline of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). Animal experimentation provided proof of the underlying concepts, and continues to generate knowledge of underlying mechanisms. Interventions in humans, based on DOHaD principles, will be informed by experiments in animals. As knowledge in this discipline has accumulated, from studies of humans and other animals, the complexity of interactions between genome, environment and epigenetics, has been revealed. The vast nature of programming stimuli and breadth of effects is becoming known. As a result of our accumulating knowledge we now appreciate the impact of many variables that contribute to programmed outcomes. To guide further animal research in this field, the Australia and New Zealand DOHaD society (ANZ DOHaD) Animals Models of DOHaD Research Working Group convened at the 2nd Annual ANZ DOHaD Congress in Melbourne, Australia in April 2015. This review summarizes the contributions of animal research to the understanding of DOHaD, and makes recommendations for the design and conduct of animal experiments to maximize relevance, reproducibility and translation of knowledge into improving health and well-being.
The evidence underpinning the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) is overwhelming. As the emphasis shifts more towards interventions and the translational strategies for disease prevention, it is important to capitalize on collaboration and knowledge sharing to maximize opportunities for discovery and replication. DOHaD meetings are facilitating this interaction. However, strategies to perpetuate focussed discussions and collaborations around and between conferences are more likely to facilitate the development of DOHaD research. For this reason, the DOHaD Society of Australia and New Zealand (DOHaD ANZ) has initiated themed Working Groups, which convened at the 2014–2015 conferences. This report introduces the DOHaD ANZ Working Groups and summarizes their plans and activities. One of the first Working Groups to form was the ActEarly birth cohort group, which is moving towards more translational goals. Reflecting growing emphasis on the impact of early life biodiversity – even before birth – we also have a Working Group titled Infection, inflammation and the microbiome. We have several Working Groups exploring other major non-cancerous disease outcomes over the lifespan, including Brain, behaviour and development and Obesity, cardiovascular and metabolic health. The Epigenetics and Animal Models Working Groups cut across all these areas and seeks to ensure interaction between researchers. Finally, we have a group focussed on ‘Translation, policy and communication’ which focusses on how we can best take the evidence we produce into the community to effect change. By coordinating and perpetuating DOHaD discussions in this way we aim to enhance DOHaD research in our region.
A K-band (18-25 GHz) reflected-wave ruby maser (Moore and Clauss 1979) has been borrowed from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory for radio astronomy use on the NASA 64-m antenna of the Deep Space Network at the Tidbinbilla Tracking Station, near Canberra. The purpose of the installation is to provide additional sensitive spectral line, continuum, and VLBI capabilities in the southern hemisphere. Previous measurements at 22.3 GHz (λ = 13.5 mm) determined that the Tidbinbilla 64-m antenna has a peak aperture efficiency of ˜22%, a well-behaved beam shape and consistent pointing (Fourikis and Jauncey 1979). Before installing the maser on the antenna a cooled (circulator) switch was added to provide a beam-switching capability, and a spectral line receiver following the maser was incorporated. The system was assembled and tested at JPL in late 1980 and installed at Tidbinbilla early in 1981. We give here a brief description and present some of the first line observations made in February and March 1981. Extensive line and continuum observations are planned with the present system and a program is under way to determine the telescope pointing characteristics.
South Georgia has been the site of a controlled commercial sealing industry since 1909. The Southern Elephant Seal (Mirounga leonina) is killed for the oil obtained from the processing of the skin and subcutaneous fat, in a manner similar to the processing of whale blubber.
The island is divided into four sealing divisions, each with an annual catch quota which is subject to revision if necessary at the completion of each season, depending on information obtained from the average age of the catch, and an annual population census. There are also reserve areas, in which commercial killing is prohibited and which provide controls for comparison between commercially exploited herds and those which are undisturbed. The latter begin to breed an earlier age, reach their peak breeding period earlier and bear a smaller ratio of cow to bull calves than the former. The total kill permissible over the last decade has remained at 6000 adult bull seals over 3·5 m in length. At present, the catch quotas in each division are as follows:
Modern shore station whaling spread from Norway to Newfoundland in 1896 with development of the Cabot Steam Whaling Co Ltd. Their success stimulated formation of a second company, the Newfoundland Steam Whaling Co Ltd, which in 1908 mounted a pelagic expedition to hunt in both hemispheres, particularly from the South Orkney and South Shetland Islands and off northern Labrador. The expedition was a failure, and Newfoundland whaling remained a totally shore-based industry until cessation in 1972.
Uncontrolled scaling for furs and oil began on South Georgia about 1786 and continued sporadically until the early 20th century. From 1909 onward legislation covered licensed killing of male elephant seals Mirounga leonina. This provided for a successful oiling industry that lasted almost 60 years, operated by whalers primarily in early spring before the whaling season began. Biological research ensured that quotas in the last decade remained within the carrying capacity of the stocks. High-grade seal oil enhanced revenues from whaling, providing overall 16% of the volume and 19% of the value of total annual catches, with much higher proportions in some seasons. The seal oil industry did not long survive the demise of whaling on South Georgia, finally ending in 1968.
A short-lived pelagic fur seal fishery developed around the Falkland Islands and Dependencies at the beginning of the twentieth century. Canadian sealing vessels were the most active, followed by those from southern Chile. Both contributed to the further stock decline and delayed the renewal of a domestic onshore industry. As one commentator put it:
Pelagic sealing was a destructive and wasteful industry…[that was] suicidal in its nature. It is at best an insignificant industry. It threatens the destruction of vastly more important interests, and with them its own interests. Pelagic sealing preys upon its own capital. The more successful it is, the quicker will come its win.
Commercial pelagic fur sealing by Canadians began around 1868 with crews from British Columbia catching northern fur seals off the Pribilof Islands. The animals were shot from dories working away from the parent schooner. The ease with which the seals could be killed and the large numbers of wounded animals (fifty to sixty percent) were major factors in the decline of the stock to some 237,000 by 1910, when sealing was suspended temporarily. The potential for large catches and significant profits increased the demand for new vessels, available more cheaply in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick than in British Columbia. The first Atlantic Canadian-built schooner to round Cape Horn for British Columbia was Pathfinder (Capt. O'Leary), which arrived in Victoria in April 1886. Its crew saw many fur seals swimming off the Cape, and as did their counterparts on vessels that followed, quickly realized that these could be a valuable source of income. They may also have learned of the southern stock from New England mariners who had sailed in the region. The large catches in the Bering Sea, however, probably made it unnecessary to hunt them until catches began to decrease in the late nineteenth century.
The first Canadian vessel to catch fur seals in southern waters was probably the Lunenburg-built Director (Capt. Frederick W. Gilbert) of the Victoria Sealing Co., which left Halifax for Victoria in December 1894. Gilbert made for the Falklands for provisions and took 620 fur seal skins, arriving in Victoria in May 1895.
Sealing in the Dependencies began on South Georgia (see figure 4.1). The discovery of the island is usually attributed to the British merchant Antonio de la Roche who in 1675 sighted what are now known as the Clerke Rocks off the northwest tip of the island. The first to land was Capt. James Cook, who went ashore from Resolution in what is now Possession Bay on 17 January 1755 to claim the island for King George III. Unfortunately, his visit brought about one of the largest slaughters of marine mammals ever. In the published account of his travels (see figure 4.2), Cook recorded that “perhaps the most abundant we saw were females, for the shores swarmed with young ones.” Although Cook's fellow voyager, Johann Forster, thought they would not be hunted since they were easier to get at the Falklands and in South America, news of the discovery prompted London merchants to despatch sealing crews after the War of Independence. The first to arrive may have been Lord Hawkesbury (Capt. Thomas Delano, Jr.), owned by Champion Bros., and Lucas (Capt. Thomas Smith), owned by Lucas and Spencer, which left England in 1786. The departure of Francis Rotch's vessel, Ann (Capt. Pitman), from London in June 1792 marked the beginning of annual voyages to the island from England for the next decade. Its crew obtained fifty tons of elephant seal oil and 50,000 skins. Pitman described sealing in a letter to Francis Rotch:
the small skins are of little value. They are chiefly used here [London] among the Tanners and recorded excellent for shoes, and the larger are the best. A vessel…capable of bringing near 100 tons of oil may bring upwards of 30,000 good sizeable skins…the skins packed in bulk have come out in much better order than those packed in Casks because they have an opportunity of examining them and salting them even if necessary. Other ships continued until the month of May and came away quite full.
During his visit to the Falkland Islands in Rattler in 1793, Capt. Colnett learned from sealers that many profitable voyages had already been made. Some twenty-five years later, Capt. James Weddell reported, however, that the sealers were now primarily searching for elephant seal oil.
Early voyagers to the Cape Horn region often described the environments and species they encountered. George Anson commented on the behaviour of southern elephant seals, which he identified as “sea lions,” and John Byron described the beaches of Port Egmont and Saunders Island as crowded with fur seals. He also took “sea lions” to replenish his oil supplies (see figure 2.1). The importance of the Falkland Islands as a potential centre for whaling and sealing was also pointed out by Lieut. Samuel Clayton after his appointment on 1 March 1773 to administer the islands from Port Egmont. Others remained unconvinced, arguing that the islands would only be used for various lawless activities.
The beginnings of commercial sealing on the Falklands coincided with the spread of American and British whaling to the region. Since many vessels combined both activities, sealing was influenced by the same political and economic conditions that affected whaling. Inshore whaling by settlers in coastal New England evolved into an offshore industry by around 1713 as they depleted more accessible stocks of the north Atlantic right whale, Eubalaena glacialis. Oil could now be produced at sea in try-works on board, and longer voyages were possible. As a result, American whalers entered the southern hemisphere from 1763. At least ten vessels arrived at the Falkland Islands in 1774 and obtained full cargoes of oil in six to eight weeks. Seals probably contributed substantially to this quick success.
Meanwhile, the British southern whale fishery was developing out of Greenland whaling, which had become established in 1759 after the British government introduced vessel tonnage bounties and fishing premiums to encourage the industry's expansion. British whalers arrived at the Falkland Islands around 1776 after the northern hemisphere bounties were extended to the southern hemisphere, including for the “oil of other creatures living in the seas.” At least twenty-five vessels averaging 165 tons each left London for southern whaling in 1776-1777 and may have filled up on seal oil.
The first American sealing vessels to arrive at the Falklands may have been Montague (Capt. Gamaliel Collins) from Boston and Thomas (Capt. David Smith) from Truro on Cape Cod.